Simon Scarrow: Britannia (review + night out)

Simon Scarrow: 

simon

 

Simon Scarrow is a Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author. His bestsellers include his novels featuring Roman soldiers Macro and Cato, most recently BROTHERS IN BLOOD, PRAETORIAN and THE LEGION, as well as SWORD AND SCIMITAR, about the 1565 Siege of Malta, and four novels about the lives of the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon Bonaparte. He is the author with T. J. Andrews of the bestselling ARENA, introducing the gladiator hero Pavo, and the new ebook novella series INVADER.

Simon’s novels have been published in the USA and in translation all around the world.

– See more at: Author web site

Britannia

Buy Signed Limited Edition (charity) edition

britannia

Simon Scarrow’s veteran Roman soldier heroes face a cunning and relentless enemy in BRITANNIA. Roman Britain, AD 52. The western tribes, inspired by the Druids’ hatred of the Romans, prepare to make a stand. But can they match the discipline and courage of the legionaries? Wounded during a skirmish, Centurion Macro remains behind in charge of the fort as Prefect Cato leads an invasion deep into the hills. Cato’s mission: to cement Rome’s triumph over the natives by crushing the Druid stronghold. But with winter drawing in, the terrain is barely passable through icy rain and snowstorms. When Macro’s patrols report that the natives in the vicinity of the garrison are thinning out, a terrible suspicion takes shape in the battle-scarred soldier’s mind. Has the acting Governor, Legate Quintatus, underestimated the enemy, his military judgement undermined by ambition? If there is a sophisticated and deadly plan afoot, it’s Cato and his men who will pay the price. Includes maps and charts.

Review

This for me is a return to form for Macro and Cato. I have been a fan of Simon’s work and this series since book one Under the Eagle, amazingly 15 years ago now. I remember that when this book came out i had to write to Simon (and use a stamp, not hit send)… amazing how far we have come in such a short time, its been great fun following Simon’s career. The last few books in the series i have made no secret (especially to Simon) have not lived up to the great books that came before, but now comes Britannia.

This book has the same dark gritty edge that the early books possess, but with the polished edge that defines Simon’s Writing. I’ve always thought that Macro and Cato are Simon’s older and younger self, and their banter and education is his older-self (Macro) educating and protecting his younger self from harm, but it ultimately being a fruitless exercise, as we never listen to our elders. (but that’s just me and i have odd book thoughts).

This book see’s Cato come into his own more than ever, for once Macro must take a back seat, Cato is the superior officer, and it is he who is at the forefront of the battle and danger presented to them on the march to destroy the Druids of Mona. Even here at the cold wet end of the world the politics of Rome reaches out to taunt and prod our pair of heroic soldiers in the form of potential future alliances, lending the story and extra edge.

But that is the least of their troubles, this is by far the darkest tale of the series, full of hunger, cold, death, battle, victories and defeats. The honesty of the battles in this book is brutal and unforgiving, whilst also being utterly engaging.

I was engrossed in the whole book, and hunkered down under the duvet at night as the men of the legion trudged through the rain and snow, Simon’s description being so vivid and to leave me chilled to the marrow, and my belly rumbling.

Finally my last couple of reviews had called out a lacking in the support cast, a bunch of faceless red shirts that the audience didn’t have an emotional connection with….. that’s not the case in Britannia, the Blood Crows become living breathing group, with quirks and personalities, and when they bleed and die you the reader feel it keenly.

I have to applaud Simon for this book, 14 books in and he manages to make the series fresh again, a new depth to Macro and Cato, a new edge to the Roman world and conflicts in Britannia, all achieved with style and a simply splendid plot line.

Highly recommended

(Parm)

I was lucky enough to be invited to an event in London just prior to the Launch of this book

Fans event in London

So off i headed down to London….. following my google map…. this road helped

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and got to the (very busy pub) where it seems someone asked Simon a tough questions

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helpful advice from hecklers didn’t help

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but this really stumped him

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for quite a while

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But being Simon he got there with a well thought out answer

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The event was perfectly run by this splendid lady, who was running a smiling competition

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She made it to the final against Simon

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Simon wasn’t happy at losing that competition

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Joe hadn’t noticed he had been disqualified

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My evening ended with some splendid views on the way back to get my train

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Series
Eagles of the Empire
1. Under the Eagle (2000)
2. The Eagle’s Conquest (2001)
3. When the Eagle Hunts (2002)
4. The Eagle and the Wolves (2003)
5. The Eagle’s Prey (2004)
6. The Eagle’s Prophecy (2005)
7. The Eagle in the Sand (2006)
aka The Zealot
8. Centurion (2007)
9. The Gladiator (2009)
10. The Legion (2010)
11. Praetorian (2011)
12. The Blood Crows (2013)
13. Brothers in Blood (2014)
14. Britannia (2015)



Wellington and Napoleon
1. Young Bloods (2006)
2. The Generals (2007)
3. Fire and Sword (2007)
4. The Fields of Death (2010)
The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet (omnibus) (2015)

Gladiator
1. Fight for Freedom (2011)
2. Street Fighter (2012)
3. Son of Spartacus (2013)
4. Vengeance (2014)
Roman Arena (with T J Andrews)
1. Barbarian (2012)
2. Challenger (2012)
3. First Sword (2013)
4. Revenge (2013)
5. Champion (2013)
Arena (omnibus) (2013)

Invader (with T J Andrews)
1. Death Beach (2014)
2. Blood Enemy (2014)
3. Dark Blade (2014)
4. Imperial Agent (2015)
5. Sacrifice (2015)

Novels
The Sword and the Scimitar (2012)
Hearts of Stone (2015)
Invader (2016) (with T J Andrews)
Novellas
Red Christmas (2014)
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