Friday, November 16, 2018

Clash of Empires.. a review..

Whilst I've been aware of his output I can't say I've ever read any of Ben Kane's books (he wrote the 'Forgotten Legion' series among others) so this was a new try for me..

Set during the early years of what was to become the Roman  Empire the book is set at the end of the Punic wars, in fact one of the early chapters deals with the Battle of Zama and is told from the separate and opposed perspective of two lowly soldiers on each side of a new conflict - Macedonia (under King Philip V who's seeking to recover the glory of Alexander) and Rome (an emerging power looking to reign in Macedonian sea power)

More than anything though it is a story about old and new, about Phalanx versus Legion, and about a changing world as Rome begins to flex its muscles..

On the Macedonian side Demetrios starts of life as a rower in one of the merchant ships supporting the army - but he has dreams of becoming a phalangist, and through good luck, and friendship with the veteran Simonides, is invited to join their ranks...  the descriptions of fighting are stunning - the phalanx fought 16 ranks deep with the veterans in the first ranks, by the time you got to the sixth you knew you were increasing in authority as promotion was through the usual reasons...  On the Roman side we have Felix (and his brother Antonius), who are hastati in one of the Roman legions. He is present at the defeat of the Carthaginians at Zama but in the aftermath is dishonourably discharged after falling asleep on sentry duty..  life as a civilian is hard, and he and his brother are reduced to hard times, but when Rome declares war on Macedonia there is an urgent need for men for the legions, so despite the huge risk (death if they're found out) they re-enlist..

Brilliant story - likeable main characters (apart from the Roman senator ) can't wait for the next one - Steve the Wargamer rates this one 9 out of 10..

Right - back to wargaming - Warfare on Sunday, and DG and I have a game on Saturday evening - stay tuned..

3 comments:

  1. I have read some of his forgotten legion books and really enjoyed them so this sounds great!

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  2. Legatus - rolled along very nicely..

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