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Under the Eagle: A Tale of Military Adventure and Reckless Heroism with the Roman Legions Paperback – December 1, 2002


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Frequently Bought Together

Under the Eagle: A Tale of Military Adventure and Reckless Heroism with the Roman Legions + The Eagle's Conquest: A Novel of the Roman Army + When the Eagle Hunts (Eagle Series)
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Product Details

  • Series: Eagle
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin (December 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780312304249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312304249
  • ASIN: 0312304242
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Readers whose appetite for ancient history has been whetted by the film Gladiator will devour this spectacular tale of intrigue, adventure, and glory in the Roman legions. When Quintus Licinius Cato, a formerly pampered imperial slave, is forced to join the army, the other members of the Second Legion doubt he will be able to adapt to their harsh lifestyle. Proving himself to Centurion Lucius Cornelius Macro in the heart of battle against the Germans, Cato earns both his freedom and the respect of his commander. Landing in Britain as part of an expeditionary force, Cato and Macro attempt to foil a traitorous plot involving unbridled political ambitions and a concealed cache of gold. This enthralling historical drama is distinguished by its meticulously detailed portrayal of life in the mighty Roman army. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...spectacular tale of intrigue, adventure, and glory in the Roman legions ... This enthralling historical drama is distinguished by its meticulously detailed portrayal of life in the mighty Roman army."
--Booklist
 
"A warmly welcome sequel looks assured."
--Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

I will eagerly look forward to reading the next book in this series.
A. ARDUSSI
Also, the language used is sprinkled just enough with contemporary British jargon to make one wonder just what century you are in.
Gauffroi
Simon Scarrow brings the characters to life and makes them relistic as well as making the book a very enjoyable and exciting read.
Ben Nicholson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 71 people found the following review helpful By E.S. Kraay on May 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a cross between comic book action and a mystery. Simon Scarrow demonstrated his knowledge of the Roman legion from start to finish, and I felt educated in that regard when I finished. Nonetheless, the action and dialogue to a degree had a "comic book" feel about them. That's okay and it made for fast, light reading, but the prose was far short and less satisfying than one might find in other books in the genre. Scarrow builds a mystery filled with political intrigue around his historical focus. This book is not about the Roman conquest of Britain; don't be misled. The actual crossing occurs late in the book and the real action prior to that event (and a good piece of action)occurs early in the novel in Germany. Throughout the book, I reminisced to younger days when I read "Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos" and "Sgt. Rock and Easy Company" comics. I can still enjoy them, but I was looking for more with this book.
If you are looking for a fast read with good action when it happens combined with an overlay of mystery and political intrigue, you can enjoy this book. If you are looking for the depth of a "Tides of War," you won't find it here.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 22, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is a ripping yarn, firmly in the tradition of Bernard Cornwell's "Sharpe" novels, set around the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD. I found the story gripped me, held my interest to the end and left me wanting more. The action was well-paced and the central characters were well-drawn. On the down side, some of the minor characters were a bit 2 dimensional (and, on the historical-accuracy front, I'm not sure the Belgae of southeast Britain rode "shod" horses). Nevertheless, I enjoyed this book and look forward to the further adventures of Cato, Macro and the rest!
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Edward Alexander Gerster VINE VOICE on November 16, 2001
Format: Hardcover
In 42 AD Claudius is Emperor, the Germans have been mostly subdued and Rome has the isle of Britain set as the next territory to be aquired. It has been nearly a century since Julius Caesar made his unsuccessful foray to subdue the Britons, and Claudius needs this success to assure his rule. Titus Flavius Sabinus Vespasian, as Augusta and legate of the Second Legion, is to play a major role in the conquering of this new province.

Simon Scarrow does a wonderful job bringing history to life through the exploits of new recruit and optio Quintus Licinius Cato--and his centurion, Lucius Cornelius Macro. These two fictional characters weave a credible story by their interaction with fictionalized versions of Vitellius, Vespasian and his wife Flavia, and Narcissus--freedman, secretary and confidant of the Emperor Claudius.

I look forward to reading further novels by this author as they make their way into American publication, and highly recommend this work of fiction for anyone with interest in this part of history. You might also enjoy the "Roma Sub Rosa" series by Steven Saylor and the "SPQR" series by John Maddox Roberts.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Steven on January 31, 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the big problems in following any series is waiting for the author to get the next novel out. Having read Vagabond I was at a bit of a loose end until I picked up Scarrow's first novel, having browsed these reviews. I'll be honest, while most people are very flattering the negative reviews did put me off a bit, but being something of a Roman nut I thought I'd give it a go. Lucky I did. Scarrow is a first rate writer who can describe a scene as if you were there yourself. Especially when he moves into action sequences where no-one I have ever read can beat him. The characters are wonderfully rounded and play off each other very well; the dialogue flows like the real thing and does not feel stilted in any way. At first, I'll admit to being a little shocked by the graphic use of language and harshness of Roman army life, but then again the heroes are soldiers, not preachers and the immediacy of their language is a real tonic.
One particular aspect that I found impressive, was Scarrow's grasp of the position of the army on the political scene. They were not just there to fight the enemy, the legions decided who would be emperor, and the emperors knew it. Thus the intrigue of the sub-plot fleshes out the representation of life in the Roman army and made this a first rate page-turner.
I'm already reading the second book, The Eagle's Conquest, and I have so say it is even better than this novel; and that, my friends is no small achievement. I have to wonder about the complaints by other reviewers. Scarrow is not out to win a Pulitzer (or whatever they have in the UK). He is writing action adventure, and he does it 'bloody' well. Frankly I'd rather read this kind of book than any of the posturing 'literary' garbage that imposes itself on you from the shelves of bookstores. So ignore the gripes of some of the other reviewers and treat yourself to the huge pleasure of a wonderful new series of novels.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Elliott Campbell on June 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a teenager I devoured historical military action novels, like the Sharpe series by Bernard Cornwell and the Napoleonic naval fiction of Alexander Kent and Dudley Pope. They had action, they had flair and they harked back to the cinema age of good old fashioned daring do and spectacle.
"Under the Eagle" does not quite reach the height of its potential, mostly because it is obviously the first in a series of novels. Its action is rather episodic and this detracts from the over-all story Scarrow is trying to set up. It would have been better to have begun the series with a story that could be writ large as the novels appear. Instead, what we have is a stuttering start that has one action set piece that dominates the first two thirds of the novel and a political sub-plot that sits a little awkwardly. The aim of the major set piece is apparent, drawing out the personalities and abilities of the main characters, Cato and Macro. However, it simply takes too long and the story begins to lose impetus.
Despite these criticisms, I did actually enjoy this novel. It was a good exciting read, and Scarrow has a tremendous talent at describing classical battle with grit and genuine excitement. The workings of a Roman Legion are nicely done, as the reader is not overwhelmed with information and the characters are well presented.
Another advantage to this novel is the fact that it has been written in modern vernacular. This makes it feel contemporary, but also more real. The Roman soldiers speak as soldiers, and not having them speak in quasi-Latin is a good move by the author.
Obviously Scarrow hopes Macro and Cato will march alongside Sharpe and Harper, Aubrey and Maturin et al in the ranks of literary military duos, but at this stage it is too early to say if these two will reach such lofty company.
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