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Under the Eagle Paperback – Apr 5 2001

24 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (April 5 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747266298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747266297
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 17.8 x 2.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #485,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


'Everyone has been raving about the film GLADIATOR, but Cato's story is its equal in bloody cut and thrust and has the bonus of conspiracy and intrigue to give it extra flavour' -- Northern Echo

About the Author

Simon Scarrow is a former teacher who now devotes himself to writing full time. He lives outside Norwich with his family.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ignite on Feb. 13 2006
Format: Paperback
As an avid historical fiction fan, I am always looking for new authors to check out. I checked this one out mainly due to the praise that Bernard Cornwell heaped on it, and I was not dissapointed. In a nutshell, this is the start of a series, centering around the characters Macro and Cato. Loads of action, little doses of humour, and well developed characters (for this type of fiction) abound. Reads very much like one of Bernard Cornwell's Sharpe novels, set in Roman times. Highly reccomended, I have since ordered all of the sequels.
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By A Customer on Jan. 22 2004
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed reading "Under the Eagle." The plot and character development held my interest enough to keep me reading. It's a quick read and I was able to finish it in day. It kept me turning the page and interested to find out what would happen next. That pretty much fills my criterion of an entertaining read and that's all I expected from it. I didn't start reading it with the belief that it would rival Pressfield's "Gates of Fire" or Chiavetone's "A Road We Do Not Know" as a modern classic of military historical fiction and it most certainly did not.
"Under the Eagle" is an attempt to give the reader a "boots on the ground" view of the Roman army in the 1st Century AD by following the lives and adventures of two junior officers in the 2nd Legion- a veteran, battle-hardened centurion, Macro, and a fresh-faced, kid recruit, Cato, who because of connections is promoted to Macro's optio or second-in-command. It's a neat premise- what was it like to live and fight in a Roman Legion. However, Scarrow was only partly successful in creating this premise into a compelling work of historical fiction.
Scarrow obviously did some heavy historical research to capture the locations and political atmosphere of the era. However, one also gets the idea that Scarrow has watched too many war movies and unfortunately fell back on those memories to fill his novel with cliches and anachronistic dialogue. The recruit training parts are something out of "Full Metal Jacket" and the relationship between Macro/Cato is similar to the one between John Wayne and John Agar had in "The Sands of Iwo Jima"- a soft, rich kid grows up and becomes a leader under the tutelage of a battle-hardened vet.
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Format: Hardcover
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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By Tony Watson on May 16 2002
Format: Hardcover
Like a welcome pint after a long hard day, this just slips down and you don't want it to stop.
This is gripping stuff - 200 pages just flashed by in a welter of action - another cup of tea, then back into the thick of it, the latter part spiced with a touch of amour, a little subtle humour and a complex web of intrigue ... I couldn't put this down.
By using modern vernacular Mr.Scarrow avoids the trap of having the characters speak in a pseudo olde-worlde style - if not done properly it descends into farce ... at first it seems out of place, then is forgotten as the pace of the plot consumes everything else.
As might be expected from a History major, the tale is based on actual events leading to the invasion of Britain. Cato and Macro seem an ill-suited pair initially, but now seem destined for the same sort of partnership as Aubrey/Maturin - the illiterate man of action teamed with the young intellectual, who is not afraid of action either.
I finished this in 2 sittings - there HAS to be a sequel - a damned fine read.*****.
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Format: Hardcover
I discovered this book via Amazon, which proves the value of the company's approach to its customers once again. Under The Eagle cover the events leading up to the Claudian invasion of ancient Britain....This is something I'm extremely pleased by. If the rest of the series matches the quality of this first novel then fans of historical fiction around the world are in for a rare treat. Not only is the story pacy and exciting, in a way that really does make you want to turn the pages, Scarrow manages to write in a witty and wonderfully descriptive way. The sense of setting is quite palpable, no more so than in the midst of battle when the fear and exhaustion are experienced almost at first hand by the reader. The lead characters, tough centurion Macro, raw recruit Cato and ambitious legate Vespasian are all finely drawn and totally credible. Scarrow has a good ear for dialogue, which feels natural and parallels the rhythms of normal speech nicely. Exposition is unobtrusive and we don't get that laboured introduction to the ancient world to which other writing about this period is alarming prone. The plotting is excellent and makes a second reading a pleasure.
If there is a weakness in this wonderful book, it is that it has set up a level of expectation for the subsequent novels that I fear will not be justified. I've ordered the sequel direct from and am looking forward to reading it with a little bit of trepidation as a result....
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