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Eagle in Exile: The Clash of Eagles Trilogy Book II    by Alan Smale order for
Eagle in Exile
by Alan Smale
Order:  USA  Can
Del Rey, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Eagle in Exile follows Clash of Eagles as the second in Alan Smale's alternate history trilogy, that postulates the survival of the Roman Empire and its thrust to conquer North America. The story opened in 1218 AD, with the 33rd Legion marching in Nova Hesperia, commanded by Gaius Publius Marcellinus.

In Clash of Eagles, the legion survived the Iroqua, but were massacred by the warriors of a great city to the west, Cahokia, that used gliders for aerial attacks. They kept Gaius alive, expecting to learn from him. Which is what happened. Over time, he grew close to many. He trained them in Roman warfare, taught them to build and use ballista, and helped them against an Iroqua attack that used Viking warships. But many blamed Gaius for the escalation in technology on both sides, causing higher losses in war.

As Eagle in Exile opens, Gaius decides that it's time to make peace with the Iroqua. He does so at great personal risk, Sintikala at his side, warning the Iroqua of coming invasion by his own people. But back in Cahokia, intemperate Avenaka attacks and kills Great Sun Man, his conservative faction winning the day. Exiled, Gaius and his supporters travel south in a longship, exploring the Mizipi. They are joined by other Roman survivors, in particular Gaius' friend, Briton Aelfric, and learn of new Roman exploratory forces.

Returning secretly to Cahokia, they hear that Romans, led by Emperor Hadrianus himself, have landed and are wintering in Appalachia. After another change of regime in Cahokia, Gaius decides that he must give himself up to the Romans, in order to plead for a fair treaty between his former people and the Cahokians. He survives, but barely and soon shares a desperate secret with Hadrianus that he's forced to keep from his friends, his loyalties torn once again. He returns to the Roman army.

Though these episodes tend to be tomes (and I'd have preferred a shorter version of this epic), I do enjoy it. Eagle in Exile was even better than the first book and has set the scene very nicely for what will follow.

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