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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 1 November 2013
Macro and Cato are back in town, and bring with them their usual amount of mayhem, intrigue and collateral damage.
They just don't seem able to sit idle and enjoy some down time, or lady fortuna has a sick sense of humour. Once again they are back in the legions, and once again its not a nice comfortable billet. But I don't think either of these boys would want or expect one, honours are earned at end end of a sword, and these boys still have medals and higher rank in mind.
In this book we are back where we began, in Britain, there is an unfinished conquest, a guerilla war being waged by the locals, and it needs to end. Tactics on both sides have got bloody and nasty. Cato has command of an auxiliary Unit called the blood crows led by a somewhat sadistic and nasty centurion, and someone that Cato and Macro need to work with, or work around.
Its a book that see's the need fr Cato to really grow into his new rank as prefect, and get over any fears he may have, to get past his concerns regarding his friend and having to command him, its time to grow up.
Will they survive... probably... it wouldn't be the time to end the series would it... but how they get there is a hell of a ride and really is a trip back to the early days of Macro and Cato.. (Julia hardly gets a mention... thank you simon).
A word of caution though, i do echo another reviewer, Simon has shown huge writing skill with his other series and stand alone books, and some times i do wonder if its not time to push Macro and Cato to their conclusion, before they become a stagnant parody of themselves. This book was a great trip back to where we began... can that be sustained forever? or should Simon drive towards the year of the 4 emperors with greater speed?
(everyone will have their own opinion).
But for now... bloody and excellent book.
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I've loved this series for a fair number of years now and to be honest its something of a guilty pleasure, however I do start to wonder just how many more scrapes that two of them can get into before one of them makes a fatal error that will leave either one or both of them face down in the dirty.

Don't get me wrong, it is a cracking story, Macro and Cato do keep the action flowing alongside weaving a credible story arc but with all their travels alongside all the foes they've left breathing, you'd think that something would have come up that would have led them into that one fatal step. All round a great piece of fun and if you want something that will entertain during the long cold nights then you really have to try the series, you'll soon be addicted like a great many others.
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VINE VOICEon 3 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's a pleasure to note how good this novel is after the debacle of 'Arena'. Back to form and written by Scarrow himself-and it shows. Typical of the Cato/Macro series - if you're a fan, you won't be disappointed. Set in South East Wales during the Claudian invasion of Britain, it did occur to me to wonder who we as readers should be cheering for - Cato and Macro, good lads though they are, are, after all, Roman soldiers who are fighting and killing people who most of us can call ancestors. Tricky! Scarrow, to his credit, handles this well, to the extent that there is almost an anti-war feel to the book, which lessens its enjoyment not a bit. There is barbaric behaviour on both sides. I was pleased to see his Author's Note at the end mentions Iraq, a thought that had crossed my mind. The Romans, a great superpower, try to force 'civilisation' on a distant primitive island. It costs the deaths of many of their soldiers. Their present day equivalents try to do the same with 'democracy' in Afghanistan. So, 2000 years of learning what, exactly? Scarrow does conveniently create a malign presence within the invading army itself so it's not all about sorting out Caratacus and the Silures. At one point I was even reminded, somewhat incongruously, of Jack Reacher, coming across some rogue enterprise in the boondocks and sorting it out!
Plenty of blood and guts as we've come to expect. Treachery, bravery and friendship in abundance.
Incidentally, the Roman fort of Bruccium, as far as I'm aware, is fiction. However, must be situated vaguely near Brecon [which it sounds like] and near which a previously unknown fort was discovered this summer. Coincidence?
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VINE VOICEon 3 December 2014
It is a book that starts well, Scarrow has always been good at atmospheric settings and the opening scene of this book is one of his best. I really liked the Blood Crows - bloodthirsty torturers though they were. Scarrow himself has said he was inspired by Apocalypse Now, and the leader of this unit is his nod to Colonel Kurtz - but sadly only up to a point.

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
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on 22 August 2015
Marco and Cato are back in another epic adventure in The Blood Crows. The novel sees our heroes return to Britain after their secretive work in Rome and the Imperial Palace is completed. Both soldiers are looking forward to army life as they return to the province where they started to make a name for themselves. With their new promotions, the duo hope they can get back to some ‘proper soldiering’ and put the espionage of Roman politics behind them.

The province of Britannia hasn’t changed much since the two heroes were last there. Even though the Emperor has announced the province conquered and peaceful, both Marco and Cato know that they have some tough battles ahead of them. The Briton leader Caratacus has mustered a sizable army and has turned to guerrilla warfare in an attempt to humble the Roman war machine. The Roman army is too big and slow to catch the Briton’s hit-and-run troops which have started to use the mountains of modern day Wales as their base.

Marco and Cato’s task is to take charge of the small fort of Bruccium deep in the enemy territory. The Perfect of the fort has being killed in a suspicious way and Cato is tasked to take control of the fort and hassle the local population. However as Cato and Marco find out, not all is as it seems in Bruccium with its’ temporary leader (Centurion Quertus) ruling both his men and the local Britons with an iron fist.

This is the twelfth book in the Eagles series and I’ve kind of put off reading it for a while because I thought the series was getting a little long in the tooth, especially when the duo returned to Britain. However, after reading The Blood Crows I was reminded just how great these novels are and how good the duo of Marco and Cato are.

