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facetofcathy ([personal profile] facetofcathy) wrote in [community profile] facetsoftext2011-09-20 08:31 am
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The Eagle

So, I got over my frothing indignation at the politics of The Eagle and got to the point where I could look at it mostly as a pretty love story. I went looking for fic. The fic largely ignores anything outside the central relationship and does not care one whit for the glory of Rome or its conquests. But, many authors are falling into a trope where the slavery depicted is much more like the later versions of American slavery and are also taking great pains to show that anyone who owns a slave is a bad, bad, evil person, and Marcus is pure as the driven snow.

Put these two together and you've got a reinforcement of the popular cultural apologia for American slavery as a thing evil individuals did rather than a system that affected every person on the continent and was one of the founding processes of creating the USA and its neighbours as nations. This is troubling, yet not unexpected. A lot of the stories simply treat the power imbalance in the relationship as one that exists only in public, which I can treat as a fantasy element as a reader and go along with. I didn't encounter any stories where Marcus actually acts like a bog standard Roman with a body slave--I expect they're on the kink meme, which I'll boggle over quietly, that more historically accurate depictions or ones that recognize the consent issues are considered kink fic.

My surprise comes at the variety of sexual and relationship dynamics to be found. This is a slash fandom where the bigger guy OWNS the smaller guy, who is blond, even, and it's less boringly predictable on the position/dynamics/roles front than J2 fic.

Most of the fic are romances, and a lot of it can be read as original fiction set in Roman Britain. I've made a note on the reviews if a story requires much canon knowledge or if it can be read as ofic. I've stuck to the longer stories, as that's what I'm into these days.

Time yet for a hundred indecisions (aka the CEO AU) (22553 words) by faviconlinaerys
Fandom: The Eagle (2011)
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Marcus/Esca - Relationship, Esca/Marcus Flavius Aquila
Characters: Esca Mac Cunoval, Lutorius, Marcus

Marcus is the CEO of Calleva Software. He meets Esca in a bar while he’s at a conference in New York. He thinks it’s going to be a one-night stand, but their lives are far more interwined than either one of them could have expected.

An effective modern AU where Marcus thought he was going to be a football star and Esca, well, he thought he'd get to decide for himself where he went and what he did.

The relationship between the two of them is good and interesting and the modern setting keeps the power relationships from the film while leaving the politics behind, so that's a plus. As a romance story focused on the main characters, this is very, very good.

But, the story is a bit bare in places--the rest of the people working for Calleva Software fade into insignificance most of the time, and there's this prevailing sense that Marcus has heaps of time to moon over Esca, when in reality, he should be swamped with work pressure and worries. We're told about his concern for the company, but it's not fleshed out enough to seem like anything other than background and I can't say I cared if his company survived or not. I know more about Marcus's jogging routine than I do his work day.

What there is of the plot outside the romance is good, but I felt like the setting was never quite taken seriously. I think I was expecting something more story focused than narrative kink focused from this author, but this is more like the he's an astronaut and he's a veterinarian J2 fics than what I expect from an FPF AU.

Well paced story and a good romance. You could easily read this as an ofic gay romance without knowing the canon.

Until All the Songs Are Sung (20894 words) by faviconCarmarthen
Fandom: The Eagle (2011)
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Esca/Marcus Flavius Aquila
Characters: Esca Mac Cunoval, Marcus Flavius Aquila, Original Characters

"Marcus blinks and rubs at his tired eyes, staring at the wax tablet, stylus hanging loosely in his hand. He has been recalculating the figures, pebbles clicking on the counting board, until the numbers swim before his sight, and he feels more and more worried every time they come out the same. The farm is not producing enough to feed him and Esca and pay the field-hands, and little remains of the money Marcus received from the senate for retrieving the Eagle of the Ninth Legion Hispana. This bad harvest is the last bad harvest they can afford, and it does not seem likely that Marcus will discover a gift for farming now."

In which Esca seeks out his kin in Hibernia and Marcus goes with him; naturally, sex, adventures, and miscommunications ensue. Originally a kinkmeme fill for body paint porn, this developed 19,175 words of plot (the second chapter is historical notes), and an amazing illustration by Motetus. There is also a podfic version available, thanks to inkjunket.

Note: there is a non-explicit reference to Marcus (age 16-17ish) having a consensual sexual relationship with an older man; they are both adults in their culture.

This is by far my favourite fic in this fandom so far, and it will be very hard to beat.

The setting is lushly filled in with period detail, but it never feels like you're reading someone's homework or their geeky obsession either. The story always takes precedence.

