Hunting the Eagles by Ben Kane
|Hunting the Eagles by Ben Kane|
|Category: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sam Tyler|
|Summary: Centurion Tullus returns as part of a Roman army to Germany to avenge the brothers he lost in battle five years earlier. Join him in this detailed look at the life of a legionary on the edges of the Empire.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: March 2016|
|Publisher: Preface Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
They say never poke a sleeping bear as they are likely to wake up and slam you with a paw. The said can be said of the Roman Empire, they were best left alone. Back in AD 09 the Germans managed to get one up on the Romans by ambushing them deep in the forest and wiping out around 15000 men, but it is now AD 14 and the Romans not only want revenge; they also want their Eagles back.
Centurion Tullus was one of a handful of men to survive the bloody battle of AD 09 and as a reward he was demoted and banned from ever entering Rome. He is given a second chance when Germanicus sets off to avenge Rome and needs men who know the battlefields of Germany. Can Tullus and his remaining cohort survive in the wilds of Germany again and restore the pride of their legion by returning the Eagle?
The events of Eagles at War told the story of The Battle of Teutoberg Forest, a bloody defeat for the Romans and although the book came to an end, Roman history did not. Kane has decided to continue the story five years later as Rome was never one to take defeat on the chin. Without the central and compelling battle, Hunting for the Eagles was in danger of losing the tension of the first book. In these terms it is a little flatter as the book contains more a series of skirmishes with the Romans defeating village after village. It is not until the final section that a similar feeling of dread descends on the legions as they are chased through the boggy ground in the hopes of escape.
Even with this final confrontation the sense of scale just cannot match that of War. Thankfully, Kane is aware of this fact and Hunt is almost a different beast – yes it is set in Germany against the same enemy, but this is a different type of war. Kane uses the down time between fights to great effect, the book explores the nature of being a legionary and has some great scenes. The lack of pay and poor living conditions meant that the German-based army balanced on the cusp of rebellion. Kane explores this to great effect and replaces the tension of the first book, with internal conflict in the second.
To bind the book we have Tullus at the centre; he interacts with the real life people of the time and Kane balances fiction well with the facts. He is willing to bend the truth if it aids the story and any interested parties are ably informed of these at the end of the book in the historic notes.
The Eagle series is becoming a very interesting treatise on the ambiguity of war. Kane does not like to pick sides, for every atrocity acted out by the Germans, the Romans have at least one. As a reader it sometimes makes for uncomfortable reading as you do not know who to root for, but it does mean the tension is always peaking. It is only the nature of history itself that prevents this second outing surpassing the first; massive defeats for the Romans only came about rarely, so writing two in two books is never likely to happen.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hunting the Eagles by Ben Kane at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Hunting the Eagles by Ben Kane at Amazon.com.
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