This is the 8th novel in Simon Scarrow's excellent series of books about Centurions Macro and Cato, and follows on from the `Eagles In The Sand'.
Book Summary : After a surprise attack by the Partians, Macro and Cato are ordered by Longinus to set out as a forward relief column to help King Vabathus of Palmyra, who has taken refuge in his cities own citadel from the rebel Army of his son, Artaxes. Meanwhile the rest of the Legions slowly march to their aid. Can our two brave heroes once again save the day by marching through the arid desert at arrive on time to defend the King from his infighting siblings ?
To those people that have never read one of Scarrow's Roman novels, I would like to say that these books are more about the everyday man in the Roman army than the famous historical figures that are known so well. They detail the hard life, the harshness and brutality of battle and the feeling of inaptitude of the Generals and upper class of Roman society.
Whilst I once again thoroughly enjoyed this book, I did at times feel that I was reading a re-write - albeit in another location, with new characters - of the previous book `Eagles In The Sand'. An eventful march to a fort/citadel, a stout defence and then attacking the opposition whilst they were sleeping - sound familiar ?
I would also like to say that I felt that Scarrow's writing of Marco and Cato in this novel seemed in places a lot more emotional than in previous books. Indeed Macro dealing with the young orphaned Roman girl in the citadel really pulls at the heart strings, showing a side to the character that has rarely been seen in the prior novels. Though I wonder where the author is going with Cato's new love interest and how that will relate to any new stories.
I will as always look forward to the next novel in this series, and hope that Scarrow takes the opportunity to come up with a new idea for a story ! Once again 5 out of 5, but may be a 4 next time if its another seemingly re-write !!!!
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