In A.D. 1218, Praetor Gaius Marcellinus is ordered to conquer North America and turning it into a Roman province. But outside the walls of the great city of Cahokia, his legion is destroyed outright; Marcellinus is the only one spared. In the months and years that follow, Marcellinus comes to see North America as his home and the Cahokians as his kin. He vows to defend these proud people from any threat, Roman or native.
After successfully repelling an invasion by the fearsome Iroqua tribes, Marcellinus realizes that a weak and fractured North America won’t stand a chance against the returning Roman army. Worse, rival factions from within threaten to tear Cahokia apart just when it needs to be most united and strong. Marcellinus is determined to save the civilization that has come to mean more to him than the empire he once served. But to survive the swords of Roma, he first must avert another Iroqua attack and bring Cahokia together. Only with the hearts and souls of a nation at his back can Marcellinus hope to know triumph.
I received this book from NetGalley for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.
It’s been more than 5 years since I began the story of Gaius Marcellinus in book one, Clash of Eagles. Then, I was a new teenager and though I absolutely loved the story, it was pretty inappropriate (in my standards at the time–now, I’d consider it only a PG-13 rating) for my age and I dropped the book only giving it 2 stars. But even now, 5 years later, the story of Gaius has been one of my favorites and I have found myself talking about this book on more than one occasion, so last year, I picked up Clash of Eagles where I left off and started Eagle in Exile shortly after.
Eagle in Exile is the sequel to Clash of Eagles, but it’s not a stand alone. So you definitely do NOT want to pick this one up before Clash of Eagles, you will be lost, I promise! There is just as much action and politics in this alternative, historical North American story as the first book had had. I would say Eagle in Exile is actually better than the first book in a few ways. For one, the characters seemed more easily distinguishable to me in this book. Bringing in tribal North American culture and Roman culture together produces names that were hard enough to pronounce, much less remember, but I had a much easier time in Eagle in Exile in telling which characters were who. I think it’s because the key characters actually started to act differently in book two and they were far more distinct and individual in their personalities, instead of being just mass characters in a tribe, as they had been in the first book.
The storyline is still pretty incredible and there were some twists that I didn’t see coming, and some that I waited for in anticipation. There is a LOT to the story, so don’t try to read it in one night. This is a trilogy that you pace yourself reading, almost like watching a TV show. Each book covers, in detail, a year at least, if not more, so you can think of each book as a season of a TV show, and each chapter is it’s very own episode (seriously, there is something totally different going on in every chapter!).
There are a couple of reasons that I’m only giving Eagle in Exile 3 stars instead of 5 though. One, there is definitely some high TV-14, if not low TV-MA, rated content. Sexual content consists of some semi-detailed mentions of women’s nakedness and a royal, tribal sex scene (they are all high on some sort of weed as well, and lots of drinking), HOWEVER, these are very mild descriptions to set the scene, not actions that the main character indulges in (Gaius is a great guy folks, admirable even!) so, it settled a bit different with me. That’s just what happened during this time period and it made the book more historically accurate. The blood and gore is pretty detailed as well, so it’s not a book for the squeamish.
So, overall, the story of Gaius Marcellinus is one I recommend to lovers of alternative historical timelines, because this one is an excellent one. But definitely beware of the content that comes with these types of stories. In my opinion, this series is pretty mild compared to other shows I’ve watched, but it might be a lot to someone else.