17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
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...
Published on Feb. 13 2006 by Ignite
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice brisk read, compares favorably with Cornwell
If you like military fiction in any age, and prefer that it moves quickly, has bloody action and a little conspiracy and intrigue on the side, then Simon Scarrow writes for you. Not profound in any sense, but if you want entertainment that's reasonably intelligent, this book makes the grade. A rookie aristocrat Roman gets started a rank above what he should be, but turns...
Published on Oct. 13 2011 by Rodge
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!,
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great first title,
I found the plot good for a first title and though some of the story seems a little contrived occasionally, I thought it a good start for a new series.
Looking forward to more in the next book, The Eagle's Conquest.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read,
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice brisk read, compares favorably with Cornwell,
This review is from: Under the Eagle (Paperback)If you like military fiction in any age, and prefer that it moves quickly, has bloody action and a little conspiracy and intrigue on the side, then Simon Scarrow writes for you. Not profound in any sense, but if you want entertainment that's reasonably intelligent, this book makes the grade. A rookie aristocrat Roman gets started a rank above what he should be, but turns out, unsurprisingly, to be quite skilled and bullet-proof. He gets into trouble wandering in Britain looking for money. Historic Roman figures like Vespasian and Vitellius play a significant role in this story.
5.0 out of 5 stars A very enjoyable and exciting read,
This review is from: Under the Eagle (Paperback)This a well researched book with a lot off action through out the book. It involves 2 main characters, 1 is centurian who has been in the army for a while and the other is young lad who has just been made optio (his assistant) to the annoance of his fellow soliders and is a bit wet behind the ears. The book is based around the build up to and roman invasion off britain itself. It involves fictional characters like the 2 main characters as well as some real life characters which are mainly the leaders. Simon Scarrow brings the characters to life and makes them relistic as well as making the book a very enjoyable and exciting read. I found this a good bed time read, as in the chapters are a nice length to just pick up and put down at anytime. Not that I really wanted to put it down because I really enjoyed it and I'm really looking forward to reading the rest in the series.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical fiction!,
This review is from: Under the Eagle (Paperback)Lets just say the first few pages hooked me, and I wound up buying ALL of the sequels within the week. Best historical fiction writer that I have read since Steven Pressfield!
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining, quick read,
By A Customer
This review is from: Under the Eagle (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. The most jarring fault of Scarrow is having his Roman soldiers talk just like modern-day Brits. It's extremely silly when you come across this dialogue and really helps ruin the historical atmosphere. (In my life I have taken five years of Latin and I never learned the Latin equivilents of "wanker," "bloody," or "bugger.")
Also, Scarrow seems to get bored with describing the day to day lives of 1st century legionnaires and thus moves the plot into one of political intrigue. It would have been nice to get a more detailed look at life in a Roman century- like what kind of men made up the Roman army. However, with a few weakly drawn exceptions, the men of the 6th Century, 4th Cohort are mostly nameless figures whose only purpose is to fill out the casuality rolls.
The faults of this novel are glaring, but I still finished it in a day. So there is definetely something here that is worth checking out if you like historical fiction. I thought Scarrow did a great job of introducing characters and plot strings that really make one want to continue reading. I was pulled into this novel early on. It is also well-plotted and the historical setting is very interesting. So if you're looking for a fun, quick read of historical fiction then by all means check out "Under the Eagle."
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for a first novel,
This review is from: Under the Eagle: A Tale of Military Adventure and Reckless Heroism with the Roman Legions (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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping Stuff!,
This review is from: Under the Eagle: A Tale of Military Adventure and Reckless Heroism with the Roman Legions (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.*****.
5.0 out of 5 stars Bold and bloody debut by a major new talent,
This review is from: Under the Eagle: A Tale of Military Adventure and Reckless Heroism with the Roman Legions (Hardcover)Bought this to read on vacation. Devoured it in two days and am greatly looking forward to reading more by this author. It's an unbelievably pacy read, with great action sequences and full blooded flesh and blood characters. Young Cato, and his mentor Macro, are the most realistic duo I've come across in adventure fiction over the last ten years. It's been a long time since I've read a historical action novel with characters I so totally believed in.
If you like this you might want to try GATES OF FIRE. Does the same thing for the Spartans that Scarrow does for the Roman legions.
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Under the Eagle by Simon Scarrow (Paperback - Aug. 7 2008)
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