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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Kane nails it!
Review

Ben Kane now belongs to one of those rare few authors who, when they have a book coming out you buy it. His skill as a writer has been proven time and time again, now its just enjoying the stories and people he writes, and how closely he gets his history to match the plot.

I have read and heard before about Hannibal Barca and Cannae, but never...
Published 17 months ago by Parm

versus
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A return to Hanno, Quintus and Aurelia - and the Battle of Cannae
Ben Kane's retelling of Hannibal's campaign against Rome was paused to make way for his two superb Spartacus novels (The Gladiator and Rebellion). Now, Kane picks up the threads of Hannibal: Enemy of Rome (Hannibal 1) to continue the story of young Carthaginian soldier Hanno, his Roman counterpart Quintus and Aurelia, the Roman's younger sister. Do please read the...
Published 16 months ago by Kate


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A return to Hanno, Quintus and Aurelia - and the Battle of Cannae, 13 Jun 2013
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Ben Kane's retelling of Hannibal's campaign against Rome was paused to make way for his two superb Spartacus novels (The Gladiator and Rebellion). Now, Kane picks up the threads of Hannibal: Enemy of Rome (Hannibal 1) to continue the story of young Carthaginian soldier Hanno, his Roman counterpart Quintus and Aurelia, the Roman's younger sister. Do please read the excellent Enemy of Rome first. Once you've done so you'll know that the ties that bind Hanno to Quintus and Aurelia are complicated.

The centerpiece of Hannibal: Fields of Blood is the Battle of Cannae. This battle, fought in 216 BC, retains the dubious distinction, as Ben Kane informs us, of remaining one of the bloodiest battles of history, with over 50,000 Roman soldiers dead on the field. All paths here do indeed lead to Cannae, although we pass on the way skirmishes, raids and feats of daring on both sides, not least by Hanno and Quintus themselves.

While Hanno has to reassert his loyalty to the extraordinary Hannibal, proving that he is no friend of Rome, and attempting to find peace with his two brothers, Quintus has to prove himself to his father. No longer able to do this as a member of the elite equestrians, Quintus turns his back on his father and comrades and instead `re-enlists' as a common foot soldier. In this lowly position he has to fight for supremacy, even survival, in the small world of his tent men. Enemies are easily made here. A knife in the back is so easily explained away. Meanwhile, near Capua, Quintus' young sister Aurelia has to reassert her own independence against her mother who is intent on marrying her off to save the fortunes of the estate. Actually, there can be no independence, and that is the battle that Aurelia must fight, within herself.

It was good news to learn that Ben Kane was returning to Hanno and Quintus. Since Enemy of Rome, though, we have been given the two Spartacus novels which, I think, are spectacularly good and again took me on a very different path to the one I was expecting. It's possible that by the time Fields of Blood came around, too much time had passed.

Ben Kane is a master of the details. His research is meticulous and every page reaps the benefit of thorough knowledge. His description of the two armies, their units, and the Battle of Cannae itself, are superb. But there is for me little of the enjoyment that I had felt reading Enemy of Rome. This might well be the result of the times being told here - this was hardly a good time to be Carthaginian or Roman - but I found it relentlessly bleak. I found Hanno and Quintus difficult to distinguish in terms of character and I had little grasp of the wider picture. Where I think Fields of Blood does suffer is in the sections dealing with Aurelia. Personally, I would have preferred them removed. Nevertheless, this is a vivid and exact picture of a brutal confrontation and, as a piece of military historical fiction, Fields of Blood has much to commend it. I'm grateful for the review copy.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Kane nails it!, 6 Jun 2013
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Review

Ben Kane now belongs to one of those rare few authors who, when they have a book coming out you buy it. His skill as a writer has been proven time and time again, now its just enjoying the stories and people he writes, and how closely he gets his history to match the plot.

I have read and heard before about Hannibal Barca and Cannae, but never before in such vivid and at times gory detail This book is not called Fields of Blood for nothing.

As usual Ben's research is impeccable (the man would be harder on himself for getting it wrong than any reader could be). If there are any mistakes it will take a better person than me to spot them, and if you are such a person, make sure you read the authors note before you pick fault (it is fiction so tinkering is a must at times).

In this book we get to follow the ups and downs of Hanno, Quintus and Aurelia. All suffer hardships, all suffer the trials of adolescents becoming adults, and all do it in a world of upheaval When I think back to the moans my son gave and I did as a teen and compare them the trials of the ancient world.... well trivial comes to mind.

There are many flashes of emotion in the book, from elation at a relatives survival, to dark morbid brooding at being forced into an unexpected life, or the thoughts of imminent death through to manic bestial savagery just in the name of survival. In the next book I would like to see the main characters Hanno and Quintus suffering with some form of PTSD. They have both been portrayed as intelligent and compassionate men, at times quite emotive, and while it should not cripple them I would think that combination will colour who and what they become next after the horror of Cannae. Hanno I think has already shown some signs of PTSD from his imprisonment and slavery, his desire for revenge by the end of the book is savage and could be his undoing. Its a depth of character examination that really brings his cast to life (well it did with Hanno).

I enjoyed (if that's the right description) the regular highs and lows of emotion for Aurelia, not just her own situation, but the stress and strain on top of that, of not knowing, of the fact that the news of lost battles reached them quickly but in the ancient world, news of individuals is sporadic and time-wise a lengthy process. (if you think royal mail is bad)! These extended periods of not knowing mean some really dark periods for Aurelia followed by extreme highs. All captured so well by Ben, and again we start to see the subtle cracks in her persona as this mental strain takes it toll.

