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Under the Eagle

Eagles of the Empire, Book 1
Narrated by: David Thorpe
Series: Eagles of the Empire, Book 1
Length: 12 hrs and 5 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (994 ratings)

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Summary

If you don't know Simon Scarrow, you don't know Rome!

Under the Eagle is the gripping first novel in Simon Scarrow's best-selling Eagles of the Empire series. A must-read for fans of Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden.

AD 42, Germany. Tough, brutal and unforgiving. That's how new recruit Cato is finding life in the Roman Second Legion. He may have contacts in high places, but he could really use a friend amongst his fellow soldiers right now. Cato has been promoted above his comrades at the order of the Emperor and is deeply resented by the other men. But he quickly earns the respect of his Centurion, Macro, a battle-hardened veteran as rough and ready as Cato is quick-witted and well-educated. They are poles apart, but soon realise they have a lot to learn from one another.

On a campaign to Britannia - a land of utter barbarity - an enduring friendship begins. But as they undertake a special mission to thwart a conspiracy against the Emperor they rapidly find themselves in a desperate fight to survive....

©2001 Simon Scarrow (P)2013 Headline Publishing Group Ltd.

Critic reviews

"I don't need this sort of competition." (Bernard Cornwell)

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Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great listen the start of a long journey

Mentioned by others the only minor gripe, and it is minor is how the narrator vocalises the name of Cato.

The story is a toe in the water for the great interweaved tale of the Roman Empire in the 1st Century as seen by two chalk and cheese characters thrown together by fate and circumstance.

Historically it's key moments are placed correctly it's the picture that gets painted as interpreted by our main protagonists that brings the story to life.

Having read all of the series as soon they are published it's now a new treat to listen to the books whilst commuting . The story is the same, the experience different the pleasure meeting again our two rough legionaries enhanced by our narrators interpretation, even if he can't get KAY-TOE correct.

Overall it's like having the original album on vinyl and now having gone and got the CD. I'm keeping the books and I do occasionally reread this is a new way to enjoy and old favourite.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

A Brilliant Series - now complete

To me this is an excellent series of books. Simon Scarrow produces two well-developed "chalk and cheese" main characters that somehow develop an excellent chemistry as brothers in arms. Plenty of action mixed with plenty of character development is what I like in my books and here we get both aplenty. The narration is lively and positive so moves the story forwards well.

Update: The only thing that irritated me (at the time of writing) was that quite a few of the books are currently not available on audible UK at least and had been the case for a while but now the full series (to date) is available! Hurrah!

I'm stuck waiting for book four. This is such a good series I am determined to do them justice by listening in order.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Roman squaddies on tour.

Where does Under the Eagle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I've listened to a lot of audiobooks set in the Roman era including Lindsey Davies (Marcus Dideus Falco) and the SPQR series. If you enjoyed those, you'll probably like these. The author does a good job of inserting his characters and their story into known historical settings.

What did you like best about this story?

The main characters are likeable and I quickly became interested in their situation. The 'banter' between the soldiers is amusing, particularly Macro and his bad language. The drill sergeant character Bestio is funny as well.

What does David Thorpe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

David Thorpe is a good narrator. He has a range of accents to bring the characters to life, and on the whole he does this very well - often with comic effect. His narration doesn't irritate or intrude, he is easy to listen to.

Any additional comments?

This was a very good audiobook if you enjoy the Roman setting and don't mind the odd expletive. The story was well paced and the characters were likeable. I enjoyed it so much, I ordered the next two in the series and immediately listened to them.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic read had me hooked from the start

An excellent story and impressive writing had me fully immersed in the story and gripped in the tense action and intrigue moments within the book. furthermore I have now purchased more books in the series as this book and the 5 star standard continues through the series, A MUST READ/LISTEN!

Further notes the narration is of an equally impressive standard

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Let down a bit by the narrator

If you could sum up Under the Eagle in three words, what would they be?

Rattling good story

What three words best describe David Thorpe’s performance?

Casual, chatty, undramatic

Any additional comments?

This the first in the 'Eagles' series, and as you'd expect the story and language isn't as polished as after Mr Scarrow gets a few under his belt and finds his stride. However, it is an entertaining story that rattles along nicely. Not quite 'Sharpe in sandals', but nearly.Unfortunately, the narrator has a chatty, casual style that doesn't vary in even the most dramatic moments, which takes the edge off somewhat. It is very easy on the ear, but just doesn't suit the words he is saying. However, I did get used to this after a few hours and move past it, except his pronounciation of 'Cato' as 'Car-to', and even, I'm certain, 'Carter' a few times. This goes against how I (and others I know) have always pronounced it, and how it is pronounced in the later books by other narrators, and never ceased to grate a bit.

13 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good but not credible in parts

Enjoyed this but there were a few turn of events too many to be credible. Still enjoyable. Worth a read.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Finally

Would you listen to Under the Eagle again? Why?

I was really excited to see that Scarrow's early Macro & Cato books were finally being released as an audio version. The more recent books have had a couple of different but excellent narrators who capture the voices of the leads excellently. It's always difficult when a series has a new reader but David Thorpe handles the gruff voice of Macro and the younger Cato well. My only gripe, which is small but for me really off putting is his pronunciation of Cato. I have always read it, as previous narrators have as Kay to. Thorpe calls him Car to. For someone new to the series this is irrelevant. But after over a dozen books I just can't think of him this way. I wonder how Scarrow pronounces his name?

