The word epic is overused to describe books, but with Clash of Empires it fits like a gladius in its scabbard. What Kane does, with such mastery, is place the big story - Rome vs Greece - in the background, while making this a story about ordinary men caught up in world-defining events. Men bonded by friendship and blood. Some seeking acceptance or honour or revenge. A few grasping for power and glory, but most ultimately just trying to stay alive. I for one was fascinated by the differing tactics, fighting styles and weapons, as represented by the Roman cohort and the Greek phalanx. Or, as exhibited close up and personal in the flashing melee of the gladius and pike. These contrasts seemed to speak, with horrific eloquence, of the slaughter of the classical world of Homer and Alexander. In short, I haven't enjoyed a book this much for ages. There aren't many writers today who could take on this story and do it well. There might be none who could do it better than Ben Kane.
Ben Kane manages to marry broad narrative invention with detailed historical research . . . in taut, authoritative prose . . . his passion for the past, and for the craft of story-telling, shines from every page of Clash of Empires
Fans of battle-heavy historical fiction will, justly, adore Clash of Empires. With its rounded historical characters and fascinating historical setting, it deserves a wider audience
This thrilling series opener delivers every cough, spit, curse and gush of blood to set up the mighty clash of the title. Can't really fault this one - pure man joy.
A powerful and vivid historical novel that moves along at chariot-race speed.
Ben Kane's new series explores the bloody final clash between ancient Greece and upstart Rome, focusing on soldiers and leaders from both worlds and telling the story of a bloody war with style
A thumping good read. You can feel the earth tremble from the great battle scenes and feel the desperation of those caught up in the conflict. Kane's brilliant research weaves its way lightly throughout
It's a broad canvas Kane is painting on, but he does it with vivid colours and, like the Romans themselves, he can show great admiration for a Greek enemy and still kick them in the balls
Exceptional. Kane's excelled once again in capturing the terror and the glory . . . of the ancient battlefield, and this story is one that's been begging for an expert hand for a long time
Carried off with panache and Kane's expansive, engaging, action-packed style. A complex, fraught, moving and passionate slice of history from one of our generation's most ambitious and engaging writers.
Grabs you from the start and never lets go. Thrilling action combines with historical authenticity to summon up a whole world in a sweeping tale of politics and war. A triumph!