Under the Eagle

by Simon Scarrow

Reviewed by Coral

Ninety years after Julius Caesarís failed invasion of Britain, the Emperor Claudius now plans an invasion of the island. It is not only the military success that he hopes will bolster his reputation, but there is a wagon with a secret, sunk by Caesar in a bog that he hopes to reclaim as well.

Vespasian is a commander of one of the Legionís ordered to join the invasion. He has hopes to use the military success to further his political career as well, especially if his men can complete the secret mission of the Emperorís to recover this wagon. Unfortunately, Vespasian has been warned that he has both a traitor and am Imperial spy in his midst, leaving him unsure which of his men he can trust.

Macro is a Centurion in Vespasianís Legion. He has a secret as well: he canít read. And since literacy is a requirement for his position, he lives in fear of the day he will be caught and demoted.

Cato is a newly freed man who joins the army as a condition to his freedom. He is also given a promotion above many men who have been in the army for years, earning their instant hatred. Now he must find a way to fit in to this new way of life, which is so different from the Imperial Palace he left behind.

I liked this book, to an extent.

The plot wasnít exactly the fastest moving. It spent a lot of time on Catoís introduction to the army, and the armyís time at the German border, so that the time in Britain felt a little rushed.

I had trouble with the authorís style of writing. On top of the use of French words, he used a lot of sayings that just felt too modern. And, on the opposite side of the spectrum, I wish he wouldnít use older words that have different meaning now (i.e., using ďfaggotĒ to mean a bunch of sticks).

The series has promise, but the authorís style of writing may drive me crazy in the long run. I will have to wait and see, as I do not currently own any other books in the series.

Grade: B