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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The continuing adventures
I have taken a long while to get round to this, it's been in my reading pile for a couple of years. I very much enjoyed the first one but for some reason this kept being pushed to the back of the pile, along with the follow up which is also in there. Well that was my mistake, because this is good stuff.

Following on from The Forgotten Legion (captured...
Published on 23 Aug. 2011 by Nick Brett

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Makes the action-packed boring
I never thought that I would find an action-packed military novel boring, but this time I did! I can see why sales for this kind of fiction are initially healthy and then demand suddenly tails off. Clearly, other reviewers enjoy Ben Kane more than me. Revealingly, one mentioned his lack of familiarity with the 'benchmarks' of the genre, authors like Conn Iggulden and...
Published on 24 July 2012 by Enquirer


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The continuing adventures, 23 Aug. 2011
By 
Nick Brett (Wiltshire, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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I have taken a long while to get round to this, it's been in my reading pile for a couple of years. I very much enjoyed the first one but for some reason this kept being pushed to the back of the pile, along with the follow up which is also in there. Well that was my mistake, because this is good stuff.

Following on from The Forgotten Legion (captured Legionaries being forced to fight for the Parthians) we find the soldiers far out to the East protecting the Parthian borders against the likes of the Scythians (nomadic tribesmen). The focus is on Romulus a Roman, Brennus a massive Gaul and Tarquinius a soothsayer. Mistrusted by their Parthian masters and some of their fellow Legionaries, the trio are desperate to get home and hope that Tarquinius's visions will keep them alive and help them realise their destinies.

Back in Rome, Romulus's sister Fabiola is the lover of Brutus who is away in Gaul with Caesar at a time where violent gangs are running wild in Rome and the Roman empire itself is on the edge of anarchy.

The best historical fiction does not just place characters in an era, but involves them in significant events of the time and has peripheral characters we will recognise. Ben Kane has done the research to provide a real and vibrant background to his story. The balance of the battles out in the East and the politics of Rome is an interesting one and although on one or two occasions the author does build up an interest in characters, only to then discard them, the story remains interesting and unpredictable.

I enjoyed it and am surprised at some criticism in other reviews, this is a good follow up to The Forgotten Legion and Ben Kane continues to be an author to watch.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Makes the action-packed boring, 24 July 2012
By 
Enquirer (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I never thought that I would find an action-packed military novel boring, but this time I did! I can see why sales for this kind of fiction are initially healthy and then demand suddenly tails off. Clearly, other reviewers enjoy Ben Kane more than me. Revealingly, one mentioned his lack of familiarity with the 'benchmarks' of the genre, authors like Conn Iggulden and Simon Scarrow. Both are twice as good. It's a case of thinking bad wine is good because you have never tasted the best.

Kane cleraly knows his Roman military topic well, and extensively explains at the back why he deviated so often from either fact or likelihood. All through the book I had assumed that it was pure ignorance producing the bloopers. I was outraged that he actually knew what he was doing!

What most of you care about is whether it is an exciting read. Well, the answer is no. The heroes fight too often in too similar a situation, usually when anyone with sense would and could avoid it. Every character is in just too much peril too much of the time. It becomes tedious. The motives of the key figures are too limited and not particularly believable. We are constantly reminded of them, as if the author doesnt quite believe they are sufficient either. I found the portrayal of Romulus's prostitute sister Fabriola the most unconvincing and the most irritating too.

Factually, I can stretch to Kane's claim that there is 'evidence' for women being allowed to worship the god Mithras in the east. (Although, in fact I'm pretty sure that it's incorrect.) But to make it acceptable among Romans in Rome, even before the cult really got established there, is unnecessarily pushing it. And why bother to do so, I ask? It's just to put the silly trollop into yet more self-created trouble she does not deserve to survive.

This could have been a good book with a third cut out and the action tightened up. Expect to regularly see on a market stall near you.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't wait for 3rd book, 8 Aug. 2009
By 
cholser (Perth, Australia) - See all my reviews
I qualify my review by saying I haven't read Iggulden, Scarrow et al, so I came to this series with no benchmark in the genre. The closest my usual interest gets is in reading military history, where my bias lies in accounts of the experiences of the foot soldiers, and that aspect is what drew me in to this excellent series.
Where the Forgotten Legion introduces the characters and plot, from the sweat and dust of the arena to the intrigues of the brothel - the Silver Eagle picks up where the action left off and brings it to another level. The action is relentless and it's scope is epic, blending the wars and politics of the Republic to adventures at the edges of the known world. The characters develop well as the twins mature and become more world-wise and Tarquinius is more dark and ambiguous. This book has been greatly enhanced by the addition of a very informative glossary.
The bottom line for me is that I'm hooked and can't wait to find out what happens next - the mark of a great book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Eagle is still flying, 10 Sept. 2011
By 
Martin Lake (French Riviera) - See all my reviews
I enjoyed the first novel in The Forgotten Legion series and rushed to buy the second, The Silver Eagle. I found much of the book a splendid read. I like the characters a great deal, especially Brennus and Fabiola. Fabiola is a great creation, a slave woman who makes the best use of her looks and her intelligence to thrive in a world dominated by dangerous men. Kane introduces a lot of interesting minor characters who caught my imagination, sometimes more than the major ones. Sadly, he has a propensity for killing off some of these or letting them drift away from the narrative. Hopefully, some at least will return in later books.

