Short Story Review: The Shrine by Ben Kane

The Shrine is the short story prequel to Eagles at War, the first book in the Eagles of Rome trilogy by Ben Kane.


The story is set in Mogontiacum, Gallia Belgica in 6BC, and Lucius Cominius Tullus, a Roman soldier, has just accepted a promotion.  The new post involves a transfer, moving from the Twenty-First legion to become a centurion in the Eighteenth, stationed in Vetera.  En route, he pauses on the way, to watch the famous footrace in Mogontiacum after which he decides to visit the local shrine.  The shrine in question is the temple to Magna Mater (the Great Mother) and Isis.

But his stay there is not to be a quiet one.  Neither will it be easy to forget…

Favourite Quote

“Piss off,” hissed Tullus.  He had no woman.  The army was work enough.


I really enjoyed this short story.  It served as a great introduction to the character of Tullus and to the location: the German frontier. This period in Roman’s history fascinates me, and so I found the not-too-heavy, yet still rich detail of the setting a rewarding read.  One of my interests is in ancient religion so the part of the story set in the temple held me captivated.

I especially enjoyed reading the “note from the author” at the end of the story, as it explained how and why the story came about.

I’ve already gone out and bought a copy of Eagles at War, and am looking forward to begin reading it.  Tullus sounds like an interesting character and I want to see how his story unfolds, as I am aware of the events that happen round this time in this part of the empire.

If you’ve yet to read any of Ben Kane’s books, why not pop over to Wattpad and give this short story a read for free? (Here’s the link if you’re interested.)




3 thoughts on “Short Story Review: The Shrine by Ben Kane

  1. Pingback: Bookish Reflections – May 2017 | Sammi Loves Books

  2. Interesting idea, to publish a short story prequel that gives more background to a novel’s character. I can see the author’s motivation, too: there’s always so much more about your main character’s background that you never get to fit into the novel. And if it gets you more interested in reading the novel, that’s a great strategy! It makes me curious about how it changes the way you read the novel, having read this first, than for people reading the novel first, and having the mystery of the character unfold there instead of here. Or put another way, he wouldn’t want the novel to assume people had read the prequel, but then he wouldn’t want to seem really repetitive either. But I guess that’s the same as any sequel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow – lots of interesting points there 🙂 I’m guessing that the novel will read like a second story in a series, where the story is set in a different location. Also, I think that apart from the main character, there is nothing to tie it in to the novel. From what I took from reading the author’s note, the short story was written after the novel; at least that way I suppose he could ensure that you didn’t need to read the prequel to understand the novel. If not, luckily I read the short story first 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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