Ben Kane : The Falling Sword (Review)

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(In his own words)

All about me – where to start? Well, I was born in Kenya, courtesy of the fact that my dad was working out there as a veterinarian. We moved to Ireland (where my parents are from) when I was 7, and that’s where I grew up. Did the usual school thing, whilst becoming an avid reader of just about any genre, but especially military and historical fiction. I spent nearly all my pocket money on books and devoured the contents of the local library. Favourites included Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s medieval tales, Sir Nigel and The White Company; I did love the Sherlock Holmes books too though. Other top books were Rosemary Sutcliffe’s Eagle of the Ninth and The Silver Branch, Henry Treece’s Viking sagas, as well as loads of fantasy – JRR Tolkien, Guy Gavriel Kay, Julian May, Roger Zelazny and Stephen Donaldson. I’ll stop now…

Although I loved reading, I never really thought about studying English or writing. Why, I’m not completely sure. As a real animal lover, all I’d ever wanted to be was a veterinarian, so that’s what I put on my university application form. Five years in college followed – a great time was had by all – and then a career in veterinary started. In 1996, I moved to the UK to concentrate on ‘small’ animal practice. But my itchy feet took me abroad in 1997, on a 3 month solo trip along part of the ancient Silk Road. Visiting the ruins of Merv, in Turkmenistan, started my interest in the Roman campaign into Parthia in 53 BC.

I felt the urge to travel again soon after returning, and in 1998, I set out on a trip around the world which lasted for nearly 3 years.  It was during this prolonged time abroad that I first had thoughts of writing military historical fiction – sparked first I think by wondering what I could do apart from being a veterinarian.

I returned to the UK in early 2001, dragging myself back to ‘reality’ and the ‘real world’ of a career, a mortgage and so on. The terrible Foot and Mouth outbreak occurred a month or so after my return, and I volunteered almost immediately. The work took me to the stunning county of Northumberland, and the buzzing city of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where I was to spend nearly a year. While the work of slaughtering livestock was truly awful – to put it mildly – I was able to visit some of the amazing Roman sites and museums along Hadrian’s Wall as well.

These were places that I had longed to visit as a child, and my imagination ran riot as I stood on the craggy ridges looking north, and wondering what the Italian legionaries first posted here must have thought. How had the Scottish tribes  reacted to the mighty structure which dwarfed anything they’d seen before? My determination to become a writer emerged then, and I started writing not long afterwards.

What started as a hobby soon became an obsession, and about four years later The Forgotten Legion emerged into the light. Through the hard work of Charlie Viney, my amazing agent, I managed to land a book deal in the summer of 2007. Things since then have been a bit crazy – working as a veterinarian, writing, having kids etc. but it’s great fun too. Thanks to my wife and son and newly arrived baby daughter for keeping me grounded, most of the time.

Author Web site

book cover of The Falling Sword

The thrilling follow-up to Clash of Empires – centred around the climax of the Roman invasion of Greece – from Ben Kane, the master of historical fiction.

One empire will rise Flamininus of Rome and Macedonian King Philip’s battle-hardened armies are on the march towards their final, climactic encounter.

The other must burn. The outcome will decide the fate of Greece. But, on opposite sides, legionary Felix and Phalanx soldier Demetrios have more pressing concerns: staying alive long enough to taste glory….

Review

I’m a big fan of Ben Kane and his writing, he writes books that stay with you long after you have finished reading, his style of writing for me is a slightly slower burn than … say Anthony Riches, but slower pace is tempered with deep deep characters, and always a switching of perspectives, there is never a bad guy, just opposing sides with opposing view points, and when you get down to the front line soldiers, just men who happen to be from somewhere else. His books are very human, very emotive and very real.

Falling Sword, takes the reader on the next leg of the journey for Flamminius of Rome and Philip of Macedon, but for me more importantly its the next struggle for survival for Felix and Demetrios, on opposing sides, but living a very similar existence, march, fight, go hungry, kill, protect their comrades and try not to die. The multi POV is something that Ben Kane is a master at, especially in this series, we see top down views from the leaders of each army and also bottom up from the soldiers. Ben Kane always has a great way of making you feel the weight of decisions and the results of those choices,  from battle changing or just simple immediate life for the soldier, the death and destruction isn’t just washed away with a new sentence, and yet at the same time it isn’t modern post traumatic reactions, because life and death are so much closer in the ancient world, there is regret and loss and also an inevitability of war.

So Falling Sword the latest from Ben Kane is an unmissable tour of the ancient world, full of emotion and action, drama and reality, humour and heartache. as always i highly recommend this and all his work (listed below by series)

and dont forget to follow Ben Kane on Facebook, he works tirelessly to raise money for charity, currently Park in the Past

(Parm)

(Keep an eye out for Cameos)

Series
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)
The March (2018)
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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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Eagles of Rome
0.5. The Shrine (2015)
1. Eagles at War (2015)
1.5. The Arena (2016)
2. Hunting the Eagles (2016)
3. Eagles in the Storm (2017)
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Clash of Empires
1. Clash of Empires (2018)
2. The Falling Sword (2019)
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1 Comment

Filed under Ben Kane, Historical Fiction

One response to “Ben Kane : The Falling Sword (Review)

  1. Pingback: Christian Cameron: The New Achilles (review) | parmenionbooks

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