Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Eagle & the Wolves by Simon Scarrow (Book 4)

Author: Simon Scarrow
ISBN # 0755301145
Publisher: Headline
1st Published: 2003
432 pages

In the summer of AD 44, tense undercurrents amongst the tribe of nominally friendly Atrebatans are ready to explode into open revolt. It falls to Centurions Macro and Cato to provide aged ruler Verica with an army. With a scratch force of raw recruits, unversed in the techniques of war, they must find and destroy a cunning opponent. But can they do this whilst surviving the deadly cross-currents of plotters threatening to destroy not only Macro and Cato, but all their comrades serving with the Eagles?

Following on from where When the Eagle Hunts left off, The Eagle & the Wolves sees Cato really come into his own. Although he still defers to the experience of Macro, he’s really starting to be noticed by those above him & this makes for interesting reading in itself.

As usual, I was thrown right into the thick of things from the outset. The battles were bloody; the skirmishes scarily real; the treachery of traitors tantalizingly close to the bone. This series just gets better & better! Scarrow never overplays his hand, giving enough detail to enmesh the reader completely in the story, without going overboard with the gore & military detail. You literally find yourself marching with the men in your mind; mourning the loss of those fallen in battle; celebrating the victories & lamenting the blows with the rest of the legionaries & their allies.

The action is tense & fast-paced, yet it never moves so quickly that any of the character-driven plot is lost – it’s all in perfect balance. This series ranks right up there alongside the likes of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld & Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld – it’s that good!

Rating: 9


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