The thing that really made this book for me was the dialogue between Marco, Cato and Centurion Quertus. Firstly I loved Quertus’s character, his ferocious nature and crazy streak reminds me of Jorg from Mark Lawrence's Prince of Thorns. Quertus’s challenge to Cato’s authority leads to great dialogue between the two soldier and builds so much tension in the novel, which I think hasn’t been there in other books in this series. Quertus also adds ruthlessness to Marco which we haven’t really seen before and I think these new influences on both characters makes the series a lot fresher.

Even though this is the twelfth book in the series I can honestly say it was my favourite and I’ve just downloaded Brothers in Blood and can’t wait to read it! I’d suggest this book to anyone who loves Ancient Roman fiction and of course to people who have already read any of the other Eagle novels. In addition if you’re a fan of author’s like Ben Kane, Anthony Riches, Gordon Doherty and Nick Brown you will love this series!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 October 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I like Simon Scarrow's legionary series involving Cato & Macro and have done since they were reluctantly paired together in Under the Eagle. The characters are well described, likeable and you feel like you want them to succeed and overcome the machinations of those in authority that appear to want to put them in harms way for their own nefarious purposes.

I'm not going to describe the plot except to say they're back in the rain swept backside of the Empire - Brittania to be exact, that's it for plot spoilers, well Macro's entertaining mum is with him looking to set up a lucrative business to see her through her retirement - and that's definitely it for storyline spoilers.

Scarrow is adept at working in real events to his novels and the overall background detail and his descriptions of battles are excellently done. In that respect he's very similar in style to Alexander Kent in his ability to place characters on the periphery of real events and to describe the frenetic activity and destruction that happens in battles whilst keeping a very real sense of time: i.e. multiple characters involved in scenes spliced together in the battle so you get a flow to the story, it doesn't keep jumping confusingly backwards and forwards.

This novel does take a little while to get going as Scarrow sets the scene and fills in the background to why our reluctant hero's are where they are, but it's engrossing stuff and when the novel does start to move along the pace picks up nicely and this novel very quickly becomes about as 'un-put-down-able' as they come, moving toward it's final conclusion at a cracking pace. I read "Blood Crows" over a period of a couple of days when I was on off-duty and reluctantly put it down to eat and sleep and to my wife's consternation did little else.

Blood Crows has set up the next in the series really well and I look forward to the next instalment of this entertaining series. I'd also recommend visiting Simon Scarrow's website, [...] as there's some good background stuff about Cato & Macro on there.
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on 17 March 2014
As usual this series is told from the perspective of the introspective, sensitive Cato and the bullish Centurion Macro. The story picks up with Cato and Macro leaving Rome for a return to the province of Brittania.

Still struggling to come to terms with their new, differing rank and social status, they are once again sent to face bloodthirsty barbarians in the mountainous regions of Brittania. Ordered to take command of an auxiliary unit of cavalry in a far flung outpost, they quickly realise that the real danger will come from within. Blood feuds and infighting make this book one of the most tense, nervy encounters yet and the author relays this tension superbly to the reader.

Despite a slightly pedestrian start, whilst the author gets the reader up to speed with the history surrounding current events, the story soon picks up pace once Cato and Macro meet up with their new command. This book contains all of the nerve shredding tension and action of each previous instalment as well as the intrigue and political manoeuvring that has been more a feature of the later books. The themes may seem to be more of the same for loyal Scarrow reader’s, but if you like this genre, then you can’t fail to be hooked by this latest, gripping instalment of Cato and Macro’s story.
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on 29 December 2014
I have read all of the books in this series but I am afraid they are becoming all too predictable and formulaic. There are only so many battles against appalling odds that remain believable and I think that was a couple of books ago. I won't be rushing to get the next... I think I would prefer to remember the fresher stories of the earlier books in the series.
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on 10 December 2013
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Simon Scarrow is certainly a canny writer. Many writers of historic fiction have glanced enviously at the success of Bernard Cornwell's `Sharpe' novels, but few have managed to reproduce it. The `Sharpe' books tell the story of Richard and Patrick over many years and often have two books or more representing a year in their life; you lived their lives with them over many years. Scarrow's own `Marco and Cato' novels have set out to do the same. `Blood Crows' represents the 12th in the series and you still only feel like you have scratched the surface of these two characters.

The epic sweeping storylines are not represented in Scarrow's fiction, instead he delves into the nitty gritty of warfare and tells the individual battles that led to moments that made history. This time Marco and Cato are back in Britain to try and suppress the locals. Boudicca returns, but she has still yet to reach the levels of infamy we know her for. This is a story set in Ancient Britain; it is not about Rome as a whole. Cato has been given the command of a remote fort and must quell the overzealous Centurion who has been running things. Can he protect the fort, whilst minding his own back?

In many ways `The Blood Crows' is a sad book, it is packed with barbaric acts from both sides. Neither side will win in a war that has seen so much butchery. Scarrow is a brilliant writer of battles; the gristle and gore is on the page. At times the levels of violence are a little too much even for me, but they do give the narrative a dirty and lived in feel. Fans of the series will love this book; Marco and Cato remain great characters who get into interesting situations. By following these two characters over the years, Scarrow is able to explore in far more detail the sense of place. He writes some very fine historic action books free from the burden of having to have epic battle.
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on 26 May 2015
I know the Cato and Macro books have been around now for quite a while and our gallant heroes always escape in the end but this doesn’t stop them still being an enjoyable trip through time. The characters still have there quirks and individualism and the ‘baddies’ still stalk them and try to manipulate them, personally I enjoy the escapism and like the action packed stories.
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