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Clash of Empires

Clash of Empires, Book 1
By: Ben Kane
Narrated by: Steven Pacey
Length: 16 hrs and 36 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (171 ratings)

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Summary

When a new empire rises, and old one must fall 

After 16 years of bloody war against Rome, Hannibal Barca is on the verge of defeat. On the plains of Zama, Felix and his brother Antonius stand in the formidable Roman legions, ready to deliver the decisive blow. Victory will establish Rome as the preeminent power in the ancient world. 

But in northern Greece, Philip V of Macedon is determined to restore Alexander the Great's kingdom to its former glory. Charismatic leader, ruthless general, he will use the unforgiving might of his phalanx to unite Greece and to fend off Rome's grasping fingers. 

In Rome, young senator Flamininus is set on becoming one of the Republic's greatest military commanders. With Hannibal on the verge of defeat, the as-yet-unconquered Macedon and Greece are ripe for conquest. Strategist and spymaster, politician and general, Flamininus will stop at nothing to bring Philip V to heel. 

Demetrios slumps on the rowing bench of his Macedonian ship. Thirsty, hungry, burnt by the unforgiving Mediterranean sun, dreams are his only sustenance. Dreams of the perfect thrust of a 15-foot sarissa spear, of the unyielding phalanx wall, of the glory of Macedon. 

The Roman wolf has tasted blood, and it wants more. But the sun of Macedon will not set without a final blaze of glory. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our desktop site.

©2018 Ben Kane (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group Limited

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"Who is the rising star of historical fiction? I say Ben Kane." (Wilbur Smith)

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Kane Is More Than Able!

This was my first time with a Ben Kane novel and I guarantee it won't be my last! This looks set to be a series that will be genuinely epic in nature and scope. The multiple viewpoints cover life at both the top and bottom of both sides in this clash of Ancient powers. A steadfast king faces off against a hugely ambitious Roman politician with both desperate to win at all costs. At the other end of the scale a Macedonian rower dreams of becoming a spearman while two Roman brothers spend most of their time merely trying to survive.

Kane imbues each with their own feelings, hopes and dreams. He puts them all to the test and brings us victory and defeat alike. There are great action scenes including pitched battles, skirmishes and even drunken brawls. In reality it is four separate stories being woven into a much broader overall tapestry. There is a fair amount of thoroughly researched detail concerning the military organisation and tactics of the Macedonians as well as the overall period.

The narration is by the excellent Steven Pacey, the material is possibly not as perfectly suited to him as some of the other books I've heard him doing but being the master he is he delivers it superbly.

Just one point to mention, during the foreword it's strongly recommended that the listener consult a pdf that should have been included. It is said to contain maps that help understand the geography of the story with the nations being so different to what we know today. I contacted the author and he said he was unaware of the issue but he would ask the publisher about it. I also asked Audible who also said that the publisher hadn't provided it. It didn't feel like it spoiled the story for me but I do hope they add it to the package. In the meantime I did find what seemed like serviceable maps online to give me at least a broad overview.

That nit aside this is an excellent start to this series. As it's my first from the author I can't compare it to what he has done before but to me this flew by like a Javelin from a Roman legionary. Sometimes I find there is a certain amount of drag in multiple viewpoint stories but Kane has made each of his lead characters very human and compelling, albeit it in very different ways. Bring on Book 2!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Not for me

It's 95% battle line conflicts and 5% storyline.
It doesn't really go anywhere and none of the characters have much effect on events. It's well written in fairness , which is why I struggled on with it , but the points at which you're interested in what's happening are few and far between.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • mr
  • cambridge, United Kingdom
  • 29-09-19

Far from the best work of Ben Kane

I am a big fan of Ben Kane but the Clash of Empires books I found to be his worst work. I found the books difficult to get through and hold my interest. I didn't care for the Kings motives or even really understand why I should care. The main Characters too were pretty uninteresting and I felt we have done the new recruit joins the army and has a tent mate that hates them many times before. Unlike Ben's other writing I didn't feel like I learnt anything about that time period or the fairly uneventful battles.

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The fight scenes alone make this book a must

This book really demonstrates that Ben Kane is a passionate historian of the real life gritty details of Roman and Hellenic history and in particular the people and culture (the good, the bad and the peculiar). It is that passion and deep subject matter knowledge that enables his books to be as immersive as they are. This one is no exception. He has a particular skill of placing you on a battlefield and in the ranks feeling each spear thrust, loss and elation. His battle scenes are truly superb. The only thing I disliked about the audio book is that some of the accents were, in my view, suspect! Two Roman brothers, one with a neutral accent and the other with a Welsh accent.

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Fantastic

Loved every minute of it
A real gripping tale from both groups
Romans and Greeks
Would recommend it

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OK

I enjoy historic novels and have read many. I found this book didn't grip me in the same was as Iggulden or Scarrow do.

I was an interesting story and some of the characters were likeable, or hateable but, I didn't get absorbed into the characters or the story - it was OK.

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Absolutely gripping historical military fiction

We can never really know what ancient warfare was like, but listening to this book I wondered if I might not be hearing something close to the experience a soldier had in a more barbaric, tragic, but heroic time. Telling his story through both the leaders and common soldiers of the Roman and Macedonian armies, Kane is clearly a fan of ancient military tactics and what the reality might have been, and doesn't shy from describing ancient combat from a personal, detailed point of view. He paints every element of the battles in his book, from the daunting advance into enemy, the devastating artillery fire of the catapults, the choreographed changes in formation, the bitter struggle of discipline vs terror, and indeed every thrust of the Sarissa and crash of the shields. There is plenty of deft characterization, and the greater plot and theme of the Roman republics rise to domination i the Mediterranean, but really I think this is a book about the nitty gritty of ancient warfare. It is detailed but action packed and never feels like lecturing - I loved it.

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Brilliant story, characters of depth and expertly narrated.

I didn’t want it to end! Fantastic story, plots and sub plots and full of real characters. Steven Pacey brought it all to life with his expert narration and characters, one of the best narrators for me. Can’t wait until May 2018 for the second book. Thank you.

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Brilliant dive into a new chapter in history

Great story from both Greek and Roman perspectives as the two sides are drawn to war. Quality of reading is great with good flow and doesn't feel slow in comparison to reading yourself. Great characters both written and spoken in different voices which helps the characters come to life in one's mind.

Can't wait for the next installment and definitely recommend reading or listening and well worth your credit!

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Another Winner

This book covers the period around 200BC following on from the defeat of Hannibal covering the conflict between Macedon, Philip V, Republic of Rome and Greece and what a bloody period that was. It is viewed from both sides, both from the ranks of the army up to the politicians.

I love Ben Kane books, and this is no exception. It is also brought vividly to life by the narrator, Steven Pacey, who is a brilliant narrator. This is well worth anyone's credit.

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  • Tim Howard
  • 30-03-19

Fantastic Reading

I had never listened to a historical book before, nor heard of the author Ben Kane. I stumbled upon Clash of Empires as a result of my search for more books narrated by Steven Pacey. I loved his performance in the First Law series, and wanted to hear more. Clash of Empires turned out to be an incredibly written, dynamic, and enthralling book. The different character perspectives were great; I can’t wait to read more by Ben Kane.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-03-19

Fantastic Read!

I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy all of Ben Kane’s books. Every time I see he has put out a new one I immediately read it. I haven’t been disappointed yet. This was a great story here and I look forward to the second part coming out in May I believe. 10 out of 10 for me.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Jackson Zimmer
  • 23-07-19

In the top best of historical fictions

One of my favorite historical fiction books thus far. There is plenty of good dialogue, which in my opinion really makes a book great. Characters are depicted very well especially King Philip of Macedon. This book gives you a good perspective of how a king must be in times of war. I was also happy with the narration of this book by Steven Pacey, good voice actor.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-07-19

Steven Pacey is amazing. great story.

I got this book after listening to the first law books twice over. after that I couldn't imagine anyone but Steven Pacey telling me a story. this book did not disappoint. I will download the next book right after this review. If you also like history podcasts, I strongly recommend listening to hardcore history - the Persian series I believe is called the king of Kings before listening to this book. it will give you insight to the Greek history that is referenced to by 2 of the main characters in this book. No spoilers here. I am invested in the characters now and cannot wait to read on!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael Cabral
  • 28-01-19

Great fun wonderful performance

After reading the Eagle series I was looking forward to Clash of Empires. At first lush I was unhappy with the change of reader. However, spacey did a great job. I’m enjoying this historical history genre and Ben Kane dose this very well. Great believable characters you just want to gobble it up and I have. The Eagle series was worth a second lister as is this book. Well done Ben 16+ hours of entertainment well worth the credit or the price.