Category Archives: Ben Kane

Ben Kane: Eagles in the Storm (Review)

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Ben Kane 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.
 Eagles in the Storm  (2017)
(The third book in the Eagles of Rome series)

book cover of Eagles in the Storm

AD 15. The German chieftain Arminius has been defeated, one of the lost Roman eagles recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain.

Yet these successes aren’t nearly enough for senior centurion Lucius Tullus. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion’s eagle found and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest.

But Arminius – devious, fearless – is burning for revenge of his own.

Charismatic as ever, he raises another large tribal army, which will harry the Romans the length and breadth of the land.

Soon Tullus finds himself in a cauldron of bloodshed, treachery and danger.

His mission to retrieve his legion’s eagle will be his most perilous yet…

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Review

Ben Kane is one of a select few authors, who writes books that sit in the category of “Must” read. The problem this creates for him and similar authors is that they have to compete with themselves and my ever increasing expectations. Now i’m utterly unqualified to know if Bens research is 100% accurate, i wish i could retain all the detail, but i do know the work he puts into ensuring it is, i do know when a book feels authentic and impassioned, and this like all his other work sits firmly in that category, this is a writer who has put himself in the kit and walked the miles to understand the pain of the legionary.

Once for our roman and Germanic friends time moves on, Arminius still hungers for Roman blood, but it will not be so forthcoming, not under a real General such as “Germanicus”, the legions are taking the fight well and truly to the Germanic tribes, the sneaky tricks of his traitorous actions are well known and less and less likely to defeat any further legions. Those few few men to survive the bloodbath that Varus led them into are eager for revenge, none more so than Centurion Lucius Tullus, Vengeance burns through him, drives him to greater and greater acts of martial heroics, desire for perfection from his troops and defeat for any and all barbarians. He wants Arminius’ head on a spike and he wants his legions eagle back. Opposite him is arminius, with an equal burning passion to tear down anything Roman that treads in his world, but also to make himself King or even Emperor of the Germanic Tribes, he is a man of both and neither world, more Romanised that he cares to admit.

This book takes you on many journeys from so many perspectives: You have both the opposing perspectives of Arminius and Tullus, riven by rage and a desire to destroy their opposing enemy. The difference being Arminius will do at any cost, no matter who he destroys in the process, Tullus only seems to be hell bent on destroying himself as he tries to come to grips with his foe, its his love for his men that pulls him back from the abyss. Tullus men bring the humour and the boots on the ground squaddie view, the everyday, among the destruction, the distance of orders and yet the close proximity of the action to give a uniquely close perspective of the fighting. There are some real laugh out loud moments in this book from characters like Piso, likewise there are some truly shocking irrevocable moments startling in their waste and pointlessness. I  loved this book, there are some startling shocks in there that make it very real. At times its light, at times its dark, its melancholy, its brilliantly funny and poignantly thought provoking… its got so much packed into it and is a real winner, this years bar met and exceeded Ben, bravo!

Highly recommended

(Parm)

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)
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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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Novellas
The Arena (2016)
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Filed under Ben Kane, Historical Fiction

Ben Kane Hunting the Eagles (2016) Review

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Hunting the Eagles  (2016)
(The second book in the Eagles of Rome series)
A novel by Ben Kane

Hunting the Eagles (Eagles of Rome)

AN ARMY DEFEATED

AD 14: Five long years have passed since the annihilation of three legions in the wilds of Germania. Although the bones of 15,000 soldiers now moulder in the Teutoburg Forest, not all the Romans were slain in the bloody ambush.

A CENTURION OUT FOR VENGEANCE

Demoted, battle-scarred and hell-bent on revenge, Centurion Tullus and his legionaries begin their fightback. Ranged against them is the charismatic chieftan Arminius, who is gathering thousands of hostile tribesmen, and determined to crush the Romans for a second time.

AN EAGLE RECOVERED

The eagle belonging to Tullus’ old legion is still in enemy hands, but as the Romans’ reprisals take their army deep into German tribal lands, he remains convinced that it is within reach. But Arminius and his warriors are perilously close. As battle begins, Tullus and his comrades know they must fight as never before – just to stay alive…

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Review

Reading a Ben Kane book is always a different experience from all the other Roman books i normally read. There seem to be so many types and styles since Rome became the bedrock of Historical Fiction, from the cut and thrust of the bloody swords and sandals to devious machinations of roman politics and criminal nefarious enterprise and rooting it out with only the tools and minds of the time. But with Ben i always feel you get something totally different. You get undiluted history, told in such an honest personal emotive way that you cannot help but be pulled into the legion, to share the toil and travails of his characters, and hope that you survive to the end.

