The Eagle and The Wolves by Simon Scarrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Macro and Cato are on the mend and they have been left in Calleva to train two cohorts of Atrebatans to protect the supply lines from Durotrigan raiders. Cato gets off on the wrong foot with Prince Artax and never truly sees him as the honorable man he is. This has serious consequences later in the book.
Prince Tincommius on the other hand goes out of his way to make himself agreeable to Macro and Cato. Oddly enough Macro is suspicious of him and keeps him in his own cohort (The Boars) where he can keep an eye on him Since Cato speaks some Celtic he becomes closer to the men in his cohort (The Wolves).
King Verica chooses Artax as his successor and emphasis how important the relationship with Rome is for their tribe. Artax agrees to keep the alliance with Rome. Meanwhile General Plautius fearing the Atrebatans aren't as loyal as they pretend to be sends Tribune Quintillus to Calleva to find out what the situation really is. Quintillus has the power to annex Calleva if he deems it necessary and rule as it's Governor. Needless to say Quintillus tries to stir up trouble to justify annexing Calleva, but he stirs up more trouble then he bargained for.
Bedriacus (the standard bearer for the Wolves) overhears a plot to assassinate King Verica and comes to tell Cato, but before he can he is stabbed. Cato suspects Artax and has him imprisoned but Quintillus demands that he be released. King Verica arranges a hunt for Boer and while they are hunting someone tries to kill him. Cato comes upon a wounded Tincommius who claims that Artax attacked the King. Cato rushes to King Verica's aid and see Artax standing over him with a club. While Artax is trying to explain to the rather thick Cato what happened Tincommius arrives and kills Artax. King Verica is rushed back to Calleva, where he lingers in a coma.
Quintillus orders the two cohorts to ride to the aid of a supply wagon they see burning, too late Cato realizes it is a trap. Quintillus takes the opportunity to flee for help and goes to seek Legate Vespasian's aid. Cato, Macro and the few survivors of the ambush retreat to Calleva. Tincommius arrives at the gates and demands that Calleva surrender to his allies the Durotrigans. He also claims the Romans killed King Verica.
The Romans and the Atrebatans loyal to King Verica make a heroic stand in the royal compound. When they refuse to surrender Tincommius brings the captured Roman prisoners to the walls and breaks their legs and arms one by one. Cato can't stand the brutality and begs Macro to do something, but Macro replies the only thing they can do is remain calm. When Figulus(who is a favorite with the Wolves) is brought forward to be tortured Cato uses the opportunity to turn the Atrebatans against Tincommius. King Verica regains consciousness and is brought to the wall where he tells everyone that it was Tincommius who tried to kill him. Cato leads a charge and rescues the prisoners and captures Tincommius. But the Durotrigans quickly overrun the compound but before the Romans are defeated Vespasian arrives with reinforcements.
Once he realizes that Tincommius was telling the truth about Caratacus coming, Vespasian orders a retreat to his legion. But before they can reach them they are surrounded by Caratacus. Vespasian opts to make a stand on a hill and before they can be overrun General Plautius arrives. Caratacus flees from the superior troop force. They march back to Calleva, Quintillus is named Governor and Cato is order to disarm the Wolves.
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