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Under the Eagle

(Eagle #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  11,582 ratings  ·  495 reviews
Simon Scarrow's brilliant adventure novels about the Roman army appear with stunning new covers.

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
Paperback, 256 pages
Published April 5th 2001 by Headline (first published 2000)
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Mike In the last book I read, Brothers In Blood, he is in his final year of his 25 year enlistment. Elsewhere he mentions having lied in order to join the …moreIn the last book I read, Brothers In Blood, he is in his final year of his 25 year enlistment. Elsewhere he mentions having lied in order to join the Legion at an early age. I believe he says was 14 when he joined. So, in the first book, he must be around 30 and in the last about 40.

I'm not going to tell you if he re-enlists or not. You'll have to find that out for yourself. (less)

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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  11,582 ratings  ·  495 reviews

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Zenny the Bear-face
Aug 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody.
I bought the first three parts of Scarrow's series on my trip to Scotland, excited to finally stock up my book shelves, and I cannot tell you how disappointed and infuriated I am with the books. Not worth any amount of money, even the six pounds I spent on them in a second-hand bookshop.

After a hundred and fifty pages of the first book, I gave up. I usually try to give a book a chance, but if Under The Eagle gets better at a latter point, I'll never find out. My brain hurt every time a Roman off
Mar 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Simon Scarrow's Pulp Fiction-esque Roman adventure is a win for me and nil for the bores"

Simon Scarrow use to be on the Goodreads author, but apparently after some embarrassing comments by a well known member he removed his account. After confirming this with the author, it rather made me think, really some people need to step back from the keyboard! An opinion is one thing, stupid is something else.

The year is 42AD - what a boring opening! Never start off with dates, it'll kill interest fa
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I go through genre phases, and historical fiction and Greek/Roman philosophy and history is where my mind was focused for a while. I finished studying stoicism and decided to read this novel by Scarrow that has been in my Kindle library for a couple of years. I am glad I did.
I have noticed that WHEN I read something often affects the way I review it. This book really hit the spot. The author knows his story well, and is able to bring the setting to life. The background information provided a nic
Jun 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Solid historical fiction, despite the fact that a significant portion of the military behaviour seems anachronistic. Particularly one of the protagonists, Macro, behaves like a stereotypical modern day sergeant moved straight into a Roman context.

That being said, there are several praiseworthy elements. Overall, the historical elements are strong. Depictions of Claudius' reign, the invasions of Britain, the discord between the court and the army, and the generall overall flavour are all close en
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

A very good start to the series. I enjoyed the style of writing which made it a quick and enjoyable overall. The two main characters were both interesting and I can see them growing more and more as the series continues and the friendship growing with each battle they enter into.

The plot isn't groundbreaking but allows for some great action such as the siege in the German village which was excellently done and allowed Cato to really shine and show his potential, especially with his bravery.
Jan 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
I am boggled at the hugely positive reviews of this "historical" fiction, and I don't put "historical" in quotes lightly. This is basically a Bat Durston story, to borrow a term from 50s and 60s SF - a genre story (typically a Western) which has been "re-genre-fied" with the trappings of SF. In this case, a "mean streets of [city]" novel has been tarted up with vaguely Roman names and plunked down into Roman-era Britain. Simon, honey, you ain't no Rosemary Sutcliff. ...more
Laura Tenfingers
This was fantastic Roman historical fiction! We learn all about Roman military structure, what life was like as a legionary, an officer and a legate. Plus there's treachery, conniving, backstabbing, ass kicking and last but not least... BROMANCE!!! Macro and Cato are a stellar duo.

My only gripe is that the language used is 100% modern slang. That wasn't a deal-breaker for me but it may be for some of you. I almost deducted a star for that but the ending was so great that the warm and runnies wou
Nutty NUUT read

I've skipped the prologue, which may be read after; who knows!

Opening: THE RHINE FRONTIER in the second year of the reign of Emperor Claudius: Late 42 AD.

An icy blast of wind swept into the latrine with the sentry.
"Wagons approaching, Sir!"
"Shut the bloody door! Anything else?"
"Small column of men."
"Hardly." The sentry grimaced. "Unless there's been some change in marching drill."

