Imagine if you will a world where Rome never fell.  A world where the Roman legions are the first Europeans to set foot in North America.  What would have happened?  How would the Romans have gone about their conquest of this new world?  This is what Alan Smale explores in Clash of Eagles. Through the eyes of Praetor Gaius Marcellinus, we follow the 33rd legion as they explore this new, unknown world in search of riches and glory for Rome.

As with any alternate history, you need to leave your own preconceived ideas and questions at the door.  Alan Smale is not going to rewrite several hundred years of history in a four hundred page book.  He has taken the glory that was the Roman Empire before its fall and has given them new lands to conquer.  Alan Smale has stayed true to what Rome was, and created a captivating character in the form of Gaius Marcellinus.  He pulls the reader into the story that he is telling.

The clash of Roman legions against Native Americans would have been an interesting conflict.  These two cultures are so polar opposite in their ways of life, growth and how they fit into their surroundings.  The interaction between these cultures is very well done, the ethnocentric Romans fail to understand the complexity of the new cultures they have found and they take them for granted.  The Roman hubris is their ultimate downfall.

Clash of Eagles is a well written and satisfying story.  It does leave me with plenty of questions about the past and the future of the world that Alan Smale has created.  I am looking forward to answers in book 2.

*4 Stars

Clash of Eagles

By Alan Smale

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