- Taschenbuch: 497 Seiten
- Verlag: Review (5. Juli 2012)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 075535379X
- ISBN-13: 978-0755353798
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 12,9 x 3,3 x 19,6 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 4 Kundenrezensionen
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 37.082 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Praetorian (Eagles of the Empire, Band 11) (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 5. Juli 2012
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Simon Scarrow is a Sunday Times No. 1 bestselling author. His many successful books include his Eagles of the Empire novels featuring Roman soldiers Macro and Cato, most recently BROTHERS IN BLOOD, PRAETORIAN and THE LEGION, as well as HEARTS OF STONE, set in Greece during the Second World War, SWORD AND SCIMITAR, about the 1565 Siege of Malta, and a quartet about Wellington and Napoleon including the No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller THE FIELDS OF DEATH. He is the author with T. J. Andrews of the gladiator novel ARENA and the novellas in the INVADER series. Find out more at www.simonscarrow.co.uk and on Facebook /officialsimonscarrow and Twitter @SimonScarrow
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Once again Simon Scarrow delivers with the 10th sequel in this excellent series, this time with the indomitable Macro and Cato posing as members of the Praetorian Guard on a mission for the duplicitous Narcissus. The narrative is fast paced, full of intrigue and never lets up, a real page turner.
Eigentlich hätte die Geschichte eine Menge Potential gehabt, man hätte zB etwas daraus machen können, dass unsere höherrangigen römischen Freunde jetzt Legionäre spielen müssen. Dazu jede Menge Intrigen, Gefahr für Leib und Leben, Gefahr der Aufdeckung, irgendetwas? Nein. Leider. Klar, die Intrigen haben wir, aber die sind nicht übermäßig spannend, denn das Ermitteln plätschert ziemlich vor sich hin. Außerdem sind unsere Helden eigentlich niemals ernsthaft in Gefahr, weshalb die Spannung gegen Null tendiert. Mir blutet echt das Herz, denn ich mag die Reihe und speziell Macro und Cato (obwohl ich hoffe, Scarrow trennt sie irgendwann wieder, weil mir Macro als tumber Sidekick Catos weniger gefällt und er eher glänzt, wenn er allein agiert), aber das ist nun schon das zweite Buch in Folge, das mich weit weniger als begeistert oder gefesselt hat. Langsam denke ich ernsthaft darüber nach, ob diese Serie ihren Zenith nicht schon längst überschritten hat, was mich bekümmert. Lieber, lieber Scarrow, überrasche mich doch beim nächsten Mal!
I have to say that Scarrow manages it to implement more substance to his story in this book. It is not so onedimensional as his first books and it is very interesting to be introduced to the treacherous political world of ancient Rome. Needless to say that there is more than one incident involving a lot of violence, what will not surprise anyone who knows the writing-style of Scarrow.
There are also a lot of new characters, who are described out of the view of Macro and Cato. Sadly, we are getting no real inside into their thoughts, fears and hopes. The characters remain strangers to us. Simon Scarrow becomes better in introducing characters and in filling them with life, but there is still room for development.
Nevertheless, "Praetorian" is worth reading. Who is looking for a book full of action, suspense and, of course, our two favourite Romans, should definatly take a look at it. If you want a story with a litte bit more substance, you could be disappointed.
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Whilst undertaking the mission the pair is forced to deal with the imperial politicking of Narcissus and Pallas; tiptoe around the naked aims of the Empress Agrippina to advance her son Nero against those of Claudius' true son, Britannicus. The action commences soon enough with Macro and Cato coming up against a gang headed by the giant Cestius. The first skirmish in the streets of a rioting Rome has our heroes save the imperial family and work their way into Sinius' confidences as co-conspirators against Claudius. Having established their position all that remains is to work out who is really controlling the strings of the plot and where the grain supply is going. Having got the inept Lurco out of the way with a kidnap that also has the satisfaction of the annoying Vitellius from previous novels knocked cold and bound up, Cato and Macro find themselves being swept away by a burst dam, fighting gladiators at the Naumachia and then working out where the missing grain is being hidden just in time as Rome threatens to descend into a greater riot. A sodden trip into the Cloaca Maxima and a confrontation with Cestius leads to Cato and Macro racing back to the palace to thwart a final attempt on Claudius life and a denouement that reveals much, concludes little, of the politics of Rome and grants our protagonists a trip back to Britannia for their next outing.
I have liked Scarrow's novels ever since a fresh faced Cato appeared on the pages of the Augusta II with a crusty, plain-speaking centurion named Macro. The author's language is direct, he is clearly at his best when writing action scenes - though there is a five page philosophical almost-soliloquy by Cato around page 250 of the hardback version when he considers is legacy and the futility of the present... "The leaden sense of despair that it engendered weighed down upon Cato as he thought that this is how it was, is and would be for as long as those few with power were more concerned with accruing it for themselves rather than using it to better the lot of those they ruled." - and he keeps the `fill' to a minimum as Cato becomes the sleuth puzzling out who did what, when and where. Scarrow chooses to deliver his prose in modern format so we get words like "rake", "gangster" and "rabble" freely used amongst Macro's endearing soldier slang. There was only one typo that made it to the version this reviewer has read; somewhat amusingly Macro comments on the delights of "proper soldering" rather than "soldiering" on page 251.