Once again we Journey with Centurion Tullus, and his surviving men of the 18th. Its 6 years since the disaster that befell Varus in https://parmenionbooks.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/ben-kane-eagles-at-war-review/, the enmity and disgrace burns differently in each man, but in no one stronger than Tullus. The menace that is Arminius has not gone away, Rome has collected its-self and under the generalship of Germanicus is set to exact a terrible revenge. As usual the biggest obstacle in Romes way is its self. Underpaid, under appreciated, and disaffected the legions have had enough, the men want to be heard, they want to fight for Rome, but they want to be appreciated for their pains and for their lives.

Ben Kane gives us a very intimate view from multiple perspectives of the personal opinions and emotions of those involved on all sides of this story. We experience Tullus and his driving need to discard his demons, to make amends for those men he left behind, we feel the raw emotion and love of his men like Piso who cannot truly thank a superior who saved them from a horrific end, but are determined to live up to everything he needs from them. We spend time from the German perspective with Arminius and feel the burning hatred for the Roman interloper, and his constant battle to keep the disparate tribes together to combat the united force that is Rome. We get all this, down to the wet socks, aching legs, rumbling bellies and inner fear, right up to the political maneuvers and crushing of rebellion, this literally is the blood sweat and tears or Roman Fiction.

All this Ben manages  and more, and kept me riveted to the page for every word. You will honestly struggle to find any more real characters in any Roman book.

I highly recommend this and all Ben Kane’s books, if you have not read his work… why?? please go do so, all his titles are listed below.

(Parm)

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)
Hannibal
1. Enemy of Rome (2011)
2. Fields of Blood (2013)
3. Clouds of War (2014)
The Patrol (2013)
Spartacus
1. The Gladiator (2012)
2. Rebellion (2012)
Pompeii (with Stephanie Dray, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter)
A Day of Fire (2014)
Eagles of Rome
The Shrine (2015)
1. Eagles at War (2015)
2. Hunting the Eagles (2016)
Novellas
The Arena (2016)

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Filed under Ben Kane, Historical Fiction, Uncategorized

Ben Kane : Eagles at War (Review)

Author: Ben Kane

Author Bio

Click above for author bio info: (and visit his wonderful web site)

eagles at war

Buy a signed book

BASED ON REAL HISTORICAL EVENTS

A TIME FOR VENGEANCE

AD 9, German frontier: Close to the Rhine, a Roman centurion, Lucius Tullus, prepares to take his soldiers on patrol. On the opposite side of the river, German tribes are resentful of the harsh taxes about to be imposed upon them. Suspicious that there might be unrest, Tullus knows that his men’s survival will be determined not just by their training and discipline, but by his leadership.

A TIME FOR WAR

What neither Tullus nor his commander, Governor Varus, realise is that ranged against them is the charismatic chieftain and trusted ally of Rome, Arminius, who has long been plotting to drive the Romans from the tribal lands east of the Rhine.

A TIME TO DIE

As Varus’ legions prepare to leave their summer encampment, thousands of warriors – directed by Arminius – are massing nearby. Eager to throw off the Roman yoke, the tribesmen prepare a deadly ambush. Only the gods can save the Romans now…

Review

I am somewhat torn by this book, on the one hand the writing is simply brilliant, as ever Ben Kane has impeccable attention to detail and history, driven by his knowledge of marching in roman kit, and having walked the ground in Germany, couple that with his passionate research of the subject and empathy for the subject, all you can expect is brilliant writing.

But: and this is purely personal, i think every person will experience this in their own way; I found that i was being led down an inevitable path and for me it robbed the plot of some of its power and pace. Couple that with the absolute certainty that Arminius was destined to betray the legions it took some of the sinister edge and suspense, you know he isn’t going to get caught. The foil to this is the simply brilliant character of Tullus, who i’m personally convinced is Tony Riches given life in AD9. A man bigger than the room, who you want to follow, who inspires, a man who lifts others with the weight of his personality and presence. (don’t tell him i said so)

This character powers the reader through the lead up to the inevitable ambush, and then at this point the story explodes into life for me. The story can enter the realm of unknowns, allowing the author to finally break the bounds of history and give free reign to his story telling talent. It was the slog through the dark boggy forest, dragging the remnants of his dying legion that made me love this book. The reader bleeds with every mile, suffers the horror of putting friends down to save them from the Germanic tribes, and the shame of leaving behind their pride and their friends, its the hope that kills you with every page.

