Fri. 25th March: The Eagle has landed (finally)!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one. Apologies to Jack Higgins. Well, today’s the day, folks, when the film version of our dearly beloved book, recently renamed The Eagle, hits cinema screens all over the UK. Directed by Kevin McDonald of The Last King of Scotland, it was filmed in the Scottish Highlands and parts of eastern Europe.  The reviews are flooding in thick and fast on Rosemary Sutcliff’s site, and they mostly seem good. One reader has posted here that it’s really great too. I find my hopes rising… Sadly, I won’t get to see it until next week. I can’t wait! Please feel free to post your comments here, though, if you go to see it this weekend.

Today’s also the day that I hit the nice milestone of 50,000 words in Spartacus. After a brief break from my keyboard, I was relieved this week to hit the ground (or screen) running. The scenes are just flowing one into another now, and I don’t want to stop writing until Monday morning, which is a good sign.

Some really good books coming out in the next few weeks. If they’re not already on your check list, look out for them: Odin’s Wolves by Giles Kristian and The Lion Wakes by Robert Low come out on the same day, April 14th, and Tony Riches’ new book,  Fortress of Spears, comes out not long afterwards, on April 28th. Russell Whitfield’s sequel to Gladiatrix, Roma Victrix is next, early in May. (The Amazon release date on that is incorrect.) Plenty of bedtime reading…

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  1. Posted 26 March 2011 at 20:51 | Permalink

    I have already added my thoughts on Eagle…i hope others like it…i thought they missed the mark by a fair bit…except wardrobe.

    Some great book ideas there Ben…thought i would add “Some” of my pending shopping list of books over the next 12 months ish…. (but its only some of it…the full list is far too long…lol)

    Sworn Sword James Aitcheson Preface Publishing (4 Aug 2011)
    Hellfire (Jack Tanner 4) James Holland Bantam Press (7 July 2011)
    Harald Hardrada: The Last Viking (Chronicles of the Scraeling)
    Michael Burr Knox Robinson Publishing Ltd (9 May 2011)
    King’s Man Angus Donald Sphere (4 Aug 2011)
    Hereward James Wilde Bantam Press (23 Jun 2011)
    The Haunted Martyr – Kenneth Cameron Orion (16 Aug 2012)
    Jackals at the Pass – Iain Gale HarperCollins (15 Mar 2012)
    Pride of Tigers – The Subaltern’s Tale Richard Holmes HarperPress (5 Jan 2012)
    Tyrant: Destroyer of Cities Christian Cameron Orion (1 Jan 2013)
    The Song of Achilles Madeline Miller Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (5 Sep 2011)
    Defender of Rome Douglas Jackson Bantam Press (18 Aug 2011)
    Marathon Christian Cameron Orion (18 Aug 2011)
    Rome: The Coming of the King (Rome 2) M C Scott Bantam Press (12 May 2011)
    Beat the Drums Slowly Adrian Goldsworthy W&N (11 Aug 2011)
    Devil’s Charge Michael Arnold John Murray (18 Aug 2011)
    A Place Called Armageddon C.C. Humphreys Orion (21 July 2011)
    The Siege (Agent of Rome) Nick Brown Hodder & Stoughton (21 July 2011)
    The Winds of Folly Seth Hunter Headline Review (7 July 2011)
    A Kingdom Divided Alex Rutherford Thomas Dunne Books (5 July 2011)
    Conquest Julian Stockwin Hodder & Stoughton (9 Jun 2011)
    On His Majesty’s Service (Matthew Hervey 11) Allan Mallinson Bantam Press (9 Jun 2011)
    The Sword of Damascus (Aelric) Richard Blake Hodder & Stoughton (9 Jun 2011)
    Shield Wall Justin Hill Little, Brown (26 May 2011)
    Ruler of the World (Empire of the Moghul) Alex Rutherford Headline Review (12 May 2011)
    Prince (John Shakespeare 3) Rory Clements John Murray (12 May 2011)
    Coward in the Woods James Delingpole Simon & Schuster Ltd (1 Mar 2012)
    Winter at Death’s Hotel Kenneth Cameron Orion (24 Nov 2011)
    Pride of Mercia Wallis Peel ivers; Large type edition edition (4 Oct 2010)
    Clash of Empires: The Great Siege William Napier Orion (9 Jun 2011)
    Plague Child Peter Ransley HarperPress (14 April 2011)
    Eagle (Saladin Trilogy 1) Jack Hight John Murray (17 Mar 2011)
    The River of Shadows Robert V.S. Redick Gollancz (21 April 2011)
    Whispers Under Ground Ben Aaronovitch Gollancz (17 Nov 2011)
    Moon Over Soho Ben Aaronovitch Gollancz (21 April 2011)
    The Night of the Swarm Robert V.S. Redick Gollancz (17 May 2012)
    The Republic of Thieves (Gollancz) Scott Lynch Gollancz (17 Nov 2011)
    The Caspian Gates (Warrior of Rome 4) Harry Sidebottom Date Available: 07 July 2011
    Red Runs the Helmand Patrick Mercer Date Available: 28 April 2011
    Behold a Pale Horse Peter Tremayne Date Available: 07 July 2011
    The Last Four Things Paul Hoffman Date Available: 28 April 2011
    Praetorian Guard by Simon Scarrow – 10 Nov 2011
    TimeRiders: The Eternal War (Book 4) by Alex Scarrow 4 Aug 2011

  2. Posted 26 March 2011 at 21:01 | Permalink

    I hope you’ll enjoy The Eagle. It got less than stellar reviews here and I’m really not sure whether I should watch a movie based on one of my favourite books esp, since I rarely watch movies in the first place.

  3. Posted 27 March 2011 at 08:50 | Permalink

    I shall be intrigued to discover your reactions! Just to note , actually the book itself has not been renamed, just packaged for the film tie-in version!

  4. benkane
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 09:24 | Permalink

    @Parmenion: Pretty comprehensive list, thanks! I can’t even imagine reading that many books in a year, but I can pick some from it for sure. Lucky so and so!

  5. benkane
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 09:26 | Permalink

    @Gabriele: but it’s a Roman film, and they’re so so rare…would that not persuade you?

  6. benkane
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 09:27 | Permalink

    @Anthony: thanks for popping by! It’s a shame that the film got renamed, isn’t it? Especially to stop it becoming mixed up with a film about golf *covers head with hands*

  7. Posted 27 March 2011 at 10:50 | Permalink

    @ Ben…. i feel lucky that there are so many great authors out there….but my bank balance hates me some days…and me bookshelves…well…. Im going to have to start getting picky about what i buy in HB i think and then get the rest on Kindle…there is not much room left for new books and the wife is already advising me that i needs to sell some..(sigh)

  8. Posted 27 March 2011 at 14:14 | Permalink

    Ben, there have been several Roman films those last years and none of them was really good (not for me at least; as I said, movies seldom work for me in the first place).

    King Arthur (the one with the Sarmatians :rolleye:)
    Gladiator (maybe for Russel Crowe fans; I’m not one of those)
    Centurion (haven’t seen that one yet, will wait for TV)
    The Last Legion (so cheesy it was sorta fun)

  9. Posted 27 March 2011 at 14:15 | Permalink

    Parmenion, and there I thought my To Buy list and TBR pile were scary. 😉

  10. benkane
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 16:42 | Permalink

    @Gabriele: There you go! I loved Gladiator! For all its numerous faults (most of which I’ve only noticed since writing my books), it is, IMHO, a brilliant film. And I’ll even say that on RAT!

    I didn’t even bother with The Last Legion, as the reviews were so bad. Centurion was OK, but missing a certain je ne sais pas, and King Arthur was pretty poor.

  11. Fabitaromunass
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 16:49 | Permalink

    Whether it meets the satisfaction of mature die hard fans is one thing, but surely the fact that the film has been made and it will encourage younger generations to history and fiction can only be positive can’t it? I enjoyed the film at the age of 24, but had I seen it when I was 14 It would be my all my favourite film! I think thats where the strength of the film lies.

  12. Fabitaromunass
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 16:52 | Permalink

    I probably was 14 when I saw gladiator, actually. and it is one of my favourite films! Great example. it rocks!

