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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 24 April 2007
Cato and Marco could not be too different legionnaires. Marco has become a Centurion by years of battles and experience whilst Cato has become his second in command via politics and at a young age. Although they may be complete opposites they must combine their experience and intelligence to lead their men in battle. This is made even more important when they discover themselves involved in a political struggle for power and a long march to the barbaric shores of Great Britain.

'Under the Eagle' is the first in a series of book by Scarrow that follow the adventures of Cato and is an excellent introduction. Scarrow writes just the right blend of action and description so that readers of other historic fiction are not bored, whilst new readers are informed about the period.

The best aspects of the novel are probably the battle scenes and the characters. Scarrow is very good at describing everything from minor skirmishes to full on conflicts. These battles are heightened because he has created in Cato and Marco two characters that you soon grow to like. It will be a pleasure to see how Cato rises over the next few novels.

The only minor misgivings I have with the book is that some of the political aspects were slightly confusing and that Cato comes across as a bit too weedy. I am sure that both of these elements will be dealt with in future stories as being inexperienced is all part of Cato's journey. I recommend these books to fans of authors such as Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden.
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on 15 February 2001
Mr. Scarrow's first book in this new series is inspired. It is a gripping, enjoyable read that provides a thrilling sense of what it must have been like in the heart of a Roman legion as it fights its way through the barbarian hordes. The barracks life also feels very authentic. The characters are very life-like and likeable and I want to see how the Cato/Macro relationship develops, as well as plot the career of young Vespasian. The dialogue is sharp, the settings vivid, and the action nail-biting. If he can keep this up then Scarrow is onto a winner. If I had to comapre it to anything, it would be Hornblower, but a Hornblower who lived in a much grittier, bloodier and lethally political world. If you like Cornwell, Davis and their ilk, and you enjoyed Gladiator as much as I did - then this one is for you!
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on 27 June 2001
I gobble up every Sharpe novel, and having seen Cornwell's praise on the cover of Scarrow's book I thought it might be worth a try. In the event, I read it in one sitting - it's that good. Convincing characters, wonderful evocation of setting and a fast paced and engrossing story. What more could I ask? (Apart from being longer!) I'll definitely be buying the the sequel when it comes out in August. I think that the battle scenes in Under The Eagle are some of the best pieces of action writing I have ever come across... In conclusion then. Under The Eagle was one of the best reads I've had in recent years, and promises to be the start of a great series. I wish Scarrow every success in this venture.
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on 18 June 2010
Under the Eagle sees the start of the epic adventures of Centurion Macro and Cato. I actually bought 'Eagle in the Sand' first and then spent frantic weeks trying to find all the previous titles in hardback format.

Under the Eagle sees the arrival of a young Cato with the legion and his experiences as he comes to terms with life in the army with Macro in Germania. Simon Scarrow produces an excellent story with realistic characters as the battles commence and the blood flows.

Some poetic license is included as the two Roman soldiers jump geographically from region to region in the books and their capers are more like those of Roman Special Forces but they are excellent reads.

