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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Gladiator!
Finding themselves shipwrecked on the island of Crete after an earthquake, our intrepid hero's find themselves struggling for survival and fighting against a slave army led by the Gladiator Ajax.

Simon Scarrow's Under the Eagle series has become a 'must buy' for me and with this story he continues with another invaluable tale. The devastation wrought by the...
Published on 2 Aug. 2010 by Je Salter

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more of the same
I've thoroughly enjoyed the Eagle series so far, but this latest installment has failed to engage me. Without rehashing the plot in detail, you can rest assured there are plenty of close scrapes, superiors who won't listen to blatantly obvious advice and cavalry riding to the rescue at the last second. Cato was somehow more fun when he was trying to prove himself as a...
Published on 11 Aug. 2011 by Rich


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars more of the same, 11 Aug. 2011
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I've thoroughly enjoyed the Eagle series so far, but this latest installment has failed to engage me. Without rehashing the plot in detail, you can rest assured there are plenty of close scrapes, superiors who won't listen to blatantly obvious advice and cavalry riding to the rescue at the last second. Cato was somehow more fun when he was trying to prove himself as a Centurion. Now he has risen in the world, he just doesn't seem as relevant or exciting. Macro shouts a lot, and moves from place to place, but that's about it. Julia & daddy? Yawn....

Also, I had high hopes for the setting of this novel as I love Crete and it's atmosphere & history. Unfortunately the author fails to describe or capture any of this atmosphere, and the novel could really have been set anywhere.

I'll probably still read the next installment, but Mr Scarrow needs to try harder!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Gladiator!, 2 Aug. 2010
By 
Je Salter (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gladiator (Hardcover)
Finding themselves shipwrecked on the island of Crete after an earthquake, our intrepid hero's find themselves struggling for survival and fighting against a slave army led by the Gladiator Ajax.

Simon Scarrow's Under the Eagle series has become a 'must buy' for me and with this story he continues with another invaluable tale. The devastation wrought by the earthquake and the conequencies it brings are easy to imagine as you read.

Cato has the complication of Julia to worry about as he and Macro attempt to lead the local population, most of who's leaders have been killed, as well as deter the Gladiator army.

With Macro and Julia captured and kept in a small cage and subject to regular threats of death by Ajax, Simon Scarrow once again recreates a wonderful world and another book that keeps you reading. The climax of the story concludes with a race against time, will the Gladiator army escape before the Romans get to Crete or will Macro escape or the unbelievable...will Ajax take revenge on him as he was partly responsible for his capture?

It's another very good installment by Mr Scarrow, not his best because they are more than worthy of five stars but it's certainly a very good edition and well worth member of the Scarrow book collection! I'm not sure about the 'Julia' element, maybe she should be sent to Rome out of harms way so the boy's can get on with the fighting!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rebellion!, 27 May 2014
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gladiator: Cato & Macro: Book 9 (The Eagle Series) (Kindle Edition)
On their way back to Rome, Macro and Cato are ship-wreaked on Crete. The cause of their problems is an earthquake which also triggers a slave rebellion on the island. Even with the author notes I couldn’t work out how much of this was an exaggeration of fact but it made for an interesting scenario.

This plays from a Roman perspective and the slaves (with a slight nod as to their plight) are the bad guys here. Crete is played as badly damaged and with slaves in control of significant areas and starting to band together as an army under an escaped Gladiator. Our two heroes try to regain control and protect the surviving civilians but, as usual, nothing is as easy as they think. This is typical Macro and Cato, well written and easy reading. It felt more fiction that history than the usual novels featuring the pair but I imagine the author is running out of conflicts to place the boys into.
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Series Just Gets Better, 7 Aug. 2009
By 
Mr. J. Bullock (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gladiator (Hardcover)
Having re-read all the other books of the series through in time for the release of this book, I can comprehensively say that this is as good as any of the previous books. If you haven't read them yet, I'd advise that you do, as both Marco and Cato develop with every book so to get the most out of them, it's good to have the full story.

If you're looking for a new series to pick up, and you have a penchant for big bloody battles then the Eagle series is for you. If you've already read the other books, then the newest addition to the series will definitely not disappoint. I hope we don't have to wait as long for the next instalment!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Gladiator, Are Your Ready?, 26 May 2015
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As a fan of historic fiction I am well used to the common structure of opening big, having a story in the middle and then ending on another high. However, even I was surprised how big Simon Scarrow’s ‘The Centurion’ opened. Marco and Cato return once more, the events of this novel follow swiftly on from those of ‘The Eagle in the Sand’ as the duo head back to Rome by sea, only to be met by a massive wave caused by an Earthquake on Crete. The wave leads to a ship wreak and a confrontation with a former gladiator and slave who seems quite familiar.

The opening 30 pages of ‘Centurion’ are truly page turners and completely from leftfield. Readers of Roman Fiction will be well used to large scale battles, but you do not often get to fight a losing battle against Mother Nature herself. The start is really only a means of getting our heroes and their allies onto Crete – here the book settles down into a more usual pattern as M and C must crush a slave rebellion. Scarrow is able to balance the two sides as we follow both the Romans and the former slaves. It is hard to really begrudge the ex-gladiators et al for rising up after what they have suffered. To make them less appealing, Scarrow has the rebels enact some devastating revenge that even the most liberal of persons would think is too much. For the first time in the series, perhaps Scarrow goes a little too gruesome.