I thought that the links between the Romulus and Fabiola sections worked better in this novel than in the first. I had to flip back to catch up with events far fewer times in this novel. The whole narrative flow worked better.

The best parts of the novel are where Kane focuses on the harsher aspects of life. He magics us to the cruelty and squalor that must have been everyday experiences for the Roman soldiers; shows the fragile hold that slaves had upon their own lives and illustrates well what Tom Holland says in Rubicon: the Romans were often very different from ourselves. Best of all are his battle scenes which are well researched and described with great skill and command of the narrative.

I thought he was poorly served by his editor on a few occasions. It could do with a little trimming over all. There are also careless errors in the text. Secundus, a one-armed veteran, was lucky enough to be able to raise his arms above his head for example. (Unless he carried the severed limb with him as a talisman this was surely beyond even the skills of the best healers.) On other occasions there are times when a word cut would have helped. 'Romulus looked over himself,' might have been better without the final word. Also, on occasion, modern idiom sneaks in when it shouldn't.

I know that we can be too picky about words but and the historical novelist has to tread a difficult path to give the sense of the past without distracting from the story. I am surprised that Kane continually uses accurate Roman ones, pilum and scutum, for example, which can sometimes slow the dialogue. Yet, at the same time, he calls ancient pirates Corsairs which conjures up the eighteenth century rather than the first century BC. I don't know if the names Ahmed and Mustafa were current two thousand years ago (especially for a Nubian) but again, they make me think of Moslem culture rather than Roman. Kane takes his research about Roman life very seriously so I was surprised to be brought up by these things which slowed my reading.

My biggest problem with the book is all the mystic foretelling of the future. However, this may be just about my personal choice so I won't harp on about it. I am sure that the people of this time were superstitious and would be able to read into events some explanation derived from a piece of liver or a bird flying backwards a few pages previously. On occasions, however, we are led to believe that the prophecies are really accurate rather than being explicable in some other way. I also found Tarquinius became more and more omniscient, soothsayer, military strategist and even a tour guide to Alexandria. I hope he calms down in the next novel.

Despite these criticisms I thought the book was a good read. The concept is a great one, showing how the powerful machinery of society can wreak havoc with individual lives, sending people from one end of the earth to another. The interesting thing here is how the characters deal with this maelstrom. The characters are interesting and I like the way he teases out their relationships under strain. I admire his ability to let us walk in Roman shoes, particularly those of the under-class. Kane interweaves historical narrative and the personal story with a light hand. His historical characters act in a believable manner and, in particular, he gives us a great insight into Brutus and, I suspect, a believable motive for the later actions of the man. I shall definitely read the rest of the series and recommend it as one of the best novels set in a world which is a mixture of the strange and the disconcertingly familiar.

The Lost King: Resistance
Wasteland (The Lost King)
For King and Country
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silver Eagle, 15 Jun. 2011
This the second book in a series. The first is the Forgotten Legion and the third is The Road to Rome.
Ben Kane is an Irish author who is part of a genre of authors who write historical novels. They research their work in detail and the finished product is a well written story with a huge amount of historical content which puts the work into a factual context. Ben Kane has an ability and style that puts him up alongside O'Brien and Cornwell.
The series looks at life from the bottom elements of Roman society and is full of rich detail. The storyline is a fascinating one which uses the changing geography of parts of the far flung ends of the Roman empire (and beyond) to give the backdrop a uniquely diverse and engaging platform for viweing the macro politics of Rome from the bottom up. It is also set at a particularly interesting period in Roman history when the Republic is being modified by the imperial aspirations of three main protagonists; Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus.
The Silver Eagle continues the theme of two main storylines which interweave and finally begin to come together. One storyline is based on a group of initially three characters, Romulus, Tarquinius and Brennus who are all social outcasts, either slaves or Etruscan (the precursor civilisation to Rome.) They are gifted individuals who work together well, surviving the challenges that fate and environment throw at them. The other storyline focuses on Fabiola, the sister of Romulus who was also initially a slave but gains the support of a powerful Roman and receives manumission (release from slavery.)
The interplay on their various origins and places in Roman society reveals suprising tolerances and intolerances, and the story takes the reader over a wide range of aspects of Rome and how it works.
The stories themselves are a delicate and detailed treatment of the brutality that makes Rome work and remain plausable throughout. The viewpoint, even in the battle scenarios are very much from the point of view of the legionary within the fighting ranks, but with a clever introduction to overview of the battle being fought.
Ben Kane, engeages, entertains and educates with this series and the reader will find it hard to wait for the next opportunity to continue reading his story.
In this book Fabiola gains access to the higher levels of Roman life through the patronage of a high ranking Roman officer in Caesar's army and the trio of warriors (for that is what they are,) escape the Forgotten Legion in Parthia and manage to get as far as Egypt in their return journey to Rome.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Silver Eagle!, 10 Feb. 2011
By 
Je Salter (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
After reading The Forgotten Legion last week and having thoroughly enjoyed it, I decided to read the Silver Eagle this week (after a brief interlude with Simon Scarrows Gladiator: Fight for Freedom) to see where Romulus and company had got to and what had happened to them after they had had been captured by the Parthians and made to fight in their army.