I took five of his books with me to Spain on holiday and by the time the two weeks were over, the books were read and throroughly enjoyed. Simon Scarrow for me is a better story teller than Bernard Cornwell because theres more action, more going on and his stories flow.
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on 23 March 2006
Having just finished the Boudica series by Manda Scott, I was still hungry for some more stories from that era, and in choosing this book, I have not been disappointed! The only thing I AM disappointed about is not finding this series sooner!
The writing style is quick and flowing, and grabs the reader to keep reading more. Firstly this style of book will always be compared to Bernard Cornwell, and while I am a fan of his, I have to say that the quality of writing in this book is better than the "Sharpe" series.
The characters on first viewing look standard format; older guy nurturing a younger lower ranked sidekick....but don't let that put you off. Both of the main characters, Macro and Cato, have very independent thoughts and actions and their own sub-plots and trials and tribulations.
Such is the nature of the Roman period, there is so much scope for intrigue and political plots, based around the real historical characters too. In his writing, it is obvious how passionate and knowledgable the author is on this subject.
The book provides not only an excellent historical fiction, but it also gives some good ideas and insights on the invasion of Britain in 43AD.
A great to read book 2!
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on 2 June 2007
Under the Eagle is one hell of a book. The action and adventure is a true delight and the interactions of the characters are believable and runs the gamut in terms of emotions. This book's, and indeed the series, strength is the two main protagonists, Cato and Marco. The beginnings of their friendship and their joint exertions are hugely enjoyable and I highly recommend this novel to all lovers of historical fiction and those who aren't as well. A great beginning to a first rate series.
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on 13 April 2003
“Under the Eagle” is quite simply a rollicking read. And for a first novel is an adept piece of escapism. My reading of “Under the Eagle” undoubtedly suffered slightly from my reading of Steven Pressfield’s awesome “Gates of Fire” just prior. However I enjoyed the book’s quick pace, likeable characters, bouts of furious action, and Scarrow’s elaborately woven, underlying plot of political intrigue. I have read various reviewers suspicions of Scarrow’s characters using modern British slang, however I think this ultimately works well (although it is a little jarring to begin with). Just so long as Scarrow doesn’t let it get too fluid and we end up with a Cockney “Jack the Lad” Roman Centurion. But this doesn’t occur in this book and I am pleased to say that the use of modern dialogue makes the pages skip by quickly and eludes the sometimes dire “thees” and “thous” which have made some novels with ancient settings sound like a “Carry On Caesar”.
Scarrow has created the start of what promises to be a great series, centred around the adventures of Macro and Cato. I recommend this book to anyone after a cracking good, light weight read. It’s a fun story, packed with action. I dare say there’ll be many amateur classicists who’ll jump behind their high-browed snobbery and berate this enormously. Their loss. This isn’t meant to be “I Claudius” or a Mary Renault novel, it’s a little bit of daring-do set in Roman times. And a fine piece of escapism it is too!
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on 25 January 2005
This is the first in series of really amazing books, starring the loveable and often highly amusing Centurion Macro and his awkward Optio Cato. In this series, largely based around the invasion of Britain in 42 AD, Scarrow creates astonishingly vivid characters that really do bring history to life. It includes all the ingredients of an epic, violence, heroism, loyalty,deceit, freindship and love, set in the enthralling backdrop of the Roman empire.
This book sparked off a real interest in the Roman era for me, particularly the legions, depicted here in such a heoric and fascinatng light, and doesn't contain any of those historical slip-ups which I find so annoying.
I am still looking for a novel of it's calibre, that can equal it for it's ability to captivate and engross the reader.
I strongly recommend these books to not only those with an interest in Roman history but also anyone who wants a spellbinding, and thoroughly enjoyable historical novel.
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on 24 January 2007
Under the Eagle is the first in a stunning line of the 'Eagle Series'. Scarrow (The Author), creates believable characters, who you can grow fond of, and characters that you despise almost as much as if they people you knew for real. With plot twists, lots of detailed and well-described battles, combined with an insight into the way things were for the average Roman soldier, and the political games played by their superiors, this book is hard to put down. You may even find that you read the whole series too quickly, and be waiting for the next one desperately. Proof of this books high quality is from praise by Bernard Cornwell: 'I really don't need this kind of competition...a great read!'
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on 15 January 2006
I thought this book was terrific. I was gripped by it from the first page and couldn't wait to see what happened to our two heroes on their expedition to Britain. The author writes in a very straightforward and pacey style keeping the Latin place names to a healthy minimum. Even though I was brought up in Folkestone I hadn't realised that Boulogne-sur-Mer (just twenty odd miles away albeit over water) had been called Gesoriacum by the Romans. You live and learn. I enjoyed the book so much that immediately I had finished it I ordered the next three books in the series. I can't wait for the delivery.
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