Under the Eagle: Eagles of the Empire, Book 1 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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....
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|Listening Length||12 hours and 5 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||10 October 2013|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 13,353 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
216 in War & Military Fiction
341 in Historical Military Fiction
731 in War Fiction (Books)
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That aside, it's cheerful, undemanding stuff. The few women are wives or girlfriends, the only gay guy is dead, it's all very old-fashioned, but if you approach the series on that basis you'll have a very entertaining time.
When reading historical fiction sometimes authors will write in the style of the period in which it is set which is understandable, but with this book it is written in a contemporary style with lots of over the top swearing and modern words which made it refreshing to read and also gave it a good pace and no real yawn moments.
The book begins with an excellent prologue and sets the backbone for the story as it’s relevant by the end of the book. Then we move forward and the year is 42 AD and Quintus Licinius Cato has just arrived in Germany as a new recruit to the Second Legion. He has a special note from the Emperor giving him a quick rise through the ranks of the Roman Army and he becomes an Optio and becomes second in command under Centurion Lucius Cornelius Marco, this is where the story takes off and most of the story is built around the relationship of this too. Cato is only 17, merely a boy, and because he has jumped the ranks the others don’t like him and to make matters worse he still has to do the basic training with the other recruits.
The basic training reminded me of the film Full Metal Jacket, as we have a drill instructor called Bestia who makes the recruit’s lives a complete misery and Cato gets the worst of it because of his quick promotion, this makes for some very amusing scenes and extremely colourful language is belted out throughout this segment of the book.
I want to move on now to Marco and Cato’s relationship and this book really sees the two bond well. At the start Marco has no respect for the boy, who has come from a cosy life in Rome and has done nothing but read books but this is important as he has intelligence, but Cato doesn’t cover himself in glory, it has to be said at times he can be a complete imbecile, but as the story progresses Cato’s intelligence proves a winner and he gains the respect of Marco and more importantly the men under him.
One of my favourite parts of the book is Marco teasing Cato over his love sick attitude regarding a servant girl who he wants to make advancements towards. Marco really does wind him up which really made me laugh, but I also enjoyed the fact that Marco and Cato eventually become friends which made this book so worthwhile and definitely helps for the future of the series.
The other characters are all good as well and there is a lot of scheming as you would expect from the Romans; however it made a nice change for me as a reader to not have to read lots of long speeches which can happen and so many historical authors do have a tendency to feel the need to put them in.
The battles against the Germans and the Britons are of a high standard too which is a plus for me but the author didn’t feel the need to give graphic descriptions of people getting mutilated, he just kept it simple which helped the flow a lot.
Overall I really liked the book, it was a character building book for future releases which I will undoubtedly read in the future and with this series spanning sixteen books I think I better get started before the author decides to write anymore.
He gradually develops the main characters, Cato & Macro, extremely well so that you almost feel that you know them and how they will react. He also weaves the stories between real historical events (just as Cornwell does) which gives me a better sense of realism and a small real history lesson too.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 10 May 2020