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on 20 January 2016
Third installment in the Hannibal series, this time the battle is situated in Sicily with the siege of Syracuse. Hanno is send to the city as per Hannibal's order in order to train and advise the leadsmen who support Carthage. Quintus is also sent to Sicily to participate in the dramatic first attack and siege on Syracuse. At an amazing and bloodstunning pace you can see that the story will lead to an encounter of the two old friends in their battle against each other in both arms. The end was bit rushed and I was hoping that Kane would took more time to tell what happened after their meeting during the battle in the city, I was also dissapointed in the end as I thought this was the final chapter of a triloy. My dissapointment was gone immediately when I read in the author's note that their would be a next novel in the series, can't wait till the day this one comes out!
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on 10 March 2014
Ben Kane has done it again, a fantastic read throughout. it ends as well as it begins. the story made me stay up till past midnight most nights. You wont get enough of this book or Bens masterful way of writing. Its both gripping and dramatic which makes you want to know what happens next. When reading this you will experience notions of valour, honour, disloyalty and betrayal all good things when it comes to historical fiction. Its also good to note that Ben Kane trys to get historical accuracy throughout his books so while reading this epic you will also learn. The only disappointing part is that I cant continue with the story, Will have to wait till the next in the series comes out!
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on 27 June 2014
In 213, Rome is at war with Carthage and the town of Syracuse in Sicily is under siege. Outside the walls is Quintus, a brave servant of Rome and equestrian masquerading as infantry. Sent by Hannibal to help the rebels is Hanno, old friend of Quintus but on a mission to bring death to all Romans. As if loyalties could not be divided enough, Aurelia, Quintus’ sister and Hanno’s love from the past, becomes a captive in the besieged city.

Kane is already well-known as a writer who delivers on immersing the reader in his world and this book did not disappoint. His fight and battle scenes, whether on land or sea, are visceral and compelling. While I expected to (and was) engrossed in Quintus’ and Hanno’s struggle, Aurelia’s story was even more compelling for me. Much historical fiction of this type consigns women to the background at most. But Aurelia’s challenges are just as terrifying and heart breaking (I will not risk spoilers by detailing what they are). As one would expect from Kane, they reflect the experiences of what many women from this period in history would have gone through and are all the more powerful for that.

Enough questions remain to draw the reader into the next chapter in their lives and it’s one I’ll be reading. Existing Kane fans won’t be disappointed and this book deserves to increase that following.

Note: I received a free review copy of this book via the Historical Novel Society. This review (or an edited version) has appeared in the Historical Novels Review. My review is my independent opinion.
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on 18 April 2016
The third of the Hannibal series and the aftermath of Cannae, a battle so bloody that casualties to that extend would not been seen until the battle of the Somme, some 2200 years later.
Starts off a little slow, as Hannibal awaits the Roman surrender, which to the rules of war he should have received, but never does. Instead the Romans pull back, regroup their Legions and look for easier pickings than the great general. They turn to Sicily and the Greek city state of Syracuse.
A lesser known theatre in the Second Punic War, the siege of Syracuse has mixed results for the Romans. A failed naval assault, thanks to the legendary machines greater by one of the greatest minds of the ancient world, Archimedes.
Quintus, now a disgraced surviver from Cannae sees him exiled with the Legions against the Greeks of Syracuse. Though the tyrants of the island do have a Carthaginian adviser, Hanno, and a Roman mistress, Quintus' and Hanno' love Aurelia.
Bens description of the battle again is superb, the attention to detail second to none. Also available on YouTube is a video of Ben at Syracuse, describing the battle, a must watch.
A nice touch was the lead up the book Ben run a completion/raffle for a chance of the winners being mentioned in the book, which was nice to see at the back.
Looking forward to the return of the series, where the conflict heats up again between Roman and Carthage on the Italian Peninsular and moves to Spain. Don't leave it too long please Ben for another top notch novel 👍🏻
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on 16 June 2016
The final installment of the Hannibal series finds our former friends on Sicily, facing each other across the walls of Syracuse. What follows is another meticulously researched book from the master of Roman historical fiction. There is plenty of detail to satisfy the most ardent of readers whilst maintaining a tempo to keep the casual reader engrossed. The characters are so believable that you will start thinking of them as personal acquaintances. You'll either love them all or have a strange feeling of caution about some of them. You'll certainly be thinking about the book and the people long after putting the book down. The sheer horror of warfare, and in particular siege warfare is described in great detail throughout this book. Both forces are responsible for horrendous events which occurred during this period and Ben Kane is not shy about trying to pretty up these scenes. It is another brutally honest book. The descriptions of the first Roman assaults on the walls of Syracuse are realistic and enlightening at the same time. The ingenuity of Archimedes is clearly a strong influence on Ben and quite rightly his inventions are given the respect that they deserve. I can not recommend this book and this series highly enough. Ben Kane is for me the best writer of Roman historical fiction and any reader of Simon Scarrow and Bernard Cornwell will find these books more than to their liking.
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on 1 December 2014
I enjoyed the first Hannibal and on the strength of that bought the next two. The second I found rather underwhelming so it was with some trepidation that I moved on to the third. I'm about 2/3 rds through now and I'm not convinced I can be bothered to finish it. I keep waiting for something to happen that I find vaguely interesting and so far nothing has. I really couldn't care less about whetrher Hanno cops off with Aurelia or not and if he is he's taking an awful long time about it. Its all rather dull I'm afraid.
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on 9 December 2014
The third part of the Hannibal saga doesn't match up to the preceding two. It is lazily written, full of very short sentences and poor dialogue, and with more holes in the often completely unbelievable storyline than a sieve. Hannibal is incidental to the story - a cat called Hannibal plays as big a part as the Carthaginian General. I've previously enjoyed all of Ben Kane's books, but he has let his standards slip badly with this one.
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VINE VOICEon 2 September 2014
Ben Kane’s Hannibal series has been impressive and this is the third (and I sense there will be more).

