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4.2 out of 5 stars85
4.2 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 12 April 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the second novel after his successful novel the Siege, I found the book very interesting from two aspects the content of History, while the work is fiction, the background and the Historical content seem well researched and one can see that in the last 800 years or so we still dealing with the fallout of what happened, and the problems of the Middle East today, in this case however, the Religious extremists are from the West.

The author seems to wrap himself in dialogue, he enjoys the interaction and word play between his characters. It is nice to see the way in which the interaction is being created. At over four hundred pages this novel does take some small commitment, I would not call it a 'light read'. That said it is readable and if you like your fiction with a heavy dose of History then this is the book for you. What is also nice, indeed more helpful is the fact that more detail and background information is available on the internet. So if you wanted to know why Muslim prayer is five times a day, the Author's web page explains some rather interesting facts about this, the eye opener for this reader was the fact that some early Christian prayer and tradition showed great similarity to the way Islam prayer is performed, I am just illustrating one small thread. You do not necessarily need all these bits of information, as the book carries itself well. From my perspective all these little nuggets of information made the novel that more interesting. All in all a good start to series of books, I keenly await the next novel in the series. For my tastes the book rated a good four stars, certainly worth reading - enjoy!
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very entertaining read. This volume tells the story of the early years of Yusuf ibn Ayub who later became Saladin. Set at the time of the second crusade between 1148 and 1163. The main characters are Yusuf and a young Saxon crusader who "meet" in unusual circumstances and develop a stong friendship which carries them through many adventures and difficulties together.

I do not propose to tell the story here as that would spoil the twists and turns that the author weaves to hold us to the next page for any prospective reader.

What I will say is that the story is generally based on fact although we must allow the author some latitune to introduce fictional characters to help develop a story. In his own words he says this is a book of fiction based on fact and the way the various cultures behaved. I see no problem in this as there is enough fact to make the bricks and a little fiction for the morter to hold it together. The resulting combination is a well written story of passion, war, love, honour and betrayal and lets us see both sides of the conflict that perhaps through our childhood has only been presented one way. In that it is refreshing.

Such is the bond between our two main characters that the author leaves us at the end of this first part of the trilogy in keen anticipation of what happens next - just like those Saturday mornings at the cinema (long ago) and the serial that ensured we came back next week.

I have no hesitation in recommending this to anyone who wants a really good read because it has something to satisfy all tastes. I am now looking forward to part 2.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.
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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I won't keep you in suspense Eagle is a good book.

This is the first part of the Saladin trilogy from new author Jack Hight. It tells of the early years of Yusuf ibn Ayub, who will one day be known as the warrior leader Saladin, and of his friendship with a young Saxon crusader, John of Northumberland. John who took service the Frankish army during the second crusade is betrayed and almost killed by his treacherous Lord and finds himself sold as a slave in to the house of Yusuf's father.

Yusuf befriends John who in turn trains the young Saracen in the art of personal combat and a true and deep comradeship develops between the Muslim and the Christian warriors. Their adventures together are many and are set against the background of the Holy Land in the mid 1100's.

There are few novels set in the complex crusader period in the Middle East and even fewer that tell their story from a mainly Muslim position but this one is and does. The author has produced a well researched and well balanced book that is exciting, captivating and educating, not a bad achievement.

I look forward to books two and three.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There seems to be a lot around at the moment about Saladin, probably for obvious reasons, and the central character in this book is also Saladin though his real name of Yusuf ibn Ayub is used throuhout. Though, it would be more accurate to say central characters as the other is a Saxon called John though he is a figment of the author's imagination. There are quite a cast of ancillary characters in the book as well as you would expect from a work with the 2nd crusade at it's centre. The vast majority of characters who appear are based on real people, though like all authors facts and dates have been changed as the story requires. It covers Saladin's early years, wives, battles and all with the link being the story of John.

As with all books it's difficult to say too much without spoiling things for the reader so perhaps if I say that this is not a million miles away from "Kingdom of Heaven" for those who have seen the film I won't go far wrong. Set in the same timeframe it has the same (almost) cast of real people, Baldwin, Reynard de Chatillon et al. For others, this is a good read based on a real (Saladin) person and I found it more enjoyable because of that. It's an advennture story of the type that authors have been turning out since before Stanley J. Weyman or in the mold of "If I were King" so if you enjoy that type of story then I don't think you will be disappointed with this version.

