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Under the Eagle | [Simon Scarrow]

Under the Eagle

The first novel in Simon Scarrow's bestselling Roman series. It is 42 AD, and Quintus Licinius Cato has just arrived in Germany as a new recruit to the Second Legion, the toughest in the Roman army. If adjusting to the rigours of military life isn't difficult enough for the bookish young man, he also has to contend with the disgust of his colleagues when, because of his imperial connections, he is appointed a rank above them.
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Publisher's Summary

The first novel in Simon Scarrow's bestselling Roman series.

It is 42 AD, and Quintus Licinius Cato has just arrived in Germany as a new recruit to the Second Legion, the toughest in the Roman army. If adjusting to the rigours of military life isn't difficult enough for the bookish young man, he also has to contend with the disgust of his colleagues when, because of his imperial connections, he is appointed a rank above them.

As second-in-command to Macro, the fearless, battle-scarred centurion who leads them, Cato will have more to prove than most in the adventures that lie ahead. Then the men discover that the army's next campaign will take them to a land of unparalleled barbarity - Britain.

After the long march west, Cato and Macro undertake a special mission that will thrust them headlong into a conspiracy that threatens to topple the Emperor himself...

©2001 Simon Scarrow (P)2013 Headline Digital

What the Critics Say

"I don't need this sort of competition." (Bernard Cornwell)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (147 )
5 star
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Story
4.3 (136 )
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  •  
    Marie 10-25-13
    Marie 10-25-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Enjoyable Roman Military Mystery"

    Simon Scarrow is a new author for me. I enjoyed the first volume of his Macro and Cato series even though I felt something was missing but I can't actually put a finger on what. Maybe it was the lack of a conclusion, the ending being a setup for the next book, which is not available on Audible. It doesn't make sense to go on to Book 3 when there would be huge gaps in the major storyline.

    That said, Macro the Centurion and Cato the Optimo are an appealing duo. I learned a great deal about the structure of the Roman military and Roman politics. The battle scenes are well orchestrated and are violent without being ghoulish. There are a few too many F-bombs considering the word didn't exist at the time but they don't feel inappropriate for the military setting.

    David Thorpe is the wonder narrator. He captures each character perfectly.

    I won't continue with this series until Book 2 is available.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wolfpacker Fort Mill, SC 06-14-14
    Wolfpacker Fort Mill, SC 06-14-14 Member Since 2014

    Curtis

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Story Develops Nicely"

    Though it took a few chapters to draw me in, I ended up enjoying this story. The setting in a Roman legion is interesting, but this would work equally well in almost any army of any period. The reader did a great job with varying his voices so that you can recognize each character immediately. Very entertaining.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John G. Mcgrory Ft Myers Fl 11-10-14
    John G. Mcgrory Ft Myers Fl 11-10-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not worth it"
    If you could sum up Under the Eagle in three words, what would they be?

    well done


    What did you like best about this story?

    Love Historcial Fiction


    Any additional comments?

    At first I thought this was a thoroughly enjoyable series. But then I tried to get book two. You have to join Audible UK in order to get a number of the books. In a couple of words. Bravo Sierra. Guess I will never finish the series .

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erik Sooke, British Columbia, Canada 12-08-13
    Erik Sooke, British Columbia, Canada 12-08-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    158
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    "Enjoyable historical fiction."

    I always enjoy having historical charters recast into plausible yet obviously fictitious stories. Add on to that a couple of likable main characters as the centre piece for this book, and you have the start of an enjoyable franchise.

    There was nothing earth-shattering in this story, but it does give good solid entertainment value for your money. The performance seemed well suited for the story and characters, and certainly added to the overall enjoyment of the experience.

    To sum up, if you like historical fiction, and in particular the Roman period, then give this story a try. You shouldn't be disappointed!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen United States 01-10-14
    Karen United States 01-10-14 Member Since 2011

    BigZ's Mom

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Roman Army? Where?"
    What disappointed you about Under the Eagle?

    It was very generic. There are long stretches where you'd be hard pressed to remember its about the Roman Army.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry. He never disappoints.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of David Thorpe?

