My edition of this book has 597pg's, not 448pg's as stated. This was a damn good read that I thoroughly enjoyed. My eldest brother recommended this bo...moreMy edition of this book has 597pg's, not 448pg's as stated. This was a damn good read that I thoroughly enjoyed. My eldest brother recommended this book to me, then told me that one of the character's in this book reminded him of me *smiling*. I had no bloody idea which one ;) But found it even more interesting finding out. The answer to that particular mystery was 'Marcus Brutus'. Nice to know I was slightly cocky as a teenager *laughing*.
It's the tale of Caesar's life from childhood/early teens (which is the period that this book deals with). It covers his, and Marcus's, upbringing, early experiences, hard gladitorial training and tutoring, and their early experiences in the political arena surrounding the Roman Senate and Senator's. There is no shortage of action and suspense, or strong supporting characters. It's a really well written book and very character driven, which drives you along in this page turner.
That said, the ending shows you that this is just the beginning and leaves you with more questions than answers. It's not really a 'stand alone' read, as you'll want to know more, much more. But it is a damn good and interesting read on one of the world's greatest ever leaders and his life.
I finished this book over a week ago and have already begun, and finished, the second one in this series 'The Death of Kings'.
An absolutely fascinating era in English history; one where the tides could so easily have turned and left England as Daneland. The historical place n...moreAn absolutely fascinating era in English history; one where the tides could so easily have turned and left England as Daneland. The historical place names and character names are pretty much real and add to the whole feel of the 9th century. Where a sickly, extremely pious, but sharp witted prince becomes not only a king, when he was not directly in line to take the throne. But becomes known as King Alfred The Great, despite his frail body and constant illness, and despite (or maybe, because of) his pious beliefs and surrounding himself with some dubious priests.
But, Alfred needs warriors, he needs armies, he needs a Warlord that men will follow because he fights at their side and slaughters his enemies. It turns out that Lord Uhtred, a saxon born Lord, raised by the very pagans that Alfred needs destroyed, is the only man for the task. But, someone who is so renowned as a battle lord who also has a Lord's rights to land in the north of England, needs to be kept on a short leash. And Lord Uhtred, although loyal, is not a man to be tethered or dictated to.
Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a brilliant character, well written and certainly well thought out. This book, and the Saxon series as a whole, has no shortage of really well written characters. Diversity, amnity, and alliegence are done with skill in the main and supporting characters.
The real bonding between Lord Uhtred and Lady AEthelflaed (King Alfred's daughter, married to a cowardly, abusive ass) is just starting to bloom in this book. Uhtred's old adversary Jarl Haesten is a slimey piece of work. And the two brothers Jarl's Sigefrid and Erik couldn't be much more diverse. Jarl Erik actually comes across as a decent man. There is a point, after one of the battles where Erik and his brother are retreating, where Erik asks who leads. One of Uhtred's friends, the warrior priest, Pyrlig, points out that Lord AEthelred (the abusive husband to King Alfred's daughter) commands, and Lord Uhtred disobeys. Lord Uhtred then gives Jarl Erik, and his men, their freedom.
There is so much more to this book. And I believe it to be one of the best three in the Saxon series, so far. I await the next ;) (less)
The Gladiator... Macro and Cato are still quite a double act (Cato being the straight guy, with Macro not usually intending to be funny *laughing just...moreThe Gladiator... Macro and Cato are still quite a double act (Cato being the straight guy, with Macro not usually intending to be funny *laughing just thinking about it*). I won't ruin the plot so far, but they're each strong enough character's to carry a chapter on their own. They are Optio/Centurion's/Prefect's/Tribune *smiling*, depending on what fate has carved for them. Here they are stranded in a different scenario and up against the odds once again. This time against a former slave, a former Gladiator, and an entire army of risen men and women. The Gladiator has battle knowledge, a really good strategist, and this is not what they need. But it appears to be more personal, especially where Macro and Cato are concerned. Oh, and Cato's has a young love to consider, and vice versa. Truly good characters and well written... So far, so good, though the start I didn't find to be the best entrance into the book, it was necessary.
It's somehow different to the others in the Eagle series. It's not just the beginning (though that is part of it), it's also the placing (a small island), the secondary characters and Catos' betrothed. Maybe even a different style to Scarrow's writing in this one, but a major factor is that Macro and Cato are seperated in many a chapter (most of the book). That said, I'd still recommend it and have to give it 4 stars.(less)
This is one of the best books in the Alfred/Saxon series (IMO), two others being The Last Kingdom and Sword Song. Lord Uhtred, raised a pagan warrior...moreThis is one of the best books in the Alfred/Saxon series (IMO), two others being The Last Kingdom and Sword Song. Lord Uhtred, raised a pagan warrior amongst the Viking Danes from the age of nine, has not had a boring life. In fact, although a mixture of what may be good and bad fates, he probably has never had a boring day!
