Well, here it is! Brothers In Blood, the newest adventure in the series of Macro and Cato by none other than Simon Scarrow. And what a read it is! When you think you’ve read all of this before in another novel – or think you are reading a similar story line to a previous novel – you couldn’t be further from the truth. Scarrow has written another brilliant book in the series of Macro and Cato – with none of the repetition that may be evident in other book series.
That’s what really makes this book stand out from the others, and why the series as a whole is so enjoyable. There is no ‘usual situation’ that our heroes find themselves in, with them just going through the motions of everything seemingly going wrong when all suddenly works out. Rather, Scarrow has written each novel in such a way that it seems that everything is going wrong or it may be the end for our heroes, but it isn’t written in a manner that gives away the ending before you’ve reached it. Instead it has been written in such a great manner that you don’t know what’s coming round the next corner: will they survive, will he die, and will they be disgraced? This credible suspense is one of the qualities that sets this series apart from other sword-and-sandal adventures.
In Brothers In Blood, it has been a year since Cato was given command of the Blood Crows and Macro of the legionaries, and both legions are somewhat depleted in number from their last battle, due to being denied any replacements after being assigned baggage duty. Unbeknown to Macro and Cato, things are taking a turn for the worse in Rome. The emperor’s ‘freedmen’ have developed divided loyalties, with spies appearing everywhere. However, as is the norm for Rome, this breakdown in loyalty does not limit itself to Rome; the plague has spread to Britannia in the form of a ‘spy’. This ‘spy’ has the duty to upset and if possible prevent the pacification of Britannia which would give Claudius his victory and finally secure his place as emperor. If left unchecked, the ensuing chaos would pave the way for a new emperor and his bloodsucking “servants!”
One final battle could be all that is needed to subdue their archenemy Caratacus. While this may appear to be a straightforward plan and perfect for a simple frontal attack, there are other forces at work to prevent this ‘victory’. It will take all of the cunning and cool-headedness of our two heroes Macro and Cato to aid in the fight, and prevent any damage being done by the ‘spy’. To cap it all off, an old associate makes an unexpected appearance, once again becoming a thorn in the side of Macro and Cato.
This time the Romans venture as far as ‘God’s own County’, Yorkshire, “an’ thar mebbe in fir t’lot more than thar expected!”
This is a great read and is worthy of the acclaim that the author Simon Scarrow has received for his novels.