The Battle of the Lost Eagle saved Hadrian's Wall, but the new Roman governor of Britannia must stamp out the rebellion of the northern tribes or risk losing the province. Rampaging south with sword and flame under the command of their murderous chieftain Calgus, they have stretched his forces to the limit.
For Marcus - now simply Centurion Corvus of the 1st Tungrian cohort - the campaign has become doubly dangerous.
As reinforcements flood into Britannia, he is surrounded by new officers with no reason to protect him from the emperor's henchmen. Death could result from a careless word as easily as from an enemy spear - worse, one of them is close on his heels. While Marcus is training two centuries of Syrian archers to survive a barbarian charge and then take the fight back to their enemy, the new prefect of the 2nd Tungrians has discovered his secret. Only a miracle can save Marcus and the men who protect him from disgrace and death....
Anthony Riches once again brings meticulous research together with brilliant storytelling to capture the authentic feel of what life was like for the Roman Army in a brutal war with a remorseless enemy.
©2010 Anthony Riches (P)2011 Hodder & Stoughton
Having come to this book a day after finishing Harry Sidebottom's "Lion of the Sun", I could only find this lacking. Firstly it simply didn't have enough grounding in its period, the characters attitudes seem to me too modern for Romans. Second, it doesn't give hardly any details of the various Britons that the legions fight, it doesn't create a world for its characters in the way Cornwell, Iggulden and Sidebottom so masterfully do. Finally, the books biggest flaw is its main character, a bland non-entity who is much too perfect, winning every battle so handily that the story simply becomes boring.
scarrow and cornwell are experts in historical fiction, but how this story unfolds with each book has me thirsting for more. Each character is uniquely portrayed, and with the history and warfare comes the rarer warmth, a feeling of compassion towards races of all kinds had me so enthralled that I shared, quite literally, thier laughter and tears. The story is also brilliantly told and brought to life.
Not really. Half of the story consists of detailed descriptions of how the invincible, near-superhero Two-Knives disembowels and decapitates his adversaries. Gets old real quick.
The rest of the story isn't really all that exciting. No interesting plot. Little character development. Starkly unrealistic - the hero is in the thick of battle most of the time, never a scratch. And with no discernible weaknesses.
The narrator is pretty good - my favourite character would be the head of the Syrian archers.
Barely. Considered returning the book for something else several times over.
Great story better than the first book. I will say his discription of battle is up there with Simmon Scarrow and Bernard Crowell.
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