Blacksmithing aside, Scarrow hits the spot unerringly. Eleven novels in the Roman series give the proof of the brilliance of what the author has achieved. As a reader, Cato and Macro have as much as place in the pantheon of Roman characters as Falco and Gordianus. Scarrow is as good as Davis and Saylor. Different in style, equal in success. The adventures of Cato and Macro are enjoyable and this latest instalment is as good as the rest. I hope the author continues with this pair for as long as he can.
Simon Scarrow has been true to form with book 11 of his series on two Roman officers during the reign of Emperor Claudius (first century CE). The story is well-written, fast-paced and gripping. Simon's historical research is top notch, as usual. Even some of the secondary characters, such as Praetorian tribune Burrus and Tigellinus are historical. The first indeed became Praetorian prefect and remained at that post during the first years of Nero's reign. The second replaced him and survived Nero, only to be killed the year after, during the "Year of the Four Emperors".
The twist of the book is that all of the action happens in Rome and it is more of a mix between a political thriller full of intrigue and plots and a spy story - no campaigns against "barbarians" somewhere on one of the borders this time! Simon has been doing this over the last few episodes, dropping campaigns in Britain for a episode against pirates in Illyria, then a couple of episodes in the East, also laced with conspirations that could threaten the Emperor, a slave revolt in Crete and an invasion of Egypt by the Nubians. The next hotspot, in this episode, is Rome and the aging Emperor whose life, reign and family seem threatened by all sides.
Two additional things make this book outstanding for me. One is the descriptions of Rome and of its inhabitants, which are not only historically accurate but also make the place and people almost come to life. The other is that Simon has managed to make us feel how gasthly it must have been to live in the Palace or among the senatorial class, with constant suspiçion and multiple plots to overthrow the Emperor (there were quite a few under Claudius). I particularly appreciated the character of Narcissus (I cannot say "liked", of course) because this is just how I imagine him to be as the Emperor's unofficial head of security: ruthless, cruel, devious, somewhat paranoïd (but surviving under such conditions made all of htem into paranoïds, more or less!) but devoted to the Emperor because his life depended on it.
One (very minor) grip perhaps: the book sometimes seems to hesitate between showing
Claudius as a half idiot, just like some of the previous episodes tended to do, and showing him as more intelligent than he looks. What it doesn't show is that Claudius was an extremely knowlegeable scholar (among many other things a historian of the Etruscans, who were the real ancestors of the Romans and NOT the Trojans). By and large, however, Simon seems to be more attracted to the portray of the idiot although Claudius was a survivor and very likely to have been more intelligent than he cared to show. It is also possible that his afflictions could mask this intelligence, especially to people who only had glimpses of him. What is sure, however, is that he did not at all cut an impressive figure and would all too easy to make fun of.
There are in fact two views of Claudius and this emperor remains a bit of an enigma to this day. One, largely propagated under Nero's reign, was that he was a a half-idiot and a cripple, who was chosen by the Praetorians just after his nephew Caligula had been murdered because they needed to put a pliable candidate on the throne in a hurry, before anyone else came up with one.
The other view can be found in Robert Grave's I, Claudius and Claudius the God, and is also shared by a number of modern historians: he did stammer (but so did a modern King of England, and that didn't make him into a bad monarch, did it?), he was a cripple and had a number of defects which could give a rather poor image of himself, especially if under stress. There is also a chance that he used these defects to ensure his survival during the reigns of his uncle Tiberius and his nephew Caligula at a time when little was needed to be purged and a relatively high number of members of the imperial family and of the Senate died in suspicious circumstances, starting with Claudius' own brother (Germanicus, father of Caligula).
A highly recommended book: buy it. You won't be able to drop it and, as you finish it, you'll already be asking for more of the same! At least I am...
Only in Rome could politics be as dangerous and bloody as the battlefield. Macro & Cato return to continue their forced servitude, care of the infamous snake, Narcissus. These two have survived using their wits, their courage, their gall, their brutality, and their luck. This time they'll need all of that to work in concert in order to make it through the next Narcissu's "Mission Impossible: Rome" adventure. Basically there is a plot to murder the Emperor, Claudius, and our two soldiers are asked (yeah, right) to help uncover the conspiracy. Of course the mission is never as straight forward as that, so while trying to figure out THAT simple mission they must also find out who is hoarding all the grain and starving Rome. Yep. How's that for a to-do list?
They must stop being soldiers for a while and become spies. This involves interesting things happening to their rank and names. Simon himself says that this isn't the usual battlefield blood and gore that we've come to love but the adventure is still there. I did miss reading about the legions cutting through bone and gristle to slaughter the enemy, but this book is in NO WAY a dud or boring. I found myself feeling that paradox of loving this book and hating myself for flying through it because I'll only have to patiently wait like Job for the next one.
There are also a number of funny passages in this book when listening to Emperor Claudius and you will crack up at some of the things that Macro says to Narcissu's face... and back. Both of these legionaries have grown throughout this series and after eleven books, they are as family. I don't reread a lot of books, and I can name the ones that I have reread on one hand. If I'm blessed to live a nice long life this will be a series that I will look forward to rereading in my golden years. If I don't live a long time, at least I've read them now. Melodramatic? Yeah... well who asked you? Well done Mr. Scarrow... well done.