- Simon Scarrow
- ARRSE Rating
- 4.5 Mushroom Heads
Simon Scarrow (born 3 October 1962) is a British author. Scarrow completed a master's degree at the University of East Anglia after working at the Inland Revenue, and then went into teaching as a lecturer, firstly at East Norfolk Sixth Form College, then at City College Norwich.
He is best known for his Eagles of the Empire series of Roman military fiction set in the territories of the Roman Empire, covering the second invasion of Britain and the subsequent prolonged campaign undertaken by the rump of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. As of June 2019, there are 18 books in the series; the latest, "Day of the Caesars", was published in 2017 while "Blood of Rome" was published in 2018.
He has also written another series, Revolution, focusing on Wellington and Napoleon, whose first title, Young Bloods, was published in 2006. The second volume, The Generals, was released on 31 May 2007 and the third volume Fire and Sword was released in January 2009. The fourth and final novel of the series was released in Jun 2010 and is called The Fields of Death. He began publishing a new series in 2011 titled Gladiator, so far, four books have been published in the series.
Scarrow is my sort of author. He has a subject, he fleshes that subject out and gives it a back story and the adds new characters. His "Eagles of the Empire" series features two heroes; Macro - the hard-bitten, 15 year veteran of the Roman Legion; and Cato, a young, naive freedman from the Royal Palace. Cato has enlisted into the Legion when he first meets Macro. Macro is the archetypal Roman Centurion, tough, uncompromising and a typical soldier. Scarecrow build his narratives around these two central characters, relying on historical accuracy to portray life in the Legion.
One would be mistaken in thinking that Scarrow had served in the Roman Legion. He tells the story as if he lives it and the reader gets an insight into the workings of the greatest Army that existed in Europe at that time. My one criticism of his work is his use of common vernacular in place of that used at the time. I understand that soldiers swear a lot, I was one myself, but I feel too much use of that sort of language can be off-putting to some.
Putting that aside, Scarrow's books are a rattling good read, combining fact with writer's license. While each book in the series is a stand alone volume, they make more sense if read from number one, "Under the Eagle". If you mix them up, you lose some of the authenticity because you already know our heroes make it to the next volume.
An excellent series, well-written and well-researched.
Rating: An excellent 4.5 out of 5