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Publisher's Summary

If you don't know Simon Scarrow, you don't know Rome!

Under the Eagle is the gripping first novel in Simon Scarrow's best-selling Eagles of the Empire series. A must-read for fans of Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden.

AD 42, Germany. Tough, brutal and unforgiving. That's how new recruit Cato is finding life in the Roman Second Legion. He may have contacts in high places, but he could really use a friend amongst his fellow soldiers right now. Cato has been promoted above his comrades at the order of the Emperor and is deeply resented by the other men. But he quickly earns the respect of his Centurion, Macro, a battle-hardened veteran as rough and ready as Cato is quick-witted and well-educated. They are poles apart, but soon realise they have a lot to learn from one another.

On a campaign to Britannia - a land of utter barbarity - an enduring friendship begins. But as they undertake a special mission to thwart a conspiracy against the Emperor they rapidly find themselves in a desperate fight to survive....

©2001 Simon Scarrow (P)2013 Headline Publishing Group Ltd.

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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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.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

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I've got a new series

If you enjoy Bernard Cornwell or Patrick O'Brian you'll enjoy Simon Scarrow. Good story that pulls you along with the main characters. Some of the narrators choice of voices aren't what i'd have chosen, but fit the British background of the narrator (and auther).

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 01-31-16

Enthralling Historical Drama

This historical fiction explores life as a soldier in the Second Legion of the Roman Army stationed in German in 42 A.C.E. It is a familiar theme of an experienced centurion (sergeant) Macro taking a teenaged recruit named Quintus Licinius Cato, an educated freedman, who was appointed by Emperor Claudius to a rank he has no knowledge or experience to hold. Cato must grow up quickly to survive. While the story unfolds Scarrow provides a great deal of information about the Roman Army and its campaigns. This first novel in the series is first set in Germany then the Second Legion is part of the campaign of the conquest of Britain. Scarrow provides the reader with a view of the everyday life of an average Roman soldier.

Scarrow has a good understanding of the genre and of ancient Rome. The characters are interesting and the plot twist and turns with lots of suspense. Scarrow does a decent job with the battle scenes. The book is a fun adventure with some mystery and political intrigue tossed in. David Thorpe does a good job narrating the book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen
  • United States
  • 01-10-14

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.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Dime-store paperback.

What disappointed you about Under the Eagle?

Poor quality of the writing

What character would you cut from Under the Eagle?

All of them.

Any additional comments?

This book is unreadable. I love historical fiction, especially Roman but this is so badly written it's painful. No sentence is complete without ten adverbs. Everyone speaks ridiculous cockney vernacular, one character even assures another he is not "an ass bandit".<br/><br/>I can't understand how this has positive reviews. <br/><br/>

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Erik
  • Sooke, British Columbia, Canada
  • 12-08-13

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!

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • Corvallis, Montana, United States
  • 10-30-13

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).

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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 .

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Adolescent hero, reader uses cockney accents

Would you try another book from Simon Scarrow and/or David Thorpe?

Really hard to say, being about 45 minutes into this and doing everything I can to stop cringing.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Narrator uses a range of British accents for the Roman soldiers. Think, the cast of Mary Poppins or My Fair Lady. It is super distracting.

Any additional comments?

The author does not use Roman names for items that would be so easy to call what them are. So a pila or pilum becomes a javelin, a gladius or gladii a sword. You get the idea. If you're going to do historical fiction, use the appropriate names. This along with the adolescent, nearly preposterous, lilting lead character and the childishly written, predictable dialog there's a lot to be wanting.

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  • G D POTTER
  • 05-10-15

A great blend of fact and fiction

This was a very good story narrated well. Scarrow developed strong characters and I am looking forward to listening to the next installment. Real praise should also be given to David Thorpe whose voices made the story more memorable.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Pete
  • 10-11-13

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?<br/><br/>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.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Jobo
  • 04-13-14

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 07-25-16

Fantastic read had me hooked from the start

An excellent story and impressive writing had me fully immersed in the story and gripped in the tense action and intrigue moments within the book. furthermore I have now purchased more books in the series as this book and the 5 star standard continues through the series, A MUST READ/LISTEN!

Further notes the narration is of an equally impressive standard

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Simon
  • 08-24-15

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Nana
  • 01-13-15

Good but not credible in parts

Enjoyed this but there were a few turn of events too many to be credible. Still enjoyable. Worth a read.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • S Hadaway
  • 11-16-13

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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr J.
  • 06-15-16

Superb

Bloody brilliant and David Thorpe is excellent as usual, can't wait to get stuck into the next

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ray Williams
  • 05-08-16

enthralling tale. brilliantly put together.

I have been looking for a gripping period story and this is absorbing all the way through.
Well researched, excellently written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tony
  • 04-22-16

Totally brilliant

Rivet to book easy listening great characters highly recommended more more more more more please

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 12-12-16

fantastic listen

excellent story, so well written. brilliant narration. will definately be listening to morebof the adventures of macro and Cato

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 06-24-17

character, history, action

the beginning of a life's tale, as weedy new recruit Cato is mentored (at first unwillingly) by veteran Macro. An adventure tale which also gives a glimpse of a time in history that was marginal to the big events of the day, but turns out to be central to who we are now. (If 'we' is the anglophone world.)