IF YOU DON'T KNOW SIMON SCARROW, YOU DON'T KNOW ROME!
WHEN THE EAGLE HUNTS is the compelling third novel in Simon Scarrow's bestselling Eagles of the Empire series. For fans of Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden. 'Scarrow's [novels] rank with the best' Independent
Britannia, AD 44. Cato, a thoughtful junior officer in the Roman army, and his commanding centurion, Macro, are simply pawns in Rome's lust to conquer Britain. During the freezing winter, the two men and their legion fight the native savages in hand-to-hand battles that haunt Cato for days after.
But in a place full of enemies, the most vicious are the Druids of the Dark Moon; brutal, merciless men who have captured the wife and children of General Plautius himself.
So Macro and Cato are given a mission: to travel deep into enemy territory and recover the hostages. If they fail, the fate of the Roman army may just hang in the balance...
Scarrow's third historical (Under the Eagle; The Eagle's Conquest) continues to chart the first-century Roman invasion of ancient Britain, as it records skirmish by skirmish the exploits of Centurion Macro, who commands the Sixth Century of the Fourth Cohort of the Second Roman Legion, and his optio (junior officer), Cato. In the early winter of A.D. 44, a supply vessel carrying the wife and two children of General Plautius is shipwrecked off the British coast. The general's family with Prefect Valerius Maxentius, their official escort is taken prisoner by the bloodthirsty Druids of the Dark Moon. A short time later, Maxentius, accompanied by a Druid warrior, approaches the Roman encampment and delivers an ultimatum: unless the Romans release five Druid prisoners, the general's family will be burned alive. In case anyone doubted his seriousness, the Druid summarily beheads Maxentius. Following the Fourth Cohort's great losses fighting its way through a horde of Britons, Plautius dispatches Macro and Cato to rescue his family. Macro and Cato's difficult undertaking is further complicated when their two captive guides turn out to be Macro's former girlfriend and her fianc , a fearsome Druid magician. Despite Scarrow's attempt to invest his characters with personality, they come across as cardboard cutouts, and their anachronistic dialogue is off-putting. But his settings are well described and, however predictable, the plotting is strong, with much of the action reminiscent of Bernard Cornwell's. Albeit a bit slight and sporadic, Scarrow's novel demonstrates improvement in crafting, which bodes well for the expected sequel.