    I have a well documented audio crush on Ray Porter, so I'd go with him.


    What character would you cut from Under the Eagle?

    None of them. It was an adequate story. Poorly narrated--- his Roman soldiers were overdone caracitures of English thugs. So bad they became almost comical.


    Any additional comments?

    I was looking for something more authentic and more about the army, and the esprit de corps. This was a tedious "mystery" with such poorly fleshed out characters there wasn't anyone to like.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emperor 07-30-15
    Emperor 07-30-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Fantastic book. Fantastic performance."

    A great book brought to life by the performer. Each character felt real and you feel a real sense of emotional investment into the characters. Recommended, but be warned, Audible is missing a few books in the series.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris 02-12-15
    Chris 02-12-15 Listener Since 2003

    I love historical fiction. Can't get enough of it!

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    "Highly recommend"

    Great story with great narration. there is a surprising amount of good humor into the storyline. If you like fiction at all you will love this book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben Corvallis, Montana, United States 10-30-13
    Ben Corvallis, Montana, United States 10-30-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "GOOD READ"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes i Would recommend this book to a friend it was a good read and well worth it.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Under the Eagle?

    The most memorable moment from the book was the battle at the German village at the beginning of the book. It sets the stage for the type of people the characters are.


    Which character – as performed by David Thorpe – was your favorite?

    Both Cato and Macro were were my favorite characters.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a good book that was well worth listening to. The only problem I had with it was that there are scenes and twists in the story that don't have anything else to do with anything. Like the part where Cato gets caught in the tent with the thief, why did he need to be there when he couldn't identify the thief in the dark? It was pointless and 15 minutes worth of listening that didn't add any significance to the book. I did like the story line though and would like to see the second book "Conquest" get put on Audible in English rather than Latin (I think its in Latin at least).

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack USA 11-01-14
    Jack USA 11-01-14 Member Since 2014

    End of the world and Sci Fi are my favorites with a lot of historical fiction added in

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Nerd becomes a Roman legionnaire"
    If you could sum up Under the Eagle in three words, what would they be?

    Very enjoyable story, well written with a complex style that builds on characters and descriptions to tell a story about the atypical Roman legionnaire in 50 AD


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carlos Irving, TX, United States 09-23-14
    Carlos Irving, TX, United States 09-23-14 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Series"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, I've followed this series while I was in the military. Chasing one book after the other!


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed the telling from the "Grunt's" side instead of from the officers view.


    Any additional comments?

    Why the break in the series?? Not worth purchasing if you can't follow the series in order.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • S Hadaway
    London
    11/16/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Let down a bit by the narrator"
    If you could sum up Under the Eagle in three words, what would they be?

    Rattling good story


    What three words best describe David Thorpe’s performance?

    Casual, chatty, undramatic


    Any additional comments?

    This the first in the 'Eagles' series, and as you'd expect the story and language isn't as polished as after Mr Scarrow gets a few under his belt and finds his stride. However, it is an entertaining story that rattles along nicely. Not quite 'Sharpe in sandals', but nearly.Unfortunately, the narrator has a chatty, casual style that doesn't vary in even the most dramatic moments, which takes the edge off somewhat. It is very easy on the ear, but just doesn't suit the words he is saying. However, I did get used to this after a few hours and move past it, except his pronounciation of 'Cato' as 'Car-to', and even, I'm certain, 'Carter' a few times. This goes against how I (and others I know) have always pronounced it, and how it is pronounced in the later books by other narrators, and never ceased to grate a bit.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Pete
    bristol, United Kingdom
    10/11/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Finally"
    Would you listen to Under the Eagle again? Why?

    I was really excited to see that Scarrow's early Macro & Cato books were finally being released as an audio version. The more recent books have had a couple of different but excellent narrators who capture the voices of the leads excellently. It's always difficult when a series has a new reader but David Thorpe handles the gruff voice of Macro and the younger Cato well. My only gripe, which is small but for me really off putting is his pronunciation of Cato. I have always read it, as previous narrators have as Kay to. Thorpe calls him Car to. For someone new to the series this is irrelevant. But after over a dozen books I just can't think of him this way. I wonder how Scarrow pronounces his name?

