|Pirates and Privateers
The History of Maritime
Cindy Vallar, Editor
P.O. Box 425,
Keller, TX 76244-0425
Adults ~ Historical Fiction: Pirates & Privateers
The Eagle’s Prophecy
By Simon Scarrow
St. Martin’s, 2006, ISBN 978-0-312-32454-4, US $24.95
In A.D. 45, pirates attack a
merchant ship carrying an imperial agent
named Secundus. In his possession is a
chest of scrolls. These are not ordinary
scrolls – they contain information that
can devastate Emperor Claudius and the
Roman Empire. When the pirate captain,
Telemachus, realizes their worth, he
demands a high ransom for their release.
At the same time, he negotiates with the
emperor’s enemies to see which side will
pay the highest price for the knowledge
contained in the scrolls. Telemachus’s
reign of terror on shipping also makes it
imperative for Rome to deal swiftly and
decisively to retrieve the scrolls and
destroy the pirates.
Implicated in the death of a fellow
centurion, Macro and Cato are in Rome
awaiting the outcome of the investigation.
Narcissus, the imperial secretary, offers
them a way out of their troubles: retrieve
the scrolls and his agent (if possible).
If they succeed, the investigation
disappears; if they don’t, both will die.
To complicate their mission, they must
appear to be part of the force assigned to
wipe out the pirates. The leader of this
task force is none other than Vitellius, a
power-hungry man who is also Macro and
Vitellius plans to establish a temporary
base closer to where the pirates operate,
but the fleet is attacked at sea. Ships
are lost and many Romans die. It soon
becomes apparent that there’s a traitor
amongst the Romans. Cato discovers that
Vitellius is intent on betraying him and
Macro before they complete their mission.
Will the two centurions recover the
scrolls and live to fight again? Will they
unmask the traitor before it’s too late?
Or will Vitellius’s vanity and thirst for
prestige and power bring about their
downfall, as well as that of the empire?
The Eagle’s Prophecy is the latest
installment in a series about the Roman
army, but those who haven’t read the
previous five books will easily find
themselves drawn into this adventurous
tale of intrigue and betrayal. Scarrow’s
portrayal of life in Rome vividly
contrasts opulence and poverty, drawing
the reader in until he/she walks (and
sometimes runs) along the streets with the
centurions. His depiction of the hunt for
the pirates and the battle scenes subtly
ensnare until the reader hears the clang
of swords and feels the spatter of blood.
Few authors write about ancient pirates,
but Scarrow’s portrayal of them is
historically accurate and eye-opening.
They are as fully developed as his Roman
characters, and combined with the action
and his attention to detail, he brings
alive a time long past.
Review Copyright ©2007
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