Set during Rome’s war with Carthage, our central characters are friends who sit on either side of the conflict. In the middle is Aurelia, sister to the Roman Quintus and in love with Hanno who is from Carthage.

Much of this is set on Sicily and the Roman siege of Syracuse and the conflicts and adventures of our three main characters to bring into context the backdrop of the war and the siege. These were not nice times and Ben Kane does well to give us a good perspective from both sides and allows us to have a balanced view. It’s authentic, bloody and brutal.

My favourite is the first in the series, I thought it was brilliantly delivered by the author. I enjoyed this one, but if I had an annoyance with it, it would be that Aurelia seems to have become reckless beyond belief and I found her level of stupidity a little frustrating. Having said that, Hanno and Quintus are as engaging as ever and the story is as vivid and exciting as we have come to expect.
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on 16 May 2016
This was gripping. The action is well handled and this time Mr Kane has the problem of writing about a part of the campaigns where there was a large amount of stasis. It is easy to write battle after battle, and keep the action flowing when the reality was such, but this period was less intense. We get to learn more about characters and there is more of a "feel" for the era.

I enjoyed this book enormously: anyone can write a novel about Waterloo for example - good luck writing a novel about the gap between Vittoria and Quatre Bras for example. Mr Kane makes this difficult task look simple by an effortless blend of knowledge, good prose, and a passion for the era which comes through. At the moment Mr Kane's publishers promote his new book, Hunting the Eagles, with a quote from Wilbir Smith "Ben Kane is the rising star of historical fiction". Well who wouldn't appreciate praise from someone like Wilbur Smith - but, writing this review somewhat retrospectively, I think Mr Kane had arrived by the time of this novel in the Hannibal trilogy
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on 3 March 2014
Having read The Forgotten Legion Trilogy and the first book in this series, I was slightly disappointed with the second one in the Hannibal series. It was okay but nowhere near as captivating as Ben Kane's previous books. This one, however, is right back on it. Great storylines, always something going on, some real drama and tension. Some brutality as well but then that was just part of life in the era being described.

In the second novel, the book moved between stories of the 3 main characters so it felt like it was jumping around a lot; a lot of the time the drama would be built up then the chapter would end and you would have to wait 2 long chapters to find out what happens. This was obviously intended to build anticipation, but I felt it resulted in you tending to lose the momentum a bit at times. In Clouds Of War, the chapter ends and the next chapter continues the same piece of action or sub-plot and I feel the book flows a lot better and the interest is continuous.

In the two previous books I felt Hanno seemed to be the more heroic figure and the one you sided with slightly more, whereas in this book I feel it swings round so that Quintus is more of the 'hero' figure.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this. If, like me, you were a bit unsure after the second book of the series, don't worry about it as this one is excellent. A real page turner. Only disappointment now is that I see the author plans to write a couple of other books before returning to this series for the fourth instalment.. it going to be a long wait.
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