Ben Kane: Clash of Empires (Review)

Ben Kane

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Is a bestselling Roman author and former veterinarian. He was born in Kenya and grew up in Ireland (where his parents are from). He has traveled widely and is a lifelong student of military history in general, and Roman history in particular. He lives in North Somerset, England, with his family.

Clash of Empires  (2018)
(The first book in the Clash of Empires series)

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When a new empire rises, and old one must fall

After 16 years of bloody war against Rome, Hannibal Barca is on the verge of defeat. On the plains of Zama, Felix and his brother Antonius stand in the formidable Roman legions, ready to deliver the decisive blow. Victory will establish Rome as the pre-eminent power in the ancient world.

But in northern Greece, Philip V of Macedon is determined to restore Alexander the Great’s kingdom to its former glory. Charismatic leader, ruthless general, he will use the unforgiving might of his phalanx to unite Greece and to fend off Rome’s grasping fingers.

In Rome, young senator Flamininus is set on becoming one of the Republic’s greatest military commanders. With Hannibal on the verge of defeat, the as-yet-unconquered Macedon and Greece are ripe for conquest. Strategist and spymaster, politician and general, Flamininus will stop at nothing to bring Philip V to heel.

Demetrios slumps on the rowing bench of his Macedonian ship. Thirsty, hungry, burnt by the unforgiving Mediterranean sun, dreams are his only sustenance. Dreams of the perfect thrust of a 15-foot sarissa spear, of the unyielding phalanx wall, of the glory of Macedon.

The Roman wolf has tasted blood, and it wants more. But the sun of Macedon will not set without a final blaze of glory.

Review

Series five begins for Ben Kane with Clash of Empires, two empires butting up against one another, one a shadow of its once greatness but still with sharp teeth, and the other an Empire on the rise, growing, determined and ravenous for conquest.

Ben Kane’s books are always an annual treat, his ability to tell a tale from each and every side in  such a personal fashion has always been the uniqueness that brings me back book after book. Clash of Empires is no different, no matter how low each of the major players can go at some point Ben Kane has you rooting for them, You find sympathy for Flamininus despite his rampant ambition, you find sympathy and root for Philip despite his ruthless streak as king. Ben also lifts the narrative up and down, showing us the heights of power and the machinations of the political climates of both worlds, and then in the next breath takes us down to the dirt where the soldiers abide, to what drives them, what makes them stand in line and die, to the camaraderie and the drive of men with nothing but each other.

Its always easy to say a book is better than the last, because its fresh, its new and both of those things drive that vision of it being better. But in the case of this book its more, its an immersive read, a total absorption into the worlds of both Greece and Rome driving you both one way then the next, splitting your loyalties, despite knowing the history it makes you hope for different outcomes, living with the soldiers of both armies and somehow wanting all to survive and both to walk away winners.

Ben Kane has tapped into a fantastic period of history, one with a rich vein of story, and he writes it so well, this will appeal to fans of both Greek and Roman history and once read they will be hooked for this series…. and his others.

A highly recommended book

(Parm)

 

 

Forgotten Legion Chronicles
1. The Forgotten Legion (2008)
2. The Silver Eagle (2009)
3. The Road to Rome (2010)
Forgotten Legion Chronicles Collection (omnibus) (2012)
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Hannibal
1. Enemy of Rome (2011)
2. Fields of Blood (2013)
3. Clouds of War (2014)
The Patrol (2013)
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Spartacus
1. The Gladiator (2012)
2. Rebellion (2012)
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Pompeii (with Stephanie Dray, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter)
A Day of Fire (2014)
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Eagles of Rome
The Shrine (2015)
1. Eagles at War (2015)
2. Hunting the Eagles (2016)
3. Eagles in the Storm (2017)
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Clash of Empires
1. Clash of Empires (2018)
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Novellas
The Arena (2016)
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Filed under Ben Kane, Historical Fiction

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