Hannibal: Fields of Blood
Fields of Blood begins its tale in 216 BC, a particularly violent time in history when Rome and Carthage vied for supremacy, with Rome initially coming in second best. It is a return for Ben Kane to the Carthage/Rome conflict, having taken time away from it to write his Spartacus series. The first impressions as you raise book in hand are of a hefty book, something for readers to get their teeth into, though the cover does little to inspire and is not to his usual standards. The novel itself concentrates on the continued story of three individuals, Hanno, Quintus and Aurelia, who experience the conflict from differing points of view but still have a close bond of which I will not enlighten you; that’s an experience I shall leave to you to discover.
Ben Kane really shows great skill and knowledge in his delivery of this novel. His immense knowledge of the time period comes shining through, but it’s not the facts that he relies upon. His descriptive writing is a joy to read as it moves readers relentlessly from one emotion to another throughout the book. Battle scenes are, to coin a phrase, ‘mind blowing’. Ben Kane picks you bodily from your chairs and drops you into the mayhem, slaughter and blood. The one slight issue is the plot offers no real surprises, but it does deliver on so many other levels, so much so that it makes it difficult to complain of the lack of originality.