Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: Clash of Eagles

Clash of EaglesClash of Eagles by Alan Smale
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

What a satisfying read. Imagine an alternate history where Rome didn't fall, and was responsible for leading the age of discovery into the New World. How would their early encounters with the Native Americans go?

This book turned out to be much more than a "what if?" situation, developing into a richly constructed historical fantasy. While the author mentions it as the first of a trilogy, the story here is pretty much self-contained. Still, I'll definitely want to read more!

The pacing is good, though a bit on the slow side. It feels alright though, as it takes time to properly world-build and to get the key players into place. Smale does a good job keeping it interesting even at points where he has to make brief info-dumps. It's a little a time, and is interspersed with bits of humor and action scenes.

And the battles! Oh yes, Bernard Cornwell take note. Alan Smale can stir the dust and kick up a shit storm with his epic battles. In many books, these grow tedious, but here they managed to hold my interest all the way though. Easy to visualize, you feel like you're right there in the heart of it all.

But really, this book is more than the sum of its parts. It's more than a Native American story with Romans dumped in for flavoring. It's more than cool battle sequences. I think what we'll see in the final product won't be really known until the trilogy is complete. I for one am looking forward to the journey.

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