By the end of the book i was forced to agree that this book is Ben Kane’s best work, (my fav is still Forgotten Legion though).

you must buy this book, and begin this wonderful journey. Because this is a story so powerful it leaves a mark

(Parm)

Forgotten Legion Chronicles

1. The Forgotten Legion (2008)
2. The Silver Eagle (2009)
3. The Road to Rome (2010)
The Forgotten LegionThe Silver EagleThe Road to Rome
Hannibal
1. Enemy of Rome (2011)
2. Fields of Blood (2013)
3. Clouds of War (2014)
The Patrol (2013)
Enemy of RomeFields of BloodClouds of WarThe Patrol
 Spartacus
1. The Gladiator (2012)
2. Rebellion (2012)
The GladiatorRebellion
Pompeii (with Stephanie Dray, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter)
A Day of Fire (2014)

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Filed under Ben Kane, Historical Fiction

Ben Kane : Clouds of War (Review)

Author: Ben Kane

kane

Author Bio

Click above for author bio info: (and visit his wonderful web site)

Book description

Clouds of War

Buy a Signed copy from Goldsboro Books

As Rome’s war with Carthage continues, two friends – now on opposing sides – confront each other in one of the most brutal sieges of all time. A new Hannibal novel by the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Forgotten Legion series.

213 BC. Syracuse. Under the merciless Sicilian sun, a city is at war.

Outside the walls, a vast Roman army waits. Yet the city’s incredible defences, designed by Archimedes, mean that Syracuse will not be taken easily.

A veteran of the bitter war since its beginning, Quintus is ready to give his life in the service of the Republic. But dangers face him from within his own ranks as well as from the enemy – who include his former friend, the Carthaginian, Hanno.

Hanno has been sent by his general Hannibal to aid Syracuse in its fight against Rome. Pledged to bring death to all Romans, he is diverted from his mission by the discovery of Quintus’ sister Aurelia, a captive within the city.

Two friends on opposing sides. A woman caught between them. They are about to meet in one of the most brutal sieges of all time.

Who will survive?

Review:

Its very easy for a lot of historical fiction to get classed as swords and sandals. Most peoples who dont read the genre have the impression thats its a bit of a dry, wordy style book with a lot of stabby stabby blood, war death maybe some sex and then the end. Firstly Swords and Sandals is so much more than that, there is humor, comradeship, tactics, fighting skills, characters and more, so never judge a book by its label.

That said Clouds of War is not swords and sandals in my opinion, so if you read the genre or not this book is something different, something much more personal, its a history lesson, its a life lesson, its a story of love, life, grief, both personal and national and romance. Its a book filled on a very personal level, it has an energy, a pace and a deep love of history you don’t find in many books, and not many authors have the skill to carry off.

As usual with my look at a book, i’m not going to risk spoilers, or try and pull apart the plot, too much chance of spoiling the book for others. The book blurb tells you all about this stage of the story of Hanno, Quintus and Aurelia. What i will talk about is once again is Ben’s amazing writing. There are a few authors who can leave me thinking about a book for more than an hour or so after i finish the review, There are even fewer who can elicit a real emotional response. Maybe i’m a sentimental old Granddad these days, but some of the familia led plot was just heartrending. I guarantee that this book will reduce some readers to absolute tears. Where with Anthony Riches you know that at some point someone is going to get a yard of steel through the guts, its almost part of the boys own action of it. With Ben it again is no surprise to see death, but it could be murder, famine, thirst, disease or war and it might not be just a family member it could be a whole village, a legion anyone. The man is so much more brutal when it comes to mortality, but only in terms of relaying the brutality of life and war in the ancient world.

Ben probably more than any writer shows you life in the ancient world, warts and all. And none of that should put a reader off, just the opposite, you MUST buy this book. This is the culmination of years of writing lessons learned, adding all the feedback, adding every nuance and experience to his writing skill.

This truly is a must buy Highly recommended book

(Parm)

Forgotten Legion Chronicles

1. The Forgotten Legion (2008)
2. The Silver Eagle (2009)
3. The Road to Rome (2010)
The Forgotten LegionThe Silver EagleThe Road to Rome
Hannibal
1. Enemy of Rome (2011)
2. Fields of Blood (2013)
3. Clouds of War (2014)
The Patrol (2013)
Enemy of RomeFields of BloodClouds of WarThe Patrol
 Spartacus
1. The Gladiator (2012)
2. Rebellion (2012)
The GladiatorRebellion
For those not aware authors Ben Kane, Anthony Riches & Russ Whitfield will be doing another fantastic charity walk in 2014

They are walking from Capua to the Forum in Rome in late April 2014, raising money for: MSF – Médecins Sans Frontières & Combat Stress. Last Year over £18,000 was raised, lets see if we can help them top that this year. (there is also a film crew this year, so i fully expect some fun, interesting and crazy footage in the near future)

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Filed under Ben Kane, Historical Fiction