Eagle in the Snow
by Wallace Breem
Reviewed by Coral
This is the story of Rome's last days in England. This is the story of England's General Maximus as he is called from England to help defend the mainland of the Roman Empire. This is a story ... well, I'm not too sure on what the rest of the plot entailed but I can tell you this: this was a pretty awful story.
One of the main problems is the complete lack of sympathy, or empathy, or even basic understanding that I had for the Maximus character and what motivated him. It isn't even that his actions sometimes border on cruel or malicious; I've read enough history to know it wasn't all sunshine and lollipops and I have a tendency to not like authors who try to gloss over the more brutal side to our past. In fact, that's exactly the reason I love David Gemmell, who can write characters that are both completely realistic in the time setting, yet completely sympathetic at the same time.
I believe that the complete inability to relate to the character of Maximus stems from the fact that the author rushes through decades of his life and career in the first forty pages. From his childhood, to the betrayal of his foster brother Julian, and the life he leads in Britain before duty calls him away, it's all over and done with practically as soon as you've picked up the book. Maximus gets no character development at all throughout the early stages of the book, so that by the time you're supposed to be feeling for him, you're just left wondering when this awful book will end.