    This aside it's a great first story with humour and fast paced gritty action that follows our two heroes across Britain in search of Caesar's lost treasure. Great fun and worth a listen.


    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Steven
    4/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Roman squaddies on tour."
    Where does Under the Eagle rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I've listened to a lot of audiobooks set in the Roman era including Lindsey Davies (Marcus Dideus Falco) and the SPQR series. If you enjoyed those, you'll probably like these. The author does a good job of inserting his characters and their story into known historical settings.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The main characters are likeable and I quickly became interested in their situation. The 'banter' between the soldiers is amusing, particularly Macro and his bad language. The drill sergeant character Bestio is funny as well.


    What does David Thorpe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    David Thorpe is a good narrator. He has a range of accents to bring the characters to life, and on the whole he does this very well - often with comic effect. His narration doesn't irritate or intrude, he is easy to listen to.


    Any additional comments?

    This was a very good audiobook if you enjoy the Roman setting and don't mind the odd expletive. The story was well paced and the characters were likeable. I enjoyed it so much, I ordered the next two in the series and immediately listened to them.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Simon Arnold
    Portsmouth, UK
    8/24/15
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    Performance
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    "A Brilliant Series - but incomplete!"

    To me this is an excellent series of books. Simon Scarrow produces two well-developed "chalk and cheese" main characters that somehow develop an excellent chemistry as brothers in arms. Plenty of action mixed with plenty of character development is what I like in my books and here we get both aplenty. The narration is lively and positive so moves the story forwards well.

    The only thing that irritates me (at the time of writing) is that quite a few of the books are currently not available on audible UK at least and this has been the case for over a year now. I have no idea where the problem is but this point is worth knowing if, like me, your literature is almost entirely consumed these days via Audible.

    I'm stuck waiting for book four. This is such a good series I am determined to do them justice by listening in order.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lorraine
    8/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Roman Century revealed"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Highly recommended as a Roman outpost is revealed & the leading characters begin to forge a lifetime bond, the readers are admitted to the Century with admiral skill and direct tutelage.


    What other book might you compare Under the Eagle to, and why?

    Impossible! The expert knowledge of the writer reveals Imperial Roman concepts, structure, and power with sympathy, demonstrating the breathtaking stoicism of the Legions and the brotherhoods formed in an utterly visionary way.


    Which character – as performed by David Thorpe – was your favourite?

    Macro! Grumpy, taciturn, dedicated Legionaire. From the top of his crested helmet to his sandalled feet David Thorpe brings the character to come alive with skill and sincerity.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The gruff protectiveness of the older more experienced man as he begins to form a fatherly interest in Cato, and the reciprocation of that friendship.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm thoroughly hooked, looking forward to listening to the other titles particularly as my maiden name is Caesar, from whom my family is descended. In Simon Scarrows hands Rome lives

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • sam
    7/26/15
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    Performance
    Story
    "Fantastic"

    Love this series of books have already read them but have decided to re-read(listen) to them loved the narration of the book and the way he brings the characters to life!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • bill sneddon
    7/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "billythekid"

    i loved this audio book as Simon scarrow s stories about Rome are the best.!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Kenneth Harley
    Andover, UK
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great listen"
    What made the experience of listening to Under the Eagle the most enjoyable?

    Thoroughly enjoyed this and looking forward to listening to the rest in the series.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cator, enjoyed how he progressed through the novel.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    the battle scene


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    nope


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Matthew Lewis
    7/15/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Blood and Intrigue"

    A thundering story of war, politics and betrayal. I was gripped from beginning to end.

    The performance was absolutely outstanding. Utterly convincing, it brought 2000 year old characters vividly to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • birdie
    7/9/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "OK"

    Good yarn which translated well into an audiobook. Spoiled a bit by mispronounciation of names... Notably Cato, which grated every time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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