The Blood Crows (Roman Legion) Hardcover – 24 Oct 2013
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Praise for Simon Scarrow's novels: 'I don't need this kind of competition... it's a great read' (Bernard Cornwell)
Gripping... ferocious and compelling, it is a story of blood, romance and sacrifice (Daily Express)
A new book in Simon Scarrow's series about the Roman army is always a joy (The Times)
An engrossing storyline, full of teeth-clenching battles, political machinations, treachery, honour, love and death... More, please! (Elizabeth Chadwick)
A satisfyingly bloodthirsty, bawdy romp...perfect for Bernard Cornwell addicts who will relish its historical detail and fast-paced action. Storming stuff (Good Book Guide)
A good, uncomplicated, rip-roaring read (Mail on Sunday)
Scarrow's [novels] rank with the best (Independent)
[Simon Scarrow] blends together historical facts and characters to create a book that simply cannot be put down... Highly recommended (Historical Novels Review)
Praise for Simon Scarrow's novels:
'I don't need this kind of competition'(Bernard Cornwell)
'An engrossing storyline, full of teeth-clenching battles, political machinations, treachery, honour, love and death... More, please!' (Elizabeth Chadwick)
About the Author
Simon Scarrow is a Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author. His many successful books include his Eagles of the Empire novels featuring Roman soldiers Macro and Cato, most recently DAY OF THE CAESARS, INVICTUS, BRITANNIA and BROTHERS IN BLOOD, as well as HEARTS OF STONE, set in Greece during the Second World War, SWORD AND SCIMITAR, about the 1565 Siege of Malta, and a quartet about Wellington and Napoleon including the No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller THE FIELDS OF DEATH. He is the author with T. J. Andrews of the novels ARENA and INVADER.
Find out more at www.simonscarrow.co.uk and on Facebook /officialsimonscarrow and Twitter @SimonScarrow
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On the other hand, with this being the twelfth book in the same vein, there's really nothing new here to speak of; we've seen it all before. It's almost as though Scarrow is working off a checklist. Our heroes are posted to distant Britannia: check. Native tribes in insurrection: check. Always raining, muddy, windswept and miserable: check. Local warlord with a score to settle against the Romans: check. Rogue Roman officer building his own private army...well, you get the point.
"The Blood Crows" is by no means a bad book: it's serviceable written, and Scarrow has, as ever, done his homework where the Roman world is concerned. But with the Macro and Cato books these days, I tend to pick them up with a sense of, "Well, I've come THIS far..."
If you're looking for a by-the-numbers historical adventure novel, or are a long-term follower of Macro and Cato, then "The Blood Crows" will not disappoint. If you're new to their adventures, I recommend going back to the beginning and picking up one of Scarrow's earlier "Eagle" books.
Scarrow fatally undercuts his character here by revealing towards the end that the Blood Crows original leader's brutality is riven by an underlying terror.
It simply doesn't work, and it is sad because with a little more understanding of the likely psychological make-up of his own villain here, the book could have been better in its second-half.
That said the action scenes are well done - and I really like the fact that this series has come back to Britannia. For me that was always the fascination with the books in the first place. I think Scarrow has brilliantly conjured up how the first few years of Roman Britain might have been.
However, you know that Scarrow is writing modern Boys' Own stories - so commanding officers are cardboard caricatures who sneer or scoff at our two heroes, Macro and Cato, and it does get a bit wearing.
I do have an issue with the swearing at times in the book. Yes I know we all do it, and they did too. But excessive use of the C-word is simply dull. It betrays a lack of imagination on the writers' part. If you read the text without the word, you can see that it doesn't really add or intensify any of the action - that needs to come from the writing. You can't improve it by merely adding in ****.
So overall three stars. It is good and I am really glad the duo are back in Britain, but it could have been better, and he still needs to work on making his minor characters more consistent.
Ave atque vale, Tim
Pretty standard fare here and I wonder if it was produced in order to satisfy a contract rather than Mr Scarrow actually wanting to write another Macro novel? I see that the Arena series has kicked off and i do wonder whether this has taken some inspiration out of this series?
All in all a good enough offering with the right level of detail and historic accuracy but with an outcome that was never in doubt and therefore an edge of tension taken away.
Let's hope the next one restores the standard we're used to.