This aside it's a great first story with humour and fast paced gritty action that follows our two heroes across Britain in search of Caesar's lost treasure. Great fun and worth a listen.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Superb

Bloody brilliant and David Thorpe is excellent as usual, can't wait to get stuck into the next

2 people found this helpful

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enthralling tale. brilliantly put together.

I have been looking for a gripping period story and this is absorbing all the way through.
Well researched, excellently written.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A great blend of fact and fiction

This was a very good story narrated well. Scarrow developed strong characters and I am looking forward to listening to the next installment. Real praise should also be given to David Thorpe whose voices made the story more memorable.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Marie
  • 25-10-13

Enjoyable Roman Military Mystery

Simon Scarrow is a new author for me. I enjoyed the first volume of his Macro and Cato series even though I felt something was missing but I can't actually put a finger on what. Maybe it was the lack of a conclusion, the ending being a setup for the next book, which is not available on Audible. It doesn't make sense to go on to Book 3 when there would be huge gaps in the major storyline.

That said, Macro the Centurion and Cato the Optimo are an appealing duo. I learned a great deal about the structure of the Roman military and Roman politics. The battle scenes are well orchestrated and are violent without being ghoulish. There are a few too many F-bombs considering the word didn't exist at the time but they don't feel inappropriate for the military setting.

David Thorpe is the wonder narrator. He captures each character perfectly.

I won't continue with this series until Book 2 is available.

23 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Jean
  • 31-01-16

Enthralling Historical Drama

This historical fiction explores life as a soldier in the Second Legion of the Roman Army stationed in German in 42 A.C.E. It is a familiar theme of an experienced centurion (sergeant) Macro taking a teenaged recruit named Quintus Licinius Cato, an educated freedman, who was appointed by Emperor Claudius to a rank he has no knowledge or experience to hold. Cato must grow up quickly to survive. While the story unfolds Scarrow provides a great deal of information about the Roman Army and its campaigns. This first novel in the series is first set in Germany then the Second Legion is part of the campaign of the conquest of Britain. Scarrow provides the reader with a view of the everyday life of an average Roman soldier.

Scarrow has a good understanding of the genre and of ancient Rome. The characters are interesting and the plot twist and turns with lots of suspense. Scarrow does a decent job with the battle scenes. The book is a fun adventure with some mystery and political intrigue tossed in. David Thorpe does a good job narrating the book.

8 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A. Birtcher
  • 13-10-16

I've got a new series

If you enjoy Bernard Cornwell or Patrick O'Brian you'll enjoy Simon Scarrow. Good story that pulls you along with the main characters. Some of the narrators choice of voices aren't what i'd have chosen, but fit the British background of the narrator (and auther).

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Wolfpacker
  • 14-06-14

Story Develops Nicely

Though it took a few chapters to draw me in, I ended up enjoying this story. The setting in a Roman legion is interesting, but this would work equally well in almost any army of any period. The reader did a great job with varying his voices so that you can recognize each character immediately. Very entertaining.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-05-16

I'm Not Sure Who Made The Decision...

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Who is the overpaid moron that decided it was a good idea to introduce a series, but not get the licenses for ALL of the books in the series?
I listened to book one, Under The Eagle and thoroughly enjoyed it, but when I went to get book 2, I got a notice that Audible does not have the license rights to sell that book in the US.
I will not listen to anymore until I can listen to ALL of them.

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Karen
  • 10-01-14

Roman Army? Where?

What disappointed you about Under the Eagle?

It was very generic. There are long stretches where you'd be hard pressed to remember its about the Roman Army.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. He never disappoints.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of David Thorpe?

I have a well documented audio crush on Ray Porter, so I'd go with him.

What character would you cut from Under the Eagle?

None of them. It was an adequate story. Poorly narrated--- his Roman soldiers were overdone caracitures of English thugs. So bad they became almost comical.

Any additional comments?

I was looking for something more authentic and more about the army, and the esprit de corps. This was a tedious "mystery" with such poorly fleshed out characters there wasn't anyone to like.

8 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-08-17

Narrator sounded like Mony Python sometimes

Hood enough story. A little far fetched at times. my main beef was that the narrator sounded like a Monty Python character with some of the voices. Especially Bestia. It was pure Michael Palin at his ridiculous best.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason Rucker
  • 27-07-17

Will not continue series until book 2 is available

Would you consider the audio edition of Under the Eagle to be better than the print version?

Never read the print edition

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, the plot was great and well written.

Which character – as performed by David Thorpe – was your favorite?

Macro was my favorite character and how he would respond to Cato's untested legion ways.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I consumed this book quickly - 2 days.

Any additional comments?

Great start...I will not continue series until book 2 is available

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • B. Collins
  • 21-11-16

It's a bit like the life of Brian Monty Python movie

Injecting British colloquialisms into a Roman story is a good way to relate it to modern times I suppose. I'm sure the Romans talked as rough as any military folks could.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Erik
  • 08-12-13

Enjoyable historical fiction.

I always enjoy having historical charters recast into plausible yet obviously fictitious stories. Add on to that a couple of likable main characters as the centre piece for this book, and you have the start of an enjoyable franchise.

There was nothing earth-shattering in this story, but it does give good solid entertainment value for your money. The performance seemed well suited for the story and characters, and certainly added to the overall enjoyment of the experience.

To sum up, if you like historical fiction, and in particular the Roman period, then give this story a try. You shouldn't be disappointed!

3 people found this helpful