The Eagle Series is a historical military fiction series written by Simon Scarrow. The books describe the lives of two officers in the Imperial Roman army - Quintus Licinius Cato and Lucius Cornelius Macro. The first book concerns the induction of Cato, his transition from imperial slave to junior officer and the lifelong friendship he forges with Centurion Macro. The following 4 books in are set in Britain, between the years AD 42 and 44 - detailing the Roman subjugation of the province alongside court intrigue that often leaves the protagonists in receipt of contempt from the Roman political class. The Eagle's Prophecy opens with the two on leave in the city of Rome, and The Eagle in the Sand is set in the province of Judea. Centurion is set in Palmyra - once a buffer state between the empires of Rome and Parthia, The Gladiator, is set on Crete with, The Legion, being set in the province of Egypt. The 11th book Praetorian is set in Rome. The 12th and latest book "The Blood Crows" is set in Britain.
Macro, a veteran with 16 years service on the first books opening has recently been appointed to the Centurionate. Cato is the son of an Imperial Freedman (former slave) in direct service of Emperor Claudius. Being a slave himself, and the property of the state, he was given an opportunity by the Emperor as a favour to Cato's late father to enlist in the legions and be given his freedom. Cato has liven a relatively luxurious life as a slave within the Imperial Palace, in comparison to the rank and file of the legions, and after accepting the Emperor's offer he joins the Legio II Augusta as Macro's Optio.
In overview, the books in their entirety document Macro and Cato's attempts to live a soldier's simple life - however Cato's former connections to the Imperial Court make this difficult - and through association with Cato, Macro also finds himself the object of the upper classes' intrigue and struggles for supremacy.
Since the 10th book 'Centurion' the author has refrained from using 'Eagle' in the books title - the reason for this is unknown, however some speculate that this has been done in effort to make the books accessible to a wider audience.
There are 12 books in the series as well as the short story 'Blood Debt':
- Under the Eagle (2000)
- The Eagle's Conquest (2001)
- When the Eagle Hunts (2002)
- The Eagle and the Wolves (2003)
- The Eagle's Prey (2004)
- The Eagle's Prophecy (2005)
- The Eagle in the Sand (2006)
- Centurion (2008)
- The Gladiator (2009)
- The Legion (2010)
- Blood Debt (2009, short story)
- Praetorian (2011)
- The Blood Crows (2013)
- Brothers In Blood (2014)
- Britannia (forthcoming 22 Oct 2015)
Lucius Cornelius Macro:
He is the epitome of a good soldier. He is dependable in a fight and does not question any orders given to him by a senior officer. In Under the Eagle he is the centurion of the Sixth Century, of the Fourth Cohort, of the Second Legion Augusta. By the time of The Eagle in the Sand he has risen to become the acting prefect in charge of Fort Bushir in Judea. Macro has been close friends with Cato since the latter saved the former's life in the first book 'Under the Eagle'.
Quintus Licinius Cato:
When we first meet Cato in 'Under the Eagle', he is a very tall, weak looking boy from the Imperial Palace, who has been made to join the army as part of the terms of gaining his freedom. As he seems to be too weak to be in the army, many of the officers including Macro, place bets on how long it will be before he quits, or is killed. He is promoted to the rank of Optio immediately (on orders from the Emperor) which causes the officers, and his fellow recruits to resent him further. He is however, extremely determined and proves the officers wrong throughout the series. Macro is extremely intrigued by Cato. He attains the rank of Centurion at the end of the book When the Eagle Hunts. During the events of Centurion, he is promoted to acting prefect of the Second Illyrian. Half-way through The Gladiator Cato is promoted to the rank of tribune for his mission to Egypt, temporarily outranking Macro, but at the end of book he is confirmed in the rank of prefect. In The Legion Cato joins a legion along with Macro. Both men receive temporary promotions, with Cato being promoted to the rank of Acting Senior Tribune, and Macro being promoted to Primus Pilus(He is names as "First Spear Centurion", however the literal meaning of Primus Pilus is First Line Centurion). In a short encounter with a senior surgeon, Cato is mistaken for a "More Junior Officer", this proves that Cato's age is still a concern among other ranks. In Praetorian Cato and Macro go undercover to foil a plot by The Liberators as ordinary Praetorian Guardsmen.
Julia first appears in Centurion trapped in the citadel with the senator who is her father. She survives and becomes Cato's lover and agrees to marry him at the end of Centurion. She also appears with her father in The Gladiator when they are shipwrecked on Crete and is Captured by Ajax but escapes him at the end of the book.
She appears in the first two books and is the lover of both Cato and Vitellius. She is a slave-girl who is owned by Flavia, Vespasian's wife. In the Eagle's Conquest she betrays Cato and unwittingly helps Vitellius try to assassinate the Emperor. However when the plot fails Vitellius kills both her and the assassin to cover himself.
Vespasian is the Legate of the Second Legion and Marco and Cato's commander in the first five book's during the invasion of Britain. Vespasian also appears in The Eagle's Prophecy as the Prefect of the naval fleet. Vespasian is often fighting in the front line with his men but is consistently at edge with his tribune Vitellius who threatens him with the knowledge that Vespasian's wife Flavia is a member of the Liberators who want to overthrow the Emperor.
An imperial spy with disturbing ambition who attempts to assassinate the emperor during The Eagle's Conquest and steal Caesar's pay chest in Under the Eagle but is thwarted by Macro and Cato both times. In The Eagle's Prophecy he is the Prefect of the naval fleet but is replaced by Vespasian who leaves him to die at one point. However Vitellius survives with Claudius and Narcissus unaware of his crimes against the empire.
First appears in The Eagle's Prophecy as the son of the Greek pirate leader Telemachus. He is captured by Macro and Cato and gives them and Vespasian the hiding place of the pirates and is used as a bargaining counter to make Telemachus surrender and hand over the Sybbilline Scrolls to Vespasian. His father is crucified and he is sold into slavery. He becomes a professional gladiator, in Secutor style. He returns leading a slave revolt in The Gladiator and captures Macro and Julia but is defeated by Cato and his troops but escapes at the end of the book. He returns in The Legion to further defy Cato and Macro by joining forces with the Nubians among other things, but in the end dies by the hands of a hungry crocodile.