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The Eagle's Prophecy (Eagles of the Empire 6) Paperback – 11 Dec 2008
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Praise for Simon Scarrow's novels: 'I really don't need this kind of competition... It's a great read' (Bernard Cornwell)
Scarrow's [novels] rank with the best (Independent)
Gripping and moving (The Times)
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)
Ferocious and compelling (Daily Express)
A Rome full of HOUSE OF CARDS treachery... Roman soldiering at its very best - even by Scarrow's high standards - in this winning chunk of historical fiction (Sunday Sport)
Rollicking good fun (Mail on Sunday)
A fast-moving and exceptionally well-paced historical thriller (BBC History Magazine)
AD 45, the Adriatic Sea. Centurions Macro and Cato embark on a deadly mission to rescue an imperial agent from pirates. The gripping sixth novel in the bestselling Eagles of the Empire series, which includes INVICTUS, BRITANNIA and THE BLOOD CROWS.See all Product description
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Overall, the books are very readable, and importantly very entertaining. These earlier volume are by and large better thoughtout and less 'commercial' than some of the later ones. I have the complete collection on my bookshelf and am now part way through re-reading the series from the beginning and am finding it a joy.
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 in Rome, under suspicion, and bored. They suddenly find themselves sent on a mission by someone they cannot trust, alongside someone who has already proved treacherous. So it's more of the adventures we have some to expect from the author. The story moves along well, and has many twists and turns. Overall a good fun read.
I am starting at the first book again and work my way through.
Spring 45 AD and Centurions Macro and Cato, dismissed from their Legion in Britain, are trapped in Rome accused of a crime. Politically devious Narcissus offers them a dangerous way out but they must re-capture an imperial agent and his vital scrolls accompanied by an old enemy Vitellius. Amid more plots that could destroy the Emperor, Macro and Cato struggle to clear their name and stay alive.
SAFE READING _ NO SPOILERS
I have read all the "Eagle" series in order, followed the careers of Cato and Macro with great interest and eagerly await the already pre-ordered "Praetorian".
Not the heights of Literature (nor pretending to be), but well-written nevertheless, the series is filled with his great depth of knowledge, enthusiasm for and interest in the Romans.
Cunningly peopled with all the names from our history lessons - Vespasian, Cladius, Caratacus, Boudica - and the Roman campaigns to extend the Empire but centred on two Roman soldiers who become unlikely close friends, Macro and Cato, their careers and friendship carries the stories along. Following them closely allows the intimate details of human life to be in the forefront while the everyday lives of Roman soldiers and the political intrigues of the Roman Empire provide the backdrop.
PS I found it helpful to have a one-page list of Roman army ranks, which I used as a bookmark, and I had the odd glance at ancient maps (not mine I hasten to add!).
The action is brutal and totally action packed from page one to the very end, it is a real page turner. Started on page one at six pm and put it down realising it was two am. Beware it is really addictive, gritty and the only set of books that hooked me so efectivly that the only other collection that has come close to this has to be JK and her masterful Harry potter. It must be said not books for children.
I take my hat of to Mr Scarrow the word smith, love to meet him and I don't say that very often.