Eagle in Exile by Alan Smale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Though Praetor Gaius Marcellinus, the sole survivor of his legion, has helped lead the nation of Cahokia to victory against the warlike Iroqua, he knows the price has been high--perhaps too high. He has not only witnessed now, over the course of years, the annihilation of his legion, but now the loss and devastation of his new adopted people. Nova Hesperia, as Roma has dubbed this new content, now stands fractured and weakened. He knows its people will fall to the Imperial legions that are no doubt heading this way. Even through his exile, he--and those who have chosen to accompany him--seeks a way to peace, not through submission, but through a united Nova Hesperia. But as word reaches him of Roma’s presence on the continent, all his plans may have been for naught.
This is Smale’s second installment in his Clash of Eagles trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed the first one, and this one exceeded it. Marcellinus is a complicated man, a hero we can all get behind. The Cahokians who travel with him are full-fledged characters, each with her or his own temperament and hopes. This work of alternate history is so thoroughly believable and well-thought out that I could almost wish it had come to pass. Smale does a wonderful job of keeping Rome feeling like Rome and Cahokia like Cahokia. I can’t recommend this series enough. Highly recommended.
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