Clash of Eagles allows history to alter. Bringing the Roman army to the shores of North America and face to face with American natives. Steel swords and sophisticated battle strategy clash with poison arrows, stealth attacks, and the mound-building Cahokiani.
However, for The 33rd Roman Legion, led by Praetor Gaius Marcellinus on their quest for an easy conquest and acquisition of gold ends in a bloody battle at the hands of the fantastical flight warriors of the Cahokiani outside of Cahokia.
With Marcellinus the sole survivor, he switches allegiance and joins the Cahokiani, bringing modernised Roman warfare to Cahokia to give them the advantage in the never ending Morning War against their local enemy of Iroqva.
Clash of Eagles is loaded historical fact and a healthy dose of fantasy; author Alan Smale gets the dosage just right. Clash of Eagles reads as 'real' with a deep core character in Marcellinus and a Cahokiani supporting cast that I just want more of.
Beware, Clash of Eagles, while depicting an interesting side of life in Cahokia also has a fair amount of battle scenes, as you'd expect - they are gory, frenetic and not for the squeamish - but I liked them.
The first book in the Hesperian Trilogy is a great start with a semi-cliff hanger ending (don't worry, Clash of Eagles still feels like a complete read) that has me adding Eagle in Exile (book 2) straight to the top of my 'next to buy' list.
I was provided a copy by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.