I believe it's the first book in a trilogy as it finishes in 1163, rather than 1193. Overall, I thought that the author tells a good story though I would have like a little more detail and scene setting on occasion.
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VINE VOICEon 21 April 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I grew up reading the history novels of Bernard Cornwell and have always loved swashbuckling adventures wherever and whenever they were set. However, there have been so many of these books written and after a while they can start to seem a little familiar. 'Eagle' walks that delicate line of maintaining what is familiar while freshening things up.

For me (and there will certainly be people who disagree) the story of Saladin was unfamiliar to me. The culture of the East is something unknown and as such this book was fascinating. Coupled with a great characters and a brilliant, twisting plot 'Eagle' made a great, fun read. I look forward to the sequel.
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I had read Jack Hight's previous novel and found it something of a mixed bag, so it was a real pleasure to find a much improved writing style, allied to his impeccable historical perspective and a genuinely interesting story. As Hight himself admits not much is known about Saladin's early life, but this well imagined tale has him linked to John, a captured Saxon, as his servant and friend.

The clash of backgrounds and cultures provides plenty of opportunity for drama and many well made observations on religion, prejudice and politics, as well as friendship, love and sex (although the latter is not graphically featured). Hight has paced the story well, skilfully weaving his fiction into the facts that are known, and creating characters which have depth, something which was sorely lacking in his last book.

I was reminded of the first book in the series on Julius Caesar, by Conn Iggulden, which is high praise indeed, and only a few negatives intrude for example I found the romance between John and Saladin's sister stretched credulity a little too far. One thing which would have improved the book for those of us unfamiliar with the geography, is a map, particularly as ancient cities have come and gone and changed names.

This is highly recommended though - I am looking forward to the next instalment.
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VINE VOICEon 20 April 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I found this book quite fast paced, good action and a good sense of the period. Outremer certainly came to life. The characters were fairly stock ones - most it seems with "good even teeth". But I liked the writing style. There are historical inaccuracies which spoiled this slightly for me. These days, writers of historical fiction need to do meticulous research or they will get criticised. However, I enjoyed it and will probably look out for the other books in the trilogy in due course.
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VINE VOICEon 15 April 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'd read 'Siege' so had high hopes of 'Eagle' and they were not misplaced. The life of Saladin is being broken down into three sections and I'll be looking out for the next ones based on this this.

What I liked is that in contrast to just being the story of Saladin (good as that would be..) the book sees the clash of civilisations not just in terms of historical battles but also in personal terms with the frienship that develops between Jack, a captured Saxon and Saladin as a boy growing into a man. The clash of cultures is

The portrayal of the Crusaders is somewhat unsympathetic and I felt that there were a more rose tinted glow to the view of the Muslim characters but there is no denying the quality of the action scenes in the book.

There is an intertesting sub plot with both Saladin and Jack having complicated private lives in a restrictive culture but it'll be interesting to see how that pans out

A good start, well worth a read
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VINE VOICEon 4 August 2011
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm glad I tried this one out after being disappointed by the author's first offering.

The writing is much better and the characters less cliched, although we've been through the Crusades before and also this type of novel. Christian hero sold into slavery and befriended by young Arab who will certainly do well for himself in the not too distant future. Add the obligatory cross cultural love interest and it is a mix that has often been served up.

However, the author's prose manages to keep things moving without lack of originality becoming overwhelming. Will probably give volume 2 a whirl when it appears.
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on 22 February 2014
I was really looking forward to reading this book. There are a few books out there regarding Salahuddin but this one seemed like a good start. I was aware before reading that it's a trilogy, this being the first book.
I was also aware that it is written by a historian and though contains many facts is also fictitious.
Now once again I have misunderstood exactly what means. I thought it was basically a book about salahudin and his life with the odd character saying what a great (or not) guy he was. I didn't quite realise that the second major character in the book was going to be a complete work of fiction.
Now here is my problem, I have not a clue which bits of this book are real. I though the odd bit was going to be fictitious not that the odd bit was going to be fact. Actually to clarify this at the end of the book there are a couple of pages that briefly mentions names of those who existed and some of the battles, yet I now presume nearly everything else in the book is fiction. What a shame as I was enoying the 'who fathered whos children' bits.
Also it took me until page 307 to realise who Salahuddin was! Yes! The end of the book!!
Now call me blonde (i'm not) but I kept waiting for him to appear. In fact when I reached part II of the book and the title said Saladin, I thought "great, we will soon meet him". When I was reaching the end of the book and still hadn't I actually though O.K which of the three books will he actually be in! (I kid you not).

Now all of this aside, I did enjoy the book and look forward to reading the next two. However I am hoping when I read my other book 'Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem' I might be a lot wiser.
Or if anyone can suggest a really good book about salahuddin then even better!
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