Friday, 20 March 2015

ALTERNATE HISTORY FICTION: The Hesperian Trilogy 1: Clash of Eagles - Alan Smale

Release Date: 20/03/15
Publisher:  Titan (UK), Del Rey (US)


Perfect for fans of military and historical fiction - including novels by such authors as Bernard Cornwell, Naomi Novik, and Harry Turtledove - this stunning work of alternate history imagines a world in which the Roman Empire has not fallen and the North American continent has just been discovered. In the year 1218 AD, transported by Norse longboats, a Roman legion crosses the great ocean, enters an endless wilderness, and faces a cataclysmic clash of warriors, worlds, and gods. Ever hungry for land and gold, the Emperor has sent Praetor Gaius Marcellinus and the 33rd Roman Legion into the newly discovered lands of North America. Marcellinus and his men expect easy victory over the native inhabitants, but on the shores of a vast river the Legion clashes with a unique civilization armed with weapons and strategies no Roman has ever imagined. Forced to watch his vaunted force massacred by a surprisingly tenacious enemy, Marcellinus is spared by his captors and kept alive for his military knowledge. As he recovers and learns more about these proud people, he can't help but be drawn into their society, forming an uneasy friendship with the denizens of the city-state of Cahokia. But threats - both Roman and Native - promise to assail his newfound kin, and Marcellinus will struggle to keep the peace while the rest of the continent surges toward certain conflict.


A strange and unusual alternate history title that takes readers into the strange world of “What if” where the roman war enginee invades the America’s with mixed results. Its in part reminiscent of “A Man Called Horse”, has some solid world building and whilst the combat seuqneces worked very well, it was more as an individual battle that the author did very well rather than as an overall army combat. Its definitely a very interesting premise and whilst I initially wasn’t as enthused with it as I thought I would be, I did find that as the tale moved on, I became more engrossed to see how the world would adapt.

Its got some quirky characters, some wonderful dialogue and when added to an arc that will lead the series into one hell of a war, its going to be a case of leaving the reader wondering how the adaptations alongside warfare will effect a world to which many readers are completely unfamiliar. Definitely a series to watch and for me, a tale I was very pleased that I stuck with to the end. Can’t wait to see what book two has in store.

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