  13. benkane
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 16:56 | Permalink

    @Fabitaromunass: I agree completely – if it converts more people to Rome, and all things Roman, then it is overall a far better thing than if it had never been made. Before I got into writing Roman HF, I would have been far less critical, but just as enthusiastic about the genre. It is a pity, however, that more film makers don’t stick to the whole ‘truth’ of what we know, as it would still make great films!

  14. Fabitaromunass
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 17:03 | Permalink

    I’m sure they have there reasons… bad ones, but still.

    On a completely different sidenote, did you see the first episode of ‘Gods of the Arena’? I can’t get enough of that show! Series 1 was the best tv series I saw last year and by a long way!

  15. benkane
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 17:08 | Permalink

    @Fabitaromunass: yes, it’s ‘What will get the most bums on seats?’, I think 😉

    Not heard of Gods of the Arena – is that a gladiator show? Sounds great that there’s another one out there, in addition to Spartacus: Blood and Sand . The more, the merrier (not that my enthusiasm is anything to do with writing a book about Spartacus!).

  16. Fabitaromunass
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 17:23 | Permalink

    Gods of the arena is a mini series of Spartacus set before ‘blood and sand’. It’s on 10pm on sky1. The actor who played Spartacus, Andy whitfield, sadly got cancer during the pre production of series 2 so whilst he was on the mend they produced a prequel to ‘blood and sand’ . Unfortunately They have had to completely recast Andy now. But while we wait for the “official” second series we have Sparatacus ‘gods of the arena’! Get it watched 🙂

  17. Posted 27 March 2011 at 17:44 | Permalink

    gods of the arena is the prequel to blood and sand, filmed because the guy playing spartacus has cancer, his role has been recast for the second series now as he will not be well enough for a while, but to be fair to the tv firm, they gave him a year to try..

  18. benkane
    Posted 27 March 2011 at 18:39 | Permalink

    @Fabitaromunass & Parmenion: Ah, I see. Didn’t know that they’d given the prequel series a different name. I knew all oabout why they did it, and poor old Andy Whitfield’s struggle with cancer. Poor bugger – I hope he’ll be OK, although last I heard, the news wasn’t good. (I am not going anywhere near the series, unfortunately, until I’ve finished my own Spartacus. Don’t want to jumble up my ideas with other ones.)

    And did you know that our very own Russ Whitfield of Gladiatrix fame is distantly related to Andy Whitfield? 🙂

  19. John Salter
    Posted 29 March 2011 at 14:59 | Permalink

    The Eagle – Putting the brilliant book aside, I really enjoyed The Eagle. The Seal People were a bit dodgy especially when a Pict tribe could have been used but the acting, scenes, story and music were all very good. It did and I hesitate to say this, remind me a bit of Centurion (the chase) but I enjoyed that as well.

    The film could have been a lot bigger with the right budget but overall I wasn’t at all disappointed and will no doubt see it again on the big screen and will be getting the dvd!

    Personally I’d like to see a film about the Roman occupation of Britain that doesn’t include Hadrian’s Wall. So much happened over that four hundred years and things other than the Boudican revolt, although a decent film about that would be good.

  20. Fabitaromunass
    Posted 29 March 2011 at 22:57 | Permalink

    Ok, Ben you just look away from this

    @parmenion what do you think of gods of the arena so far? Only upto the second episode but I think it’s as good as series 1

  21. benkane
    Posted 30 March 2011 at 08:24 | Permalink

    @Fabitaromunass: *OK, eyes averted!*

  22. benkane
    Posted 30 March 2011 at 08:26 | Permalink

    @John: good stuff, glad you enjoyed it. We’re going tonight! Woo hoo! I’ve been pleased – and relieved – to see that the reviews in most of the British papers have been good.

    A good film about Boudica and her revolt would be ace. So too would one about Agricola’s campaign into Scotland and the batt le of Mons Graupius…

  23. Gladiator
    Posted 9 April 2011 at 16:22 | Permalink

    Haha this is funny because the other day i was thinking that the forgotten legion would be the best film ever haha but i bet they have changed the story loads so it wont be as good as the book.

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