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The Falling Sword

Clash of Empires, Book 2
By: Ben Kane
Narrated by: Steven Pacey
Length: 15 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)

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Summary

The thrilling follow-up to Clash of Empires - centred around the climax of the Roman invasion of Greece - from Ben Kane, the master of historical fiction.  

One empire will rise Flamininus of Rome and Macedonian King Philip's battle-hardened armies are on the march towards their final, climactic encounter.   

The other must burn. The outcome will decide the fate of Greece. But, on opposite sides, legionary Felix and Phalanx soldier Demetrios have more pressing concerns: staying alive long enough to taste glory.... 

The Falling Sword is the gripping follow-up to Clash of Empires from Ben Kane, the master of historical fiction - for fans of Simon Scarrow, Harry Sidebottom, Conn Iggulden and Bernard Cornwell. Ben Kane is the author of nine consecutive Sunday Times top 10 best sellers, with over million copies of his books sold around the world.  

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.

©2019 Ben Kane (P)2019 Orion Publishing Group

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Kane's Raising His Standard!

The second in Ben Kane's 'Clash of Empires' series takes the excellent start he made with the first book and dials everything up another notch. Like a number of writers in this genre he is able to portray great action and what feels like a quite authentic insight into the lives of both the foot soldiers and the generals. And that's what sets this series aside from many of these others. Kane has created a big set of characters and we live with them in the heart of the Macedonian phalanxes with Demetrius and his comrades and we get to stand shoulder to shoulder in the iron-hard lines of the Roman legions with Felix and Antonius. The battles are visceral and bloodthirsty and so are the lives that these doughty foot soldiers lead with all the petty intrigues associated with the rank and file. What's more we see the other end of the scale, Prince Philip, a charismatic but oftentimes ruthless hero king plagued with concerns for his nation and those around him. Set against him is the gloriously ambitious and constantly scheming Roman politician / general Flamiminus who weaves an ever more complex web of politics and intrigue as he tries to get his name into the history books.

Of course if you have an audiobook that requires the portrayal of everything thing from the lowest of cut throats to the haughtiest Roman senator stopping at pretty much all stations in between then there aren't many better skilled at making the leap between arrogant royalty and snivelling toady than Steven Pacey. He's one of my favourite narrators and as this book progressed it became clearer all the time that he is actually the perfect fit for it. And it isn't just his wide-ranging delivery that makes the characterisation here seem quite like Joe Abercrombie's First Law series. It might sound odd to compare historical fiction with a fantasy series but much of the writing is similar between the two . . . in a very good way!

All of this wouldn't be enough without a great storyline and here Kane manages to deliver as well. As the battles unfold, the politics unravel and the petty squabbles of the foot soldiers escalate all of the four story arcs march under the greater set of events. Within this there are some genuinely touching moments but you should note Macedon and its surrounds were deadly places for soldiers and particularly in the later stages there are some genuinely eye-popping moments. I found myself on a couple of occasions thinking, 'did that really happen?' in genuine shock. Now that, is the mark of a good story.

8 people found this helpful

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not every hero's story has a happy ending ..

at first I didn't like the the storyline, however I have to admit it started to grow on untill I found myself liking it ...

1 person found this helpful

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fantastic story and historical authenticity

Steven Pacey's performance is unparalleled in the many Audio books I've listened to. His accents and storytelling skill brought this already brilliant piece of historical fiction to life.

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Great story, great characters.

Ben Kane writes books that are compelling, informative and entertaining. The characters he creates transport you back in time to witness the historic events unfolding. Ben's attention to the details of life at the time makes reading his books an immersive experience. The Falling Sword is another great Ben Kane book that I cannot recommend highly enough.

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very good

Another fine addition to tales by BK. Would recommend reading the prequel a forehand. Hopefully, a sequel to follow.

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Another Ben Kane hit

Really heats up in this second part, the kind of characters and battles expected from Mr Kane! Also, a little cameo appearance makes this a must for any Ben Kane fan !

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

rushed ending

the first book was quite entertaining, BUT this one felt rushed and very thoughtless.
I will read some more by Ben but these are my first

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I WANT MORE!!!!

brilliant audio book wish there was a 3rd one as to follow on some of the characters stories

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A brilliant sequel

I throughly enjoyed the first book and the second was even better! A quality story with a fantastically diverse and engaging narrator and about a period in early Rome’s rise which I find most interesting. A must listen!

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  • allen garner
  • 23-01-20

Steven Pacey still the best

Great historical fiction story telling. Loved the characters from the first Clash of Empires and really enjoyed this second offering, but seriously, I came here for Steven Pacey. He would make reading law review interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • BVerité
  • 01-06-20

Good book, but I lost interest.

I love this writer and the way he creates so many unforgettable, fascinating characters. But I couldn’t keep my attention with this book. Maybe it’s my fault. I will have to try again one day.

Still going to read more Ben Kane. Planning to read the Eagles trilogy very soon. Kane has a fantastic writing style. Narrator very good.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-06-20

Drama and Accuracy

This series is a perfect blend of historical accuracy and high military drama. Its only major shortcoming is the lack of any well-developed female characters, but I'm ready to blame that on their absence in source material, rather than on the author. Narration is very well done, too--the complexity of every character is well expressed in tone and accent. If you're an amateur military historian with a penchant for the classical period like me, this is the series for you. Gimme more, Kane!

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  • Jake
  • 24-10-19

A perfect continuation

Not as much action as the first. Lots of major things happen. These characters are so well written. I thoroughly enjoyed both books. I teamed up at certain points while at work.

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  • Jackson Zimmer
  • 27-07-19

Excellent historical fiction

Great portrayal of historical characters and if you like battles this book has plenty of them with vivid detail. Steven Pacey does a great job of narrating. Definitely would recommend.

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  • Michael Cabral
  • 11-07-19

Fast paced exciting story!

I have spent the last few years reading history’s of Rome. I wanted to take a break from that interest. Still loving Roman History I thought that might explore historical novels. Wow did I catch the bug. Ben Kane hits the sweet spot for me. Steven Pacey is very good at reading . . . a performance really. I really enjoyed the series and I’m happy to recommend all of Mr. Kane’s work.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-07-19

great book, highly recommend.

I bought the first book not knowing what I was getting into (not being familiar with the author) and by the end, I was hooked. The author does a great job of taking you to these places while also keeping the story moving at a good pace. I am interested in these characters and have appreciated how they have developed. I have really come to like Ben Kane's writing and will continue to listen to more of his books!

Steven Pacey is amazing, as always. Bringing books from the realm of reading into storytelling is a challenging skill and he is a true master. If you listen to the sample reading of books multiple times, really trying to Judge if you can listen to that narrator (like me), you can never go wrong if read by Pacey.

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  • S. Reynolds
  • 25-06-19

Well written follow up to Clash of Empires

I enjoyed the story line and the battle scenes. The author does a nice job of introducing the characters and developing them. You begin to look forward to reading how each character progresses in the story.

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  • Dusty Stetson
  • 27-05-19

Loved it!

As with the first book, this audio book had me on the edge of my seat much of the time. Story and performance couldn't have been better, bringing me right there in time and place.

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  • Jewell
  • 09-10-19

I returned this one, could not stand it.

I bought this based on the good reviews but I just got so irritated with it I returned it. In brief my issues are 1) a simple ( not in a good way) narrative. 2) whole stretches of narrative that I could not understand what the point was. 3) simple, and incorrect narrative of an attack on a defended wall.
A possibly unfair summary: compared to Sidebottoms novels, which are not perfect, this is a children’s book.