Third installment in Scarrow’s saga of Roman centurion Macro (The Eagle’s Conquest, 2002, etc.), who rose from obscurity to command legionaries in an obscure outpost of the Empire known as Britain.
Those who have followed Macro’s rise will know the terrain, but newcomers should have no trouble picking up in media res. An illiterate foot soldier who rose to become a centurion (rough equivalent of a modern captain) in the crack Second Legion, Macro has survived both combat and palace intrigue and finds himself beset now by the warring tribes of Britain in a.d. 44. Although the British warlord Caratacus was soundly defeated (in the last episode), he somehow managed to escape the battlefield alive and has been coordinating resistance efforts against the Roman occupiers ever since. Some of his fiercest allies are the Druids of the Dark Moon, a bloodthirsty and fanatical cult who maraud through the country arousing terror in Roman and Briton alike. The Druids even manage to capture the wife and children of the Roman General Plautius after a shipwreck, and they demand the release of Druid prisoners in exchange for their prisoners’ safe return. Since the Druids are fond of burning their captives alive in gigantic wooden totems known as Wicker Men, there’s little doubt what lies in store for the general’s family should he refuse to comply. But Macro and his faithful lieutenant Cato believe they can organize a rescue in time. Macro is aided by the dauntless Boudica, a tough daughter of the neutral Iceni tribe, who knows more about dealing with the Druids than ten centurions could ever learn. Together, Macro and Boudica manage something even more difficult than the raid itself—that is, fall in love.
An account of war and religious fanaticism with plenty of spice, though not up to the adventure level of the first two.