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The Eagle and the Wolves - Simon Scarrow

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Author: Simon Scarrow / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 13 November 2008 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Headline Publishing Group / Title: The Eagle and the Wolves / ISBN 13: 9780755349982 / ISBN 10: 0755349982 / Alternative EAN: 9780755301140

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      07.03.2010 20:09
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      The romans protect the capital Cavella

      As the roman conquest of britain continues , the Atrebatan tribe has become a useful allie in the fight against Caratacus and his warriors. New Centurion Cato and Macro have been given the task to create a crack sqaud out of the tribesman in order to defend the supply wagons which are continually destroyed by the Durotriagns and Caratacus. However , their leader ( King Verica ) is under threat of revolt as the decison to form an alliance with the invaders splits his followers, thos who think he has sold his country and those who think that this is their salvation.

      The political storyline of this book fills it with treachery , double crossing and a thrilling aspect as the two new cohorts ( Wolves and Boars ) are also split in their thoughts. As these men fight together not only will they have to watch the enemy, but also those around them who want to revolt and destroy everything the romans fight for.

      The first quarter of the book shows the creation of the groups , trained by Cato and Macro you can't help but see a roman portrayel of police academy. Although this beggining is light hearted and easing you into the book , you begin to see the political undercurrent that divides the men . This is very exciting to read and means the action across the pages is non-stop.

      There are still the fights too , filled with detail and suspense . The book has one skirmish , a fight protecting the supply wagon. As well as an epic stand at the Atrebatan capital Cavella which entails the 2 cohorts holding the town against Caratacuses army.

      Considering this is the 4th book in the series , the writing is still fresh , exciting and consistent in its output.

      Overall the book is still as exciting as the first one, It causes you to tear through the pages to find out what happens , their are regular chapters but you wont notice this. The book is 430 pages and is available on Amazon for £3.99

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      11.08.2009 17:50
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      Book 4 and the series is going strong

      The filler track is an integral part of any music album. They usually start to appear on a band's second release as their debut was packed with 5 years worth of sweat and tears - album 2 is usually 6 months of cocaine and nonsense. Therefore, to pad around the one or two decent singles the band uses filler tracks, the sort of song that is usually found on a B Side. The concept of the filler song can also be used in long running book series. Bernard Cornwell completed the Sharpe series years ago and now makes money adding filler novels into the cracks of Sharpe's life he missed out first time around. New authors who are inspired by Cornwell need not fall into this trap and instead learn from the mistakes of others and stretch out the lives of their characters for as long as possible. This means that some of the books will not have much advancement in terms of characterisation of overall story. Can Simon Scarrow successfully write a filler novel that still entertains?

      Book four of Simon Scarrow's Marco and Cato series have the Romans entrenched deeply into the British Isles. They have become so successful that their supply routes are under threat as their stretched army cannot protect them from the new Guerrilla tactics of the Brits. Their only hope is with a small city that they have with an allied king. Unfortunately, this king is old and not in the best of health, they must protect him to keep the alliance alive. Marco and Cato are sent to train some of the barbarian troops in the art of Roman warfare. However, there is as much fighting to be done for the hearts and minds of the British as there is on the battlefield. In what at first appears to be Marco and Cato's easiest mission the entire future of the Roman army in Britain could rest.

      There is no mistaking the fact that 'The Eagle and the Wolves' feels like a filler novel in the series. We were introduced to Boudicca in an earlier book, but here she is nowhere to seen and we have no grumblings about her inevitable uprising. Instead, the book concentrates on a smaller skirmish that could have been overlooked as not having the same impact on history as Boudicca had. However, to do this would have been a shame as Scarrow's filler is still an excellent quality read.

      Scarrow has the habit of delicately balancing history, politics and warfare in his books. The Roman army not only fought better than anyone else, but they were also burdened with more bureaucracy. I am not particularly interested in the day to day politics of Rome and its allies and when Scarrow goes into detail on the matter I thought I might grow bored. Luckily then that Scarrow never allows this by continuously interjecting some of the best action sequences in modern historic fiction. The first half of the book does descend slightly too much into the mundane, but the second half easily makes up for it with a rolling battle that last over 100 pages. By Book 4 Scarrow has finally captured the perfect balance of detail, historic accuracy and entertainment. You get the feeling that the book is well researched and Scarrow educates as he entertains, but the various gruesome snippets do place the book solidly in the entertainment spectrum of fiction.

      As a slight filler novel there is little advancement in terms of character, but Cato does learn to become a Centurion and lead men. This will be vital in future books when the Roman army will go up against far more dangerous foe than in this book. With the various officers changing from book to book I am starting to become a little confused as to who is an enemy of Cato and who is a friend? I fear that if various different pompous senator types keep popping up that Scarrow will begin to rely on caricature and stereotypes to fill out the smaller roles. This would be a sad trap for him to fall into.

      I read the likes of Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell because they are historically accurate, but also fun to read. It is clear by 'The Eagle and the Wolves' that Scarrow deserves to be in this rich company because he has learned from their mistakes and made a series his own from beginning to end. This is book 4 is a series were I feel the overall stroy arc has been mapped out from day 1. By pre planning Scarrow is able to make sure that a 'filler' novel like this does not feel lazy or complacent. The various pitched battles alone, that are all fresh in their own way, are enough for me to recommend this book.

      Author: Simon Scarrow
      Year: 2003
      Price: amazon uk - £5.99
      play.com - £5.99

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