Marco - Centurion
Cato - Optio
Vitellius - Tribune
All under Vespasian the Legate

I sleep unde
So I've been avoiding (intentionally or not) these books for a while now. It seems like everyone who's really excited about Roman military fiction just gushes over Scarrow's books. And that's why I've been a little nervous about them. Military fiction fanboys are a whole different breed from historical fiction ones.* At some level people who seek out military fiction expect to see an experience they can relate to. When centurions issue commands to their men they want to feel not "how interesting ...more
Mark Harrison
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Guilty pleasure read this. First story in a long series concerning Marcus and Cato. One the veteran and the other a new recruit with the starry eyes about to get a reality check. The language is very colourful, the 'drill sergeant' seems to have escaped from the US Marine Corps and I am sure there have been a number of liberties taken with history. However - it is a great 'boys own' romp with loads of battles and lots of intrigue. Having recently finished the more cerebral trilogy concerning Cic ...more
Jun 19, 2018 rated it liked it
A fun little historical romp through the year of 42AD and the Empire of Rome. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius, Rome is beginning to weaken. A centurion in the army, Marco is gritting his teeth and keeping his head down, when a posh young lad is promoted to Optio (his second in command) as a favour from on high up. Cato doesn't fit in in the army: he likes high literature, poetry, and fine clothes. Now he has to pick up a sword and learn to use it in time for the legions to invade Britain.

Reading Simon Scarrow's initial volume of his Eagles series, Under the Eagle brought back happy memories of sitting in Ancient Civilizations university seminars and Latin tutorials. I loved studying all aspects of Roman life, society, politics, and history. If you are looking for an bird's eye view into the daily life of an ordinary Roman legionary during battle, on the march, or settling into camp, this book is for you. Additionally, this book will introduce you to the common theme of life and ...more
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: antiquity
Goodreads just fucking ate my first copy of this review, which means this is gonna be a short one (I can just hear the masses crying "NO!") It was a short one anyways, as I usually don't have enough steam to bitch about books I didn't like for more than a couple paragraphs. I really had good expectations for this one, I wanted something shorter and more fast-paced than the usual tomes I've been reading lately and this seemed like a good one, even bearing a Cornwell endorsement on the cover...tho ...more
Anna Kļaviņa
At first I couldn’t decide to give two or three stars.
Maybe because of the praises others reviewers had given to this book I was disappointed to discover that it was average story. The characters are not remarkable, the plot is simple, little or almost no suspense, (I guessed who is spy and who traitor easy and early), Cato and Lavinia scenes reminded me of a big lipped alligator moment, it was quite pointless as if author thought he must involve some sort of romance.

It was historical bits and
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable read. Historical fiction about a Roman legion, soon after 40AD, firstly facing some hairy, bloodthirsty German barbarians at the frontiers of the Roman Empire, and then taking part in the invasion of Britain and facing some hairy, bloodthirsty British barbarians!

Regarding the specific story the two main POVs are endearing and interesting - Macro, an experienced centurion and Cato, his deputy (‘optio’) who is a new recruit to the army. I believe this book is the start of a series fea
Jun 10, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roman, historical, ancient, war
This is a compelling first novel in what has turned into a long-running series. Scarrow's aim is to deliver Sharpe-style military thrills and spills in the Roman era, and his books focused around a central pairing of interesting characters: the weedy and scholarly Cato, young and inexperienced, and the battle-scarred and squat Macro, an experienced soldier. I immediately liked Macro and he soon became my favourite character, a simple soldier just trying to do his job.

The novel is set in AD43 and
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Mindless fun. Pure escapism. I wouldn't label this or call this serious historical fiction. The dialogue reminds me of our current times and at some times is a little cheesy. Im guessing it has to be partly inaccurate with the historical story to provide a fun read. ...more
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Based upon reviews and ratings I had expected this series to be in line with other historical fiction authors of the period such as Alaric Longward or Bernard Cornwell - an expectation that was not met. There were three major issues I had with the story - 1) The plot didn't begin to unfold until very close to the end of the book and then it was weak. Most of the book was plodding encounters that were not very convincing of what it was like to be a Roman legionary. 2) The character development wa ...more
Jun 03, 2013 rated it liked it
This is the first in Scarrow’s Eagle series and I am a little anal about always insisting on starting at the beginning of a series rather than jumping in half way through even if, as in the case of Scarrow, he has already written some 11 novels as part of said series. However, I was really excited about discovering this. I studied A Level Latin and some ancient history at University. I am intrigued by all things Roman and Spartan in particular and having absolutely adored Madeline Miller’s ‘The ...more
Rob Twinem
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
The first book in the Eagles of the Empire series and an essential read if you want an insight into the the making of two great careers Centurion Macro and his Optio Cato. Macro is a hardened warrior deeply committed to the Roman second legion when he receives into his command a young untested soldier Cato. Cato is promoted above his comrades at the order of the Empire and is deeply resented by the other men. Soon the legion has to prepare for a dangerous assignment to Britannia a country still ...more
Jay Moon
Feb 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing

In 42 AD Rome, Cato a former imperial slave joins the Second Legion. The toughest out of all of Rome. Not yet proven to be a real man, Cato struggles to adapt to the army life. Not so long later Cato proves himself to be a hero after saving his centurion, Marco in the savage battle against the Germans. Cato and Marco take on a secret mission to stop the rebellion of the Army. They prove themselves to be worthy soldiers of the Second Legion. The second legion joins the
Sep 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 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
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-fic
I thought this historical fiction novel was a great. Set during the first century A.D. In the Roman empire, the writing was strong and the characters were terrific. Certainly going to look for the sequel.
Mar 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tbr-2016
4,5/5 Stars!
Oct 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Original Post:

“A gritty, realistic, page-turning experience that will lead the reader wanting more.” ~The Founding Fields

This is the first historical fiction book that I’ve read in a long time (excluding Bernard Cromwell’s Sharpe series), and I really enjoyed it, and if I’m being honest it’s not really the first time that I attempted to read it, as I picked it up and begun reading it a few months ago, only to put aside for some new releases that had come
Paulo "paper books always" Carvalho
It is the year 42 AD, and Centurion Macro, battle-scarred and fearless, is in the heart of Germany with the Second Legion, the toughest in the Roman army. Cato, a new recruit and the newly appointed second-in-command to Macro, will have more to prove than most. In a bloody skirmish with local tribes, Cato gets his first chance to prove that he’s more than a callow, privileged youth. As their next campaign takes them to a land of unparalleled barbarity – Britain – a special mission unfolds, thrus ...more
Feb 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction and Roman History fans
This is my first Simon Scarrow novel. It will not be my last.

Scarrow's writing style is not unlike Bernard Cornwell's. Perhaps that fact is not accidental. Nevertheless, Under the Eagle is a very well done story with interesting characters and a compelling plot.

It takes place around 42AD on the German frontier and in Pre-Roman Britain. Cato, a freedman with connections joins the army and is eventually assigned to a relatively new Centurion in the famed Second Legion, Macro. He is promoted becau
Gordon Doherty
May 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The first book in the Eagle series was really addictive reading for me. Two totally different characters thrown together in the brutal world of the Roman Legion, where together they form an unlikely partnership that quickly becomes warm, witty and intriguing. The author does a good job of making the Roman world, that can often be portrayed as a stuffy and aloof, seem real and identifiable to modern readers who might not otherwise enjoy this genre. The dialogue especially helps in this sense.

I pi
May 18, 2012 rated it liked it
First in what promises to be a very good series -- Roman legion under Emperor Claudius, first in Germany then Britain. I liked the interplay between the two protagonists; they complemented each other and the color the author added. Very gripping battle scenes. My only quibble was the anachronistic language as a whole -- along with the usual Anglo-Saxon expletives and a love story which seemed to be just put in as an afterthought. I wonder if the author's descriptions of Cato's days as a raw recr ...more
Dimitrije Srebric
This is a fantastic book that actually made me read the sequels aswell.Simon Scarrow really outdid himself with these series of books. :)
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Simon Scarrow is a UK-based author, born in Nigeria, and now living in Norfolk. He completed a master's degree at the University of East Anglia, and, after working at the Inland Revenue, went into teaching as a lecturer at City College, Norwich.

He is best known for his "Eagle" series. This is Roman empire military fiction, starting with the second invasion of Britain, and continuing with subsequen

Other books in the series

Eagle (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Eagle's Conquest (Eagle, #2)
  • When the Eagle Hunts (Eagle, #3)
  • The Eagle and the Wolves (Eagle, #4)
  • The Eagle's Prey (Eagle, #5)
  • The Eagle's Prophecy (Eagle, #6)
  • The Eagle in the Sand (Eagle, #7)
  • Centurion (Eagle, #8)
  • The Gladiator (Eagle, #9)
  • The Legion (Eagle, #10)
  • Praetorian (Eagle, #11)

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