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on 26 December 2016
I really want to give this one 3.5 stars. Having followed the adventures of Roman Legionaries Macro and Cato for the better part of ten years now, picking up with their adventures is a little like visiting old friends (albeit fictional ones) and catching up. The same thing happens whenever Sharpe and Harper appear in a new Bernard Cornwell book.

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.
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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 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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on 13 July 2017
All good as usual with this author what a purist ,really entertaining ,number 13 next for the second time of reading the series
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on 10 December 2014
I've been following the Cato and Macro series since the very first and this was a worthy addition to the series. Centurion is still my favourite, and the one which I find myself re-reading quite often. The Blood Crows was a great read full of action and the usual suspense, although perhaps it took a while to get going ( maybe 100 pages or so).
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on 11 May 2015
Oh boy, couldn't wait to find out what Cato and Macro had been up to. This doesn't disappoint. These guys are like family now. You fall into these books and pick up from whichever provience they last landed on and go with the flow. The battles are awesome and you can picture the might of the Roman force. Well done Simon Scarrow for making me read when I should have been working!
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on 6 June 2017
The blood crows (eagles) by Simon Scarrow is a great book you can follow all the characters right through all the books in the eagles series
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on 30 December 2014
Yet another in the series which I found the more you read the less you b wanted to put the book down. That said, I felt that the siege of the fort was not developed enough and almost skipped over, but done in a manner which I have to concede did not detract from the overall quality of the book. Another thoroughly good read
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on 7 December 2014
Cato and Macro continue in Britain. The presentation of culture and daily life of ancient Rome and Britain are good, and the descriptions of the tactics, equipment and life of the Roman Army circa 50AD are wonderful. The battle scenes are intense and bloody, but feel totally authentic.
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on 17 April 2014
I'm not sure.

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.
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