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Review: Silver Eagle

Ben Kane

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Silver Eagle

The historical novel “Silver Eagle” by Ben Kane is the second of three volumes of the trilogy, which takes place during the fall of the republic, in the 1st century BCE. The book is a continuation of the amazing story of the heroes of the “Forgotten Legion”. Friends Romulus, Brennus and Tarquin struggle to survive on Parthia’s eastern frontier after being taken captive by their defeat at Carrhae; while the beautiful Fabiola must survive in the extremely dangerous and cruel Rome in the 50s of the 1st century BCE.

The next part of the novel is, in my humble opinion, even more interesting than the first part. It is possible that this is due to the fact that the world of the Roman Republic is even more brutal, and Romulus and his friends have to fight for their lives at the end of the world. This time, they become one of the 10,000 captured Roman legionnaires who are at the mercy of the Parthians.

The author perfectly managed to recreate – probably real – the tragedy of the situation of Roman soldiers who had to face foreign peoples on the far eastern borders of the Parthian empire. We do not know the actual fate of the defeated Romans from Carrhae; therefore, the author allowed himself to fantasize and clash even with the Indians themselves. Moreover, Brennus, Tarquinius and Romulus must not only face new enemies and their deadly weapons (e.g. scythicon, war elephants, chariots), but also must survive in the face of distrust from the command itself Parthia and his companions. It is worth mentioning that Romulus and Brennus enlisted in the army as slaves, which in the Roman army was punishable by crucifixion. In the end, all three try to survive and fulfill a destiny known only to Tarquin – an Etruscan priest and warrior.

Fabiola, for a change – after her guardian and lover Brutus goes to Gaul – is forced to find herself in dangerous Rome and Italy. Through his decisions, he comes into conflict with fugitivarii (slavers) and falls into the middle of bloody fights between the supporters of Clodius and Milo. The mid-1950s was a period of great internal chaos in Rome when bloody clashes between the supporters of the optimates and the populares took place in the streets of Rome. As the author himself pointed out, the clash described on the Forum did not actually take place; what is certain, however, is that the streets of the city were filled with fear, and even the senators themselves trembled for their lives.

The plot of the book also touches on the rebellion of Vercingetorix and Caesar’s suppression of the rebellion at Alesia. The author showed in an extremely vivid way how great the Roman victory was and how many people lost their lives during the clash. Finally, the reader also follows the battles in Greece and the famous victory of Caesar over Pompey at Pharsalus and then participates in the battles of the Roman army in Alexandria.

As in the previous part, at the end of the book, the author left at our disposal a glossary of the main terms with translations and descriptions, as well as his own commentary on the novel, in which he clearly explained his historical modifications, including did not include the great Queen Cleopatra herself in the plot.

The second part of “The Forgotten Legion” is certainly worth attention. The author once again fantastically tells the further fate of the characters, which surprises and expands the readers’ knowledge of the ancient world.

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