Its this gradual attrition that is subtly captured that really makes this book great, battles are as i have heard some authors say "a piece of pi$$ to write" writing them so well and then expanding the fall out into the souls of his cast, that's the real skill which Ben pulls off in style. That said, the battles in this book are not a glorification of war, but more the endless grind and peril, the violence without clear result, and the tactical genius of Hannibal.

I'm a little astonished how fast this book went (granddaughter tends to curb my reading time) , but despite all the interruption this book was gone in 2 days, and for a 400 page book in my daily routine that's a darn speedy read, and can only be the result of being utterly engrossed. Its a feeling i have had with all but one of Ben's books (wont name it, as many others loved it).

So Mr Kane, once again I doff my hat in your direction at what is a Bloody Splendid book, set in a bloody dangerous time and ending in one of the bloodiest fields of all time.

Highly Recommended

(Parm)

Other Books

Forgotten Legion Chronicles
1. The Forgotten Legion (2008)
2. The Silver Eagle (2009)
3. The Road to Rome (2010)

Hannibal
1. Enemy of Rome (2011)
2. Fields of Blood (2013)

Spartacus
1. The Gladiator (2012)
2. Rebellion (2012)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If anything, part 2 was even better than part 1!, 24 Nov 2013
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I actually started part 2 on holiday abroad & couldn't put it down until I finished it. I was branded as anti-social. I have a feeling we'll be seeing more of these characters and the sooner the better please - no pressure Ben!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First class as usual, 24 Mar 2014
Yet again, a fantastic book by Ben. Well written, gripping to the end, and leaves you feeling like you were there. Well done Ben, bring on Clouds of War.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive writing, 10 Feb 2014
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Ben is an author I’ve loved for years and as such, he’s an author that has gone from strength to strength especially with his latest series following the war between Carthage and Rome. It brings the past to life, giving the reader a sense of the time not only politically but also from each civilisations point of view which when backed with characters that the reader can easily associate with all round gives you a great reading experience.

Back this up with an additive writing style, some great combat sequences and of course some wonderful lulls with cracking dialogue and all round I was a happy reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ben Kane, produces another fantastic Book in Fields of Blood., 10 Oct 2013
By 
Mr. Ray. Brown (Arbroath Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This the latest from Ben Kane comes in the second book of the Hannibal Series - Fields of Blood. This book continues to follow Hanno and Quintus as they lead up to and fight in arguably one of the bloodiest battles ever.

Hanno is a Carthaginian officer (previously a Slave of Quintus's family) fighting for Hannibal, while Quintus was a Roman equestrian who joins the Infantry. Friends in the same battle, on opposite sides, both fighting for there very survival.

The book follows both of these characters on the path to Cannae. Along the way there is many Ambushes skirmishing and even time for Love to blossom. In typical Ben Kane style the fighting scenes are superb with just enough detail to not be too graphic. The detail to which the book covers both sides, how they formed up for battle, the armour they wore, even down to the Helmets & Spears is magnificent.

Like all of Ben Kane's books, this was excellently written and I always looked forward to reading the next page, next chapter and next book.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Treat For Those Who Love Roman Fiction, 22 July 2014
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Anyone interested in Roman fiction has probably got Ben Kane at the top of their list of author's to read. For those who do not, you have been missing a rare treat. Ben Kane's words slide off the pages like oiled silk and the time flies by. Ben Kane's storytelling ability is second to none and his knowledge of the period of history he writes about is extensive. Certainly, for me is right up there with the very best in the genre and the list of good writer's in this particular period of history is a long one.

Quintus and his father Fabricius are still away serving with the Roman army, trying to stem the advance of Hannibal's forces into northern Italy, and leaving his mother Atia, and sister Aurelia to manage the family estate as best they can. Having a local money lender leaning on them for a large debt incurred by Fabricius does little to lighten the load for mother and daughter. A message from the front lines stating that Aurelia's betrothed, Flaccus is dead closes one avenue to the family being able to honour the debt and Aurelia`s mother looks to other suitors to solve the family`s problems.

Hanno, one time slave of Quintus's family, and also his friend, has now found his way back to his Carthaginian countrymen and is with Hannibal's forces in Cisalpine Gaul, closing in on the Roman army, put there to stop Hannibal's advance into Italy. In an act of fate, Quintus and his father are among captives taken in an ambush, and are allowed to make their escape by Hanno, at no little risk to himself.

So begins the second book in the series. The problem with books that come in series, at least for me, is that because I constantly have a book on the go, it is usually an initial problem for me to pick up the threads from the previous story, but in this particular instance, although it is a while since I read the first book, Hannibal: Enemy of Rome (Book 1, 2011) I quickly got back into the swing of the storyline. As I said above, for me the author is the consumate storyteller and there is never a period in the book when the story drags or you feel that passages are make-weight or in any way superfluous to the story. I enjoyed the book enormously and have no hesitation in recommending it to others.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 30 Jun 2014
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Wow! I thought the first book in the Hannibal series was good, this was even better. Couldn't read it quick enough and can't wait to read the next. Hail Ben Kane.
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4.0 out of 5 stars good story, 10 Jun 2014
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This is a good story based on historic fact the two main characters are to some extent believable . how ever some of the adventures they get into are slightly unbelievable ,as an ex regular serviceman my self there is only so much that any commander will put up with an I am affraid that the story may become unbelievable . all together not a bad start to this series.

stephen pollard
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Follow On, 4 May 2014
By 
Mr. K. Shaw - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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What a great series this is turning out to be. A fine mix of characters both military and family which keeps you interested on every page
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