5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A Franchise That's Starting To Fade,
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This review is from: The Blood Crows: Cato & Macro: Book 12 (The Eagle Series) (Kindle Edition)
With Simon Scarrow you always know that you're in a safe pair of hands, and I think that's the root of the problem with this book. Its so predictable that I could almost write it myself. Macro and Cato are sent on a mssion, it places them in danger, there is a conspiracy to have them killed, they survive. To base twelve books on this formula is really starting to stretch things, escpecially as Scarrow reminds us that the whole series of twelve books has only covered a nine year period. In that time Cato has travelled from one end of the Roman Empire to the other and has gone from buck legionary to Prefect. Unlikely in itself as it would take even the best soldier that long to reach the rank of Optio.
The story itself is OK, but very slow to get off the ground. The book is a third of the way through before the pair actually get into any serious action. That's an awful lot of scene setting! They are back in Brittania in 51AD, sent back to serve in the Legions once again. Cato (the brainy one) has been appointed Prefect of an isolated frontier fort and Macro (the muscle) is to be the senior Centurion of the garrison's Legionary cohort. Their common enemy for this story is the evil Centurion Quertus of a Thracian auxilliary cavalry unit who has been acting Garrison Commander of the fort since the death (in suspicious circumstances) of Cato's predecessor. Under Quertus the whole place has 'gone rogue' and Quertus is running amok massacring the native Silurians and it's Cato's job to reign them in and turn the garrison back into a proper Roman army unit again. Against this is the backdrop of King Caraticus's insurgency against Rome and by an improbable coincidence he appears outside the gate of the fort with a 10,000 strong army, outnumbering the defenders by about 20 to 1. Simon Scarrow has to make his two heroes escape certain death, which he duly does in an unlikely manner.
If it weren't for the previous eleven books doing pretty much the same thing in different ways this would probably be a four star read, but even the best stories start to get stale if they're retold often enough. I can only hope that Scarrow comes up with some fresh ideas for the inevitable book thirteen.