But now Uhtred still serves the pious King Alfred, a sickly but sharp minded man, as Alfred's Lord of Battle. Though Alfred sees Uhtred as a dangerous, but useful, saxon who worships the pagan gods. Very much like a dangerous hound that must be kept on a leash.
In this book we meet with the dangerous Skade, a pagan opportunist with sorcerous ways and a penchant for torturing and killing. But Alfred, forever listening to his priests, leaves Lord Uhtred little choice but to break his Oath to Alfred. And Lord Uhtred returns to Lord Ragnar, a Dane who is like a brother to him. But Uhtred forgets that he swore another Oath, and that Oath, although out of necessity, was also sworn with love (I really think that part is going somewhere, and it should *smiles*)...
There's no shortage of Vikings to kill, or battles. But there are also moving moments and no shortage of action. A page turner, without a doubt.
I've actually read this book more than twice. And I've just started to re-read another in the same series. (less)
I started this book about 5 nights ago, and finished it last night. Wow, what a relief to get back to a really gripping book once again. Especially so...moreI started this book about 5 nights ago, and finished it last night. Wow, what a relief to get back to a really gripping book once again. Especially so after the disappointment that was 'The Taggerung' *smiling*. Jeez.
It's the 1st of the Eagle series, and although I've read others in this series, it's actually just as interesting (if not more-so) to go back and read how Macro first met Cato. There's still that gripping writing, storyline, and character depth to create intrigue, and slight humour.
Now this is a book I found hard to put down, unlike The Taggerung, I was reading a dozen chapters a night.
I'm often a pretty harsh critic, I don't give 'full star ratings' easily. If I've given a book '4 stars' then it's a damn good read I could no doubt read again, and again, after a given period of time. After the first few chapters I'd have given 'Under The Eagle' four stars right off the bat. It would have to have gotten 'really bad, really quick' to change my mind. It didn't. Not a great ending, slightly left open for the future series, but a thoroughly enjoyable (often hard to put down) read. It had the same character depth and it was really intriguing to go back and found out 'exactly' how Cato and Macro first met (there were only slight hints in the other books). I really enjoyed it. Worthy of the four stars! (less)
A really good follow on from the first book in this (Emperor) series by Conn Iggulden. In fact, in many ways the first book served as a really good in...moreA really good follow on from the first book in this (Emperor) series by Conn Iggulden. In fact, in many ways the first book served as a really good introduction with so much more action, story, and character growth in this book.
A really well written book following the growth and experiences of Gauis Julius Caesar, Marcus Brutus, and many other historical figures, like Crassus and others, as well as some character embellishments for the growth of the story.
It was a gripping read and very enlightening on Caesar's growth, both as a man, a leader of men, and into the Senate.
After being gripped by the first book (Emperor #1) I'd say I actually enjoyed this book much more. I'm tempted to give this book '5 stars' as it certainly deserves '4.5 stars'.
For more info. on this series you may wish to read some of the comments.(less)
I didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the previous two in this series. Why? Good question. For me, Caesar spends far too much of the books' em...moreI didn't enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed the previous two in this series. Why? Good question. For me, Caesar spends far too much of the books' emphasis on his campaigns out of Rome. Starting in Spain, then a really long time (much of the book) in Gaul, then his failures in Britain. I love historical fiction, and facts, but there was no way of knowing all the conversations and details of what happened in his long campaign in Gaul. That part dragged on too far for me, for too much of the book and kept much of the historical politics of Rome from the book. Yes, Caesar had a very long campaign fighting the Gauls, but I don't want half a book on fictional minute details. The deal he struck with Crassus and Pompey was interesting, as were the battles. But much of Rome was detailed in the politics and thoughts of Crassus and Pompey, though quite accurate, I didn't buy a book to read so much of Crassus and Pompey. They're good, factual, characters and former historical leaders in their own devious right.
But I would have prefered less of the book giving so much unknown, fictional, detail in Gaul. Then bringing our leading character (and Marcus) back to Rome much earlier to follow Caesar and his political struggles and achievements... That's just my personal opinion and preference, but I'm pretty sure I'd have given it at least '4 stars' for that. As it is, I liked the book. It was an enjoyable read. But, I didn't find it as enjoyable as the first two. It was a page-turner. But a page-turner where you hope Caesar gets back to Rome sooner.
Historically, it follows on with Caesar's life. Though, I was left feeling as though this book - good as it is - was more of a 'filler' leading up to the next book, where you can 'feel' the 'gripping politics' and 'Caesar's senetorial prowess' is 'yet to come'.
