The book “Hannibal. Clouds of War” by Ben Kane is the third part of the adventures of the Carthaginian Hanno and the Roman siblings Quintus and Aurelia during the Second Punic War. Once again, the main characters are on opposite sides of the barricade and fight for survival during a powerful conflict between the hegemons of the time in the Mediterranean.
Ben Kane, a passionate lover of the world of ancient Romans, proved with his other series that he approaches each historical novel with full commitment, insight and understanding of history. This time the author moves the action to Sicily – an island dominated by Greek cities – trying to get out of Roman rule. A lot of help to the rulers of rebellious cities (including Syracuse) is offered by Hannibal, who, apart from bringing troops, offers the services of his young but experienced soldier – Hanno. It is to help survive the Roman siege and fight on the island with enemy troops.
Quintus, a young knight, also arrives in Sicily, and, like many other Romans, covered himself with disgrace by not giving his life at Cannae. The only path of repentance is to take part in the bloody battles in Sicily and drive the Carthaginian troops out of these areas. The author does not omit here the extremely colourful siege of Syracuse and the amazing constructions (e.g. cranes) that Archimedes was supposed to design in order to stop the Roman offensive – both from the sea and from the land. The battle scenes are as always very colourfully described, and the brutal life in the barracks only adds flavour.
As in the previous parts, Hanno and Quintus fight on opposite sides of the conflict. On top of everything, the mutual feeling between Aurelia and the Carthaginians causes other dangerous situations.
The next part of Ben Kane’s adventures during the Second Punic War is a very professional and pleasant to read position. We are dealing with a really very professional approach to the subject. At the end of the book, as always, we have the opportunity to learn what the author was guided by when creating the plot; when he avoided the historical truth or when the lack of unambiguous sources gave him room for fantasy. In addition, the glossary of phrases will increase our knowledge and introduce us to the ancient realities even better.
I wholeheartedly recommend it.