Simon Scarrow's brilliant adventure novels about the Roman army appear with stunning new covers. After a series of bloody battles, Camulodunum (modern-day Colchester) has fallen to the invading Roman army. The Emperor has returned to Rome, leaving the fearless Centurion Macro and his young Optio, Cato, to rest and regroup, along with the rest of ...Read MoreSimon Scarrow's brilliant adventure novels about the Roman army appear with stunning new covers. After a series of bloody battles, Camulodunum (modern-day Colchester) has fallen to the invading Roman army. The Emperor has returned to Rome, leaving the fearless Centurion Macro and his young Optio, Cato, to rest and regroup, along with the rest of the Second Legion. As their leader General Plautius plans the next phase of their campaign, word arrives that the ship carrying his family to join him was wrecked in a storm off the south coast. His wife and children have fallen into the hands of a dark sect of Druids, who now demand the return of those of their brotherhood taken prisoner by the Romans. Unless their demands are met within one month, Plautius's family will be burned alive. Will Cato and Macro discover where the Druids are hiding their hostages? And can they find some way to rescue them before time runs out?Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 2004-01-26 Scarrow's third historical (Under the Eagle; The Eagle's Conquest) continues to chart the first-century Roman invasion of ancient Britain, as it records-skirmish by skirmish-the exploits of Centurion Macro, who commands the Sixth Century of the Fourth Cohort of the Second Roman Legion, and his optio (junior officer), Cato. In the early winter of A.D. 44, a supply vessel carrying the wife and two children of General Plautius is shipwrecked off the British coast. The general's family-with Prefect Valerius Maxentius, their official escort-is taken prisoner by the bloodthirsty Druids of the Dark Moon. A short time later, Maxentius, accompanied by a Druid warrior, approaches the Roman encampment and delivers an ultimatum: unless the Romans release five Druid prisoners, the general's family will be burned alive. In case anyone doubted his seriousness, the Druid summarily beheads Maxentius. Following the Fourth Cohort's great losses fighting its way through a horde of Britons, Plautius dispatches Macro and Cato to rescue his family. Macro and Cato's difficult undertaking is further complicated when their two captive guides turn out to be Macro's former girlfriend and her fianc?, a fearsome Druid magician. Despite Scarrow's attempt to invest his characters with personality, they come across as cardboard cutouts, and their anachronistic dialogue is off-putting. But his settings are well described and, however predictable, the plotting is strong, with much of the action reminiscent of Bernard Cornwell's. Albeit a bit slight and sporadic, Scarrow's novel demonstrates improvement in crafting, which bodes well for the expected sequel. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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