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A novel of Caligula's Rome

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Book Review: Ben Kane's HUNTING THE EAGLES

August 15, 2016 | from Sherry Christie's blog

We're back with our comrades from before: the young legionary Piso, his very experienced centurion Tullus, the renegade Arminius, and a supporting cast that now includes the renowned general Germanicus Caesar, Augustus's step-grandson. Ironically, Tullus's reward for having saved a score of his men from Arminius's deadly ambush in the Teutoburg Forest was to be demoted to a lower rank. Nonetheless, he is determined to avenge the massacred troops and regain the three captured legion Eagles, including that of his own former legion, the Eighteenth. On the other side of the Rhine, meanwhile, Arminius is trying to build and hold together a tribal coalition that will defeat the Romans once and for all. The two forces are bound to clash—and they do, in a horrific attack on the Long Bridges road that's nearly as hair-raising as Kane's depiction of the Teutoburg disaster. As before, the author does an excellent job of putting readers inside the heads of the Romans (and inside their armor and marching camps as well). I found it somewhat unsettling that the Germans speak in modern slang ("As you know, Inguiomerus is a tricky customer" – "Nothing's going to stop me giving the old bastard a once-over"), but that's a matter of taste. Once again, Ben Kane shows that he's as hard to beat in storytelling about the legions as the legions were in battle.

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