Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Eagle in Exile continues the saga that Alan Smale started a year ago. His premise is that the Roman Empire continued unabated into the Middle Ages, and in the first book in the series, a Roman legion was sent to North America in 1218 CE and annihilated by the Amerindians of the Cahokia culture. In the review of the first book last year, I pointed out some of the things that bothered me about the author's premises, but I moved past that to enjoy the book on its merits.
And this installment is somewhat better. The author makes further assumptions that take into account other world developments at the time. The main character spends much of the book trying to broker peace between the various tribal confederacies of what is now the USA, in anticipation of the Romans coming back. He manages to do so, at the cost of considerable personal and societal upheaval among his adopted nation--and then finds that the Romans have come back in force, indeed with the actual emperor at the head of the force. The last part of the book deals with the protagonist's desperate encounters with the Romans and his near-miraculous survival, and his attempts to broker a peace between the Romans and the united Indian tribes. As the book ends, the Romans are about to head west into the Great Plains--to meet the Mongols of Genghis Khan, which no doubt will be the main story line of the final book of this saga.
Having read the first book, there wasn't a lot to surprise me in this book. It's a fascinating premise, if flawed on many levels, and in spite of the inaccuracies, it makes for great reading. And I must say that I did not see the Mongol aspect coming, and I am looking forward as to how this angle comes to a resolution at the end of the story.

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