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1 of 1 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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1 of 1 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
(REAL NAME)   
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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 Scarrow delivers yet again!, 13 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Gladiator (Hardcover)
To date I have read all of Simon Scarrows Eagle series and thoroughly enjoyed them, this latest sequel does not disappoint, a fast paced narrative combined with historical fact and good dry humour keep the reader totally immersed. Scarrow describes in no uncertain terms the brutality of the epoch and how Rome dispensed justice to those who thought they could take her on. A great page turner.
The perfect companion to the Eagle series is the ROMA VICTRIX wine beakerCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker of which Simon is a proud owner. Below is a passage from a review he made.
Beautifully sculpted it is a very handsome thing! The reason why i particularly like this cup is that it features the men and insignia of the second legion, the unit in which cato learned how to become a soldier under the affectionate eye of macro! it's a lovely thing and has pride of place on my desk right now!
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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 Another good read, 14 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Gladiator: Cato & Macro: Book 9 (The Eagle Series) (Kindle Edition)
Review of the series (followed by a review of this book):
This series of books is based around the adventures of two men - Macro and Cato. Macro is a soldier through and through; he has spent his life in the army and is a centurion when we first meet him in the first book. In that book we also meet Cato who joins the legion as a new recruit, although he seems an unlikely candidate for a soldier. The series goes on to relate their many adventures and the relationship between them. Most of the stories are based - sometimes loosely - on real events and people, with a healthy dose of artistic license.
As far as I can tell the historical detail and facts are accurate, and the writing is generally engaging. There are criticisms in other reviews about the authors use of 'modern' slang; I know what they mean, but would we identify with 'roman' slang? For me, it is not a problem, I am not a fan of trying to invent historical language, it is too easy to fall into the 'ye olde shoppe' trap!
Overall, the series is very readable, and rolls along at a good pace. Like some other historical series, it doesn't do to try and fit the events into a timeline, as it soon becomes clear that the two men could not have done everything they do in one lifetime, but that doesn't detract from a fun series. Two niggles:the formatting annoys me in that the gaps between paragraphs are too long, particularly where there are long conversations, and they are a little over-priced.
Review of this book:
Macro and Cato find themselves on Crete after a huge earthquake and tidal wave. Law and order on the island have fallen apart, and they find themselves having to help re-establish order, and deal with a slave rebellion led by someone who they have encountered before. All in all, another good read; the story moves along well, and keeps you entertained. The romance which started in the last book continues here, but in a rather half-hearted way. I have a suspicion that this thread may have been suggested to the author rather then being his own invention. We shall see if it continues into future books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars One of those weird coincidences, 23 May 2012
On my way to a holiday in Crete I thought I'd pick up some holiday reading.

OK, read some Scarrow before, good holiday reading, liked Spartacus telly series, thought I'd buy this, did.

Got to Crete, opend up book, only to find a blimin' great map of Crete. And not only that the initial action was centred about 10 miles from my GPS location in the south of the island!

OK, this probably encouraged me to read more avidly than I would otherwise.

Imagine my surprise when the latter 3rd of the book switched to Elounda/Spinalonga, a) the location of my last Crete holiday and b) the exact GPS location of my very own first born at that very point in time who had independantly also travelled to Crete on the same day, different plane, different resort...

This was getting too weird for words.

Anyway, enough about me. Basically the book is a reasonable yarn. Disappointing if you were after Gladiatoral combat "In the Areena" a la Spartacus, and curiously lacking any sense of actual place (Crete is EXTREMELY mountainous, I doubt there was a road along the South coast from West to East even back then as there isn't to this day) and Crete is a land of extreme landscapes with mountains of 8000ft blocking you at every turn, none of this gets much of a mention nor does any of the unique flora/fauna to be found there, which is a shame and a missed opportunity. It looks like Scarrow looked at a map and didn't visit the island at all.

Bit of a filler book in the series I reckon, but stil a strange thing to find just at that point in my life.....

More sense of place please...
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars I don't know how Simon Scarrow keeps finding excuses for Cato and Macro to be awesome!, 27 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Gladiator: Cato & Macro: Book 9 (The Eagle Series) (Kindle Edition)
After 9 books you would expect the series to be getting a little dull. Fear not. Simon Scarrow has done it again. The Roman Empire is so diverse, complex and interesting around this time that there is a wealth of material for the author to borrow from. The characters themselves are deep enough that you see new sides to them that you haven't yet in the series. A real maturity curve. Even for Macro who is increasingly more than a one dimensional military man. As a massive fan of historical fiction I recommend this book and the entire series to those who love a good story first and foremost. It's not a history text book but you can't help but learn as you go along. The only problem is I am fast catching up to the last book in the series so far. I don't want it to end!
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