Book two of the Forgotten Legion Chronicles finds the intrepid threesome in the frozen winter of Eastern Margiana operating out of a Roman style fort built by the survivors in the legion, fighting against the Sychians, built nearby are small fortlets. Meanwhile Fabiola is a freedwoman having been bought out of slavery by Brutus, trusted friend of General Giaus Julius Caesar.

With a huge revolt in Gaul, Caesars legions are fighting a bitter war whilst Cato and Pompey are plotting his downfall from the safety of Rome, where trouble is also brewing with rioting on the streets. With Vercengetorex withdrawing hundreds of thousands of warriors to Alesia a major battle is in the offing for Caesars army of sixty thousand.

The Silver Eagle in my opinion with the above back drop is equally as good as The Forgotten Legion. Ben Kane manages once again to produce an exciting story that easily enables you to 'feel' what the main characters are experiencing and for you to visualise his story whilst at the same time combining factual history in his books.

There are a few revelations in the Silver Eagle that explain some of the topics in the Forgotten Legion, that were unsuspected. It brings the reader quite cleverly to a place where The Road to Rome starts for what I believe is the conclusion to the storyline. Another cracking romp through Roman history with great characters that is highly recommended, keep it going Ben!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Better than the original, 21 Jun. 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
OK, so I didn't have to wait too long for this. (In fact just long enough to get a cup of tea, a couple of biscuits to help keep my strength up and a trip to the loo.) But what could I expect from this? Would the writing stand out as much, would the characters grow and perhaps more importantly would the author continue to build on the world and not have it fall down upon his ears.

First of all, the title picks up where the last left off and lets just say that Ben really did give the readers a bloody nose with number of combat sequences within, its brutal, its bloody and above all it's really got a lot of passion behind it.

Whilst many may rail against some of the simplicity and compare it against firm fan favourites like Scarrow or even Iggulden, the titles by each author have to be taken on their own merit. Or rather than comparing to an already complete series should be compared only that far, so in this case up to book two by each author. Against these first to, you'll notice that the author has established a pretty vivid and different world to those by the other authors. It's different to the norm and I feel that its this difference that may have other railing against this pretty unique piece of writing.

Its fun, it's a brave new world and above all else its got descent character growth that really does allow the reader to immerse themselves in something novel and new. A great title and one that has left me clamouring for the next title.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars too many visionaries, 1 July 2009
I bought the Forgotten Legion on e-book and read it on holiday-I enjoyed it . The Silver Eagle is also enjoyable but the slight element of mysticism in the first book has now been somewhat overplayed-several characters now have visions of the future .I would prefer Ben Kane to stick more to gritty historical fiction-but that is just a personal opinion (I will still buy the next one !)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too long too much padding, 19 Sept. 2012
By 
MP Collins (Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Having read the first in the series of this sand and sandles epic I was looking forward to this one as it was striking out into unknown territory. The lost legions of the east and modern day references to blue eyed inhabitants with Caucasian features in the towns around the western Gobi stimulated that interest. I was disapointed, not only did it take an age to get halfway there and no further, but the constant flashbacks to the wretched sister, who's story would have best been told in a seperate volume, meant that by page 250 I was speed reading which is a shame because the story could have been so much better.
I have volume three in the series and intend leaving it for awhile but as it runs to 600 pages I can see another dose of boredom setting in. My advice would be a limit around 400 pages, a lot less padding, ditch the girl, less of the soothsayer visionary stuff and focus an undoubted talent for historical faction.
I am not sure whether I will continue after number three somehow I doubt it
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a read!!!, 16 Sept. 2010
What can I say...

A fantastic read, I am a massive Scarrow fan and Ben Kane is more than a match for Simon Scarrow. The detail in which the ancient world of the Roman Republic and its erstwhile foes the Parthians is brought to life. When travelling too and fro work this is the book I looked forward to reading. I do suggest that you read the first novel in the series Forgotten Legion and then this one and finally the Road to Rome.

I bought this book actually on a sale in Tesco's so trust it will be there. I would recommend this book to everyone, so dont miss out on this great book and the series.
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