“Eagles in the Storm” by Ben Kane

Eagles in the Storm
The year is AD 15, and Senior Centurion Lucius Cominius Tullus is in the wilderlands of Germany, where he and his men are fighting ragtag but wily German tribes. Six years ago Arminius, one of the wiliest of the Germans, defeated the Romans, including Tullus, and stole the eagle of the Eighteenth Legion, Tullus’s own legion before the massacre. Tullus is determined to reclaim his lost eagle and avenge his legion’s disgrace.Although this is the third book in the series, and refers to things that happened in the previous two books, which I have not read, I was able to follow along with little difficulty. Readers would probably be best served by reading all three books in order, but you can certainly jump in here at the end and still understand what’s going on, especially if you know a tiny amount (all I can claim) about Roman history.

The events and a number of the characters of “Eagles in the Storm” are based on historical events and people, and the book is, as far as an armchair historian such as myself can tell, exhaustively researched. In fact, Kane has a lengthy afterword describing his research and the allusions to ancient and modern events in the book, something sure to delight the kind of nerds–I mean history buffs–who tend to read this kind of fiction. Indeed, for me the highlight of the book were the details about day-to-day life of the Roman soldiers, and Kane’s ability to put you directly into the action, whether that be petty practical jokes, or major battles.

And indeed, there is no shortage of battles in this book. I, personally, have a limited tolerance for fight scenes, but if this is the kind of thing that you’re into, then “Eagles in the Storm” has multiple battles between the Romans and the German tribes, described in such vivid detail from both sides’ perspectives that you can practically smell the sweat and hear the cries. For all its grounding in lovingly researched detail, this is at heart a rip-snorting tale of war and adventure that could be set in any time period, but happens to be about ancient Rome. The prose style, like the characters, is simple and straightforward, and despite the liberal sprinkling of Latin, the book reads like a contemporary adventure novel. “Eagles in the Storm” is not exactly high-brow, so if that’s what you’re looking for, you’d best turn away, but it is high-quality historical adventure fiction that will draw you in and keep you reading.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

Want your own copy?  Get it here: Eagles in the Storm (Eagles of Rome)

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