I'm already bored with boar hunts in this fandom, but this one is good as are all the action scenes in the story. The OCs are vivid and realistic and this is a story I'd pay to see filmed. This is people's real lives--not the great battles of empires, or even the small quests of honour obsessed fools, but ordinary lives and relationships given the respect of a storyteller's attention.

Excellent story. Vivid and compelling and with eleventy million percent more women than the film. I think you can read this without knowing the canon and get most of the nuance.

Podfic Version:

Podfic: Until All the Songs Are Sung (190 words) by faviconinkjunket
Fandom: The Eagle | Eagle of the Ninth (2011)
Rating: Not Rated
Warning: Author Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Esca/Marcus

In which Esca seeks out his kin in Hibernia and Marcus goes with him.

The Persistence of Memory (12257 words) by faviconsavvierthanu
Fandom: The Eagle (2011)
Rating: Explicit
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Esca/Marcus Flavius Aquila
Characters: Esca, Marcus Flavius Aquila

Esca loses his memory. Marcus tries to help him get it back.

Standard amnesia story and a bubble fic where there's no one else in the world but them. Fun read and not too too emo, bearing in mind this canon has its own scale of emo that starts where most leave off.

The Blood Knows the Path (9393 words) by faviconlinaerys
Fandom: The Eagle (2011)
Rating: Mature
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Esca/Marcus Flavius Aquila, Marcus/OMC

I began this as a short jealous!Esca fic set in the beginning of the movie, but ended up following the story through the events of the movie and a bit beyond.

Esca and Marcus before and during their quest north of the wall, gradually developing an understanding of each other. I like this as a relationship fic, their banter and push/pull is fun, but I'm not at all convinced by any fic that says Esca does it all for love. Not this story's fault--I've yet to be convinced by anyone's explanation for Esca.

Fun, well-paced read that doesn't over do the film retelling--or under do it either, but if you don't know the canon you'd be lost.

To the glory of Nova Roma (6277 words) by faviconmirandaeostre
Fandom: The Eagle (2011)
Rating: General Audiences
Warning: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Esca/Marcus Flavius Aquila
Characters: Esca (Eagle of the Ninth), Marcus Flavius Aquila, Uncle Aquila

The Roman Empire has endured for two thousand years but its glory is long since gone. Marcus Aquila has lost his military career and his interest in life but an errand for his uncle brings complications when he meets a slave accused of killing his master

Fascinating idea that gets a bare sketch of an executuion. I'm not sure if this is meant to be steampunk or not--there's too little detail--but the setting and set-up have promise. What's there is engrossing, but it's only the first act of a story. (Which is exactly what I did myself in my SGU/SGA fic, so I'm not throwing stones from my glass house, merely noting the similar construction across the street.)

The Centurion's Hound by Jay Tryfanstone

Nice, simple website design, easy to read with the story on a single page.

This is a book verse story from 2004.

Future fic with another adventure over the wall. Very good, told in a wordy style that might owe to keeping it in concert with the book, as much as authorial voice. Bit angsty on the oh, no, gay love, thing for my taste, but it's very, very well done right up until the contrived and unsatisfying ending. Which frankly, is just a way to wind up the plot, so it didn't bother me too much. This is more atmosphere and relationship fic than plot fic anyway.

I think if they'd had the wolf in the film, it would have been too much by far, but in a story like this it seems to work.

Written In Every Line On Your Palm by [livejournal.com profile] frackin_sweet

On LJ in multiple parts, not in site scheme.

Rating/Warnings: Rated M for language, violent imagery, and sexual content. Possible spoilers for the film.
Summary: A story of what might have happened from the time of Esca’s purchase, to shortly before the decision to go on the quest for the Eagle. Movieverse.
Author’s Notes: So, this is apparently where the book (which I have not yet read) trumps the movie, as it offers the reader a nice glimpse into the pre-quest life Marcus and Esca lead. I felt like I wanted to see all of that unfold, and hence my imagination went and took a flying leap.
And, speaking of imagination, my artistic renderings of any old Celtic customs are taken from my own consumption of historical fiction, rather than actual historical scholarship. I did try to research what I used, to stay as factual as possible. Creative license FTW?
Lastly, anachronism, how I love you!

Enjoyable as a romantic tale. There's some heavy symbolism with horses and a heavily symbolic and dull play about assimilation with too much whiskey on the side.

It is, however, a good read for the most part, and their growing friendship was the part I enjoyed most. The characters felt a little too young and foolish to me, though. You could read this without knowing the canon, but it might not mean much without having that third act in your mind.

Check out [delicious.com profile] nintheagle on delicious (the bookamrks have been migrated, so they'll be there after Friday) for more fic from the LJ comm. The delicious list is nicely tagged with several categories.