This book gripped me and led me into Cornwell's Saxon Series. This book did so much more for me than Heretic or Azincourt, or any of the other Cornwel...moreThis book gripped me and led me into Cornwell's Saxon Series. This book did so much more for me than Heretic or Azincourt, or any of the other Cornwell books. I really wanted to know what happened. This book gave me that intrigue, and for some strange reason I could relate with the cocky kid whose Danish Spinner's weave his fate.
The 9th century was a barbaric but bloody interesting time for England (and many other countries), for Saxons and for Danes, for the ownership and future rule of England. King Alfred's reign made him King Alfred the Great, though I'd probably be just as irritated by the pious bastard and his christian monks as Lord Uhtred.
A nine year old Uhtred goes to battle with his father, the Lord of Bebbanburg, against the raiding Danish Vikings. Uhtred's father is slain and so is his older brother, leaving Uhtred a Lord. But a Lord without lands, or servants, and now a servant boy to the Danes. Captured by the Danish Lord Ragnar, after charging Ragnar The Fearless with his flimsy sword and horse, Uhtred is not much more than a slave. But, as fate would have it, Ragnar raises him like a son, and Uhtred learns to be what, as second eldest son, he would never be allowed to become, a warrior. A great warrior, in fact.
But, the Three Spinners who weave the fates will not let the pagan raised Lord Uhtred free from his Saxon birth. And, as Alfred becomes King of Wessex, the battle Lord Uhtred is drawn to his service... This is one awesome book (and series IMO).
I was actually looking forward to this book and following on with the well told story and battle adventures of Lord Uhtred. But, I thought this book w...moreI was actually looking forward to this book and following on with the well told story and battle adventures of Lord Uhtred. But, I thought this book was one of the poorest in the series. Maybe, even 'the' weakest storyline and poorly told so far. It was ok - hence, the two stars. Where was this book weak, in my opinion? The first third of the book which had Lord Uhtred moving north with some of his men on a false errand/trap. Then returning south, before moving north again - for no really motivated reason - to end up in an audience with a so-called 'Danish sorceress'. So, north again, tricked again, south again. Mid-way through we have King Alfred on his deathbed - yet again, so I won't spoil the outcome (if you ignore the books' title it may be a surprise ;)))...
It wasn't a bad read, to be fair, but I certainly expected a storyline and writing that was of Cornwell's usual standard and (for me) this wasn't it.
Did Lord Uhtred finally get his revenge on the treacherous Jarl Haesten? Or is Haesten still alive after the bitter feud of the last few books? I won't spoil that one for the avid readers of this series. Even the 'run around finding the enemy' battles of the last third of this book were - for me - less character depth, less actual story focus, less engaging, and therefore less interesting.
The 1st book in this Saxon series had me gripped, so did two or three of the others, two others I found to be 'not as good'. But, this one should have (and could have with Cornwell's skill) been soooo much better.
Needless to say, I'm not in such a rush to read another. At least for a while. (less)
A lower rating than the others in this series that I've read. Why? It wasn't a bad read, it even followed on from The Gladiator...more3 stars, I liked it ;)
A lower rating than the others in this series that I've read. Why? It wasn't a bad read, it even followed on from The Gladiator with Cato and Macro hunting down Ajax and his slave renegades. It was a fairly interesting read following our hero's and villian to Egypt, then through the swamps. It just lacked something that Scarrow captured in the characters and scenery of the other books. Plus, the story was - for me - slightly weaker.
Maybe I'm just getting harder to please *smiling*... It could be. But, when I'm reading another book in a really good series, I expect it to twist and turn, to grip me, drive me to turn pages, and yearn for more. Again, it wasn't a bad read, I liked it, but it was too much of a stretched out extensional version of The Gladiator rather than an exciting new campaign. The up's and down's didn't rise and fall to the same heights and depths. But, they were only slightly out - this book is certainly far from bad in any respect.
Outlaw is a quite engrossing historical read on the man/myth that was Robin Hood. It's told from the perspective of Alan Dale, a youth who joins Robin...moreOutlaw is a quite engrossing historical read on the man/myth that was Robin Hood. It's told from the perspective of Alan Dale, a youth who joins Robin swearing his life to his new Lord. The character of Alan grows within the band of outlaws, and in some parts is given the 'past tense' from when he old and looking back (as it begins). It also doesn't try to romanticise Robin, but instead tries to show his flaws and reasons. I gave it 4 stars *smiling*, which tells you I found it a damn good read. It's certainly worth more than 3 stars, and 3.5 wasn't an option! (less)