Alongside the buckets of crimson and decapitated heads is also a great adventure story as Cato has to sail away for reinforcements, whilst Marco must stay behind to defend the people. The toing and froing of the slave army and the underequipped Romans is extremely tense. To polish matters of is a decent battle. However, it is slightly more reliant on luck than I have come to expect from the author’s work. Despite this, ‘The Centurion’ is still an excellent slice of fiction that uses history as an inspiration, but is not hamstrung by it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The earlier books were better., 5 Jun. 2015
The writing style is easy to read, at times boring and far from elegant.

Macro and Cato deal with Ajax and the effects of an earthquake in Crete. There is little character development.

The plot is boring compared to “Centurion” and other previous books in the series.

Scarrow always brings tactics and other details of ancient Roman warfare to create good imagery, but as mentioned before, "The Gladiator" is not up to previous standards.

Research is thin. I enjoyed the earlier novels when the characters lived with true historical events rather than creating events themselves. Scarrow does try to cover this void by saying an earthquake just happened to strike the island the year the novel is set in.

The novel shows some signs of the author’s interest, inspiration and passion. Scarrow understands the events, personalities and societies in ancient Rome, though, disappointingly, real historical characters and events are not present in the novel. Perhaps "The Gladiator" is a series-filler.

This novel is a disappointment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable if a little Formulaic, 29 Sept. 2011
This was my first Simon Scarrow novel. I enjoy "page turners", historical novels, and have an interest in the Greeks and Romans dating back to schooldays ,so thought there was enough to keep me interested with this - and there was.

Well written, and lightly plotted it zips along at a fair old pace with a story that is a little predictable and feels as though it has been written to be filmed.

It does lack a sense of place, those wanting historic detail will be disappointed and some of the plot twists are formulaic.

But there is no lack of drama, an earthquake and tidal wave set the scene, our heroes are shipwrecked on Crete,a slave revolt ensues, our Roman Centurion heroes battle against the odds, rebellion needs crushing and hostages need saving and senator's daughters need protecting.

At over 500 pages I would have welcomed a little more political intrigue, there are only so many times that sword can crunch bone. A visit to Alexandria provides a glimpse both in terms of description and intrigue of what might have been possible. Equally a character based in Rome would have provided a welcome further dimension to proceedings.

Centurion's Marco and Cato are worthy heroes, the slave leader and Gladiator Ajax a formidable adversary, but Senator Sempronious is bafflingly under-written.

The ending, set for the next instalment, I found irritating and perfunctory, whether my enjoyment would have been enhanced if I had read the back story novels so far I do not know. Yet I did enjoy the characters sufficiently to perhaps read back, to see if it is worth taking in the next in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very Enjoyable, 25 May 2012
By 
Jamie (Burton, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Gladiator (Hardcover)
I read this book as a standalone book having not read any of the series post or pior to this. I found the book to be very engaging with a good plot, though certainly written for a teenage/young adult market as not the most complex of stories.

The sotry begins with the two protagonists begin being hit by a tidal wave just off the coast of Creté following an earthquake that has killed the vast majority of senior dignitaries on the island. This result in slaves being freed and forming a revolt.

I have only given this historical novel 4 stars as I didn't enjoy quite as much as the Emperor series by Conn Iggulden which I read after reading this.

I would definitely recommend The Gladiator over the Emperor if you are looking for a lighter read.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Must be careful what I write...., 13 Sept. 2009
By 
Victor Meldrew Mk2 "stefan morawiec" (Dorset) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gladiator (Hardcover)
I like Simon Scarrow and particularly his portrayal of Macro and Cato who I am sure had to atone to some fictional deity for their acts of war, which surely this far into the extended series must be classified as close to, if not genocide. It is a tribute to Mr Scarrow in that he continues to produce book after book in this storyline which I and many others find very entertaining: he certainly is a very prolific author.

This offering is up to his usual standard and both Macro and Cato continue to add to the previous carnage, although not at the rate that they did when on campaign in Britain and latterly Syria. The two main characters this time are shipwrecked on Crete and find themselves in the middle of a slave rebellion. It is hard not to feel a little guilty as I hoped that Cato and Macro put down the rebellion, when you consider how the slaves were sometimes treated, however I did find myself pleased that Cato was able to save the day and continue the series onward to North Africa in pursuit of the next villain. Part of me hopes that they will make peace with the chap rather than slay him, as although he is not pleasant, both of them were instrumental in crucifying his father.

Just lately a couple of people have taken offence at my reviews of this genre of book. I hope that this time I have not caused you any anxiety at all and that you can at least tolerate my review which as always is simply my opinion on what I have purchased.
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3.0 out of 5 stars OK holiday read..., 30 April 2012
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I've thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Scarrow's 'Eagle' series to date, but this one fell rather flat. I couldn't help feeling that perhaps the Author was struggling to find the Muse for this one, and that his attention was perhaps elsewhere. So yes, OK for a casual read on the beach, but certainly not a page-turner like previous offerings. I hope its just a blip, and that Macro and Cato are back fully-formed and fighting fit for the next one...
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