Monday, 28 May 2012

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Rome: The Eagle of the Twelfth - Manda Scott

Release Date: 24/05/12


They are known as the Legion of the Damned...Throughout the Roman Army, the Twelth Legion is notorious for its ill fortune. It faces the harshest of postings, the toughest of campaigns, the most vicious of opponents. For one young man, Demalion of Macedon, joining it will be a baptism of fire. And yet, amid all of the violence and savagery of his life as a legionary, he realises he has discovered a vocation - as a soldier and a leader of men. He has come to love the Twelth and all the bloody-minded, dark-hearted soldiers he calls his brothers. But all that he cares about is ripped from him when, during the brutal Judaean campaign, the Hebrew army inflict a catastrophic defeat upon the legion - not only decimating their ranks, but taking away their soul - the eagle. There is one final chance to save the legion's honour - to steal back the eagle. To do that, Demalion and his legionnaries must go undercover into the city of Jerusalem, into the very heart of their enemy, where discovery will mean the worst of deaths, if they are to recover their pride. And that, in itself, is a task worthy only of heroes.


For me Manda Scott is a dark horse with each new project that she turns out. Yes you know roughly what you’re going to get but there are times when her brilliance shines through and I felt it first with her Boudicca saga and again with the first Rome novel, but this one shines the greatest for me as a reader.

I loved the fact that you got the feeling of marching with the legion, the down and dirty tactics that allowed Rome to rule most of the civilised world and when you add to this sharp prose, a solid supporting cast and of course masters understanding of pace, you know that you’re going to be in for something special.

Add to this a lead character that not only inspires the reader but demonstrates how, though hard work alongside natural ability that he’s got the very makings of a soldier without having to go for an off the peg hero. It’s dark, it gets down in the dirt and when you add the authors writing style that leads you through the shadows to the conclusion, its very hard to find a title that’s going to stand out against this one this year. Definitely a must read for any historical fiction fan, but when you add a guarantee to the cover like Transworld have done, you know that they’ve confident of their product and really should give it a fair chance. For me, this is a book that I think will win some of the laurels this year for best historical fiction, so get in first and get in now before the hype hits.

No comments: