My first foray into Kane’s writing had been with “Clash of the Titans” it had been disappointing, with Simon Scarrow and Bernard Cornwell easily better writers and storytellers on that evidence. But I decided to give him another chance. I am glad I did.
“Eagles in the Storm” is the third part of a trilogy, not necessarily the best entry point for a new reader. To my surprise, and delight, what had gone before was no obstacle to my understanding of the story, or my enjoyment of it. Instead I discovered a tight, taut, novel which grabbed my attention from start to finish.
Set in AD 15. The German chieftain Arminius has been defeated, one of the lost Roman eagles recovered, and thousands of German tribesmen slain. But senior centurion Lucius Tullus has a score to settle, not only for his lost comrades, but for his legion’s honour, for Rome’s honour and for his own honour, the recovery of the lost eagle.
Arminius is the Germanic warlord opponent, fearless, brave, and an adept politician. Kane seems much more at home, and convincing, in exploring the intricacies and treachery of tribal alliances than he does Rome’s in “Titans”. Arminius , burning for revenge, raises another large tribal army, to confront the Roman invaders.
Tullus is brilliantly envisaged, and is very reminiscent of Scarrow’s centurion Macro. He epitomises what is good and morally right, while at the same time being perfectly happy to skewer and send to Hades as many barbarians as possible. What makes this story so strong, is that Rome and their Germanic opponents are credibly described, Tullus and Arminius are appealing opponents, and Kane underpins the story with a fragile Germanic Tribal alliance which might split at any time.
Kane also resists the temptation which Kane and Scarrow can be guilty of, making the defining confrontation of the book pivotal for Empires. This is primarily about personal confrontation and honour- and is much the better for it.
A great read, I intend to read the first two in this trilogy now, and risk the sequel to “Titans” in the hope that it improves.