The Eagle’s Vengeance is the sixth book in the Empire series of Anthony Riches, following the steps to revenge for Marcus Valerius Aquila, whose entire family was branded as treacherous, and murdered during the rise of Emperor Commodus by the ‘Emperor’s Knives’.
Now, after their successful yet costly completion of the ‘short’ campaign in Dacia in Wolf’s Gold, the Tungrian Auxiliary cohort is returning to Britannia. Little do the Tungrians know that the legions of Britannia are overworked and overstretched. And it gets better; the enemy leader of the barbarians, Calgus, has reappeared after he was left for dead by Marcus at their last meeting, and is now stirring up trouble for the Romans with the tribes north of the Antonine Wall.
As if the Roman legions being overstretched wasn’t bad enough, the Eagle of the sixth legion – which was lost to the barbarians in the battle in Wounds of Honour – must be recovered if the sixth legion is to survive and not be disbanded. This would have a disastrous effect not just on morale, but the breaking up of the sixth legion would lead to fewer legionaries than Roman custom dictates. A legion that is broken up will have every tenth soldier of a century crucified, to warn other legions of the fate of those who lose the legion’s Eagle, a symbol touched by the Emperor himself.
This task falls to the Tungrian Auxiliaries, as they are the only soldiers able to go north of the Antonine Wall – due to a mutiny committed by the other legions after the current governor ordered the re-taking and manning of the wall. Marcus – or ‘Two Knives’ as his century like to call him – is tasked with going ahead of the main body of the auxiliaries to reclaim the Eagle. However, even though he is using a different name to avoid detection by the ‘Emperors Knives’, they are still hunting, and the tribesmen that currently hold the Eagle have a few tricks up their sleeves. Two Knives and his men must be on their guard like never before – but not just in Britannia.
This is a thrilling read that you won’t want to put down, even when your eyes start to tire! Anthony Riches paints a brilliant picture of what is happening in a historical context, and at the same time tells an excellent story that will have you hooked.
The Eagle’s Vengeance gives an excellent insight into the camaraderie that was and is present between soldiers, who depend on each other to survive. In a Roman century, your fellow soldiers are more than friends. They are brothers. Enjoy!