Hannibal: Clouds of War

Written by Ben Kane
Review by E.M. Powell

In 213 AD, Rome is at war with Carthage, and the town of Syracuse in Sicily is under siege. Outside the walls is Quintus, a brave servant of Rome and equestrian masquerading as infantry. Sent by Hannibal to help the rebels is Hanno, old friend of Quintus but on a mission to bring death to all Romans. As if loyalties could not be divided enough, Aurelia, Quintus’ sister and Hanno’s love from the past, becomes a captive in the besieged city.

Kane is already well-known as a writer who delivers on immersing the reader in his world, and this book does not disappoint. His fight and battle scenes, whether on land or sea, are visceral and compelling. While I expected to (and was) engrossed in Quintus’ and Hanno’s struggle, Aurelia’s story was even more compelling for me. Much historical fiction of this type consigns women to the background at most. But Aurelia’s challenges are just as terrifying and heartbreaking (I will not risk spoilers by detailing what they are). As one would expect from Kane, they reflect the experiences of what many women from this period in history would have gone through and are all the more powerful for that. Enough questions remain to draw the reader into the next chapter in their lives, and it’s one I’ll be reading. Existing Kane fans won’t be disappointed, and this book deserves to increase that following.