The Viney Agency


Ben KaneI’ve always been fascinated by military fiction, from Rosemary Sutcliffe’s iconic Eagle of the Ninth to Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series and Wilbur Smith’s African sagas. Coming from a very scientific household, the craft of writing is not something I ever considered as a child. I loved animals, and my father was a veterinarian, so I thought I’d do likewise. After more than a decade in the workplace, a succession of life events – three years travelling, work in Northumberland near Hadrian’s Wall and disaffection with veterinary medicine prompted me to start writing. Although I thought of several time periods to write about, the Roman Republic/Empire was what came naturally to me.

What started as a hobby quickly became an obsession. I wasn’t happy unless I wrote every day, and for several years, I lived, breathed and dreamed about the Romans, all the while working full time as a vet. In 2006, I was fortunate enough to be signed by Charlie Viney, and the real work began! In 2007, after a lot of sweat and tears, The Forgotten Legion went on the market and was snapped up by Preface, a division of Random House, after a bidding war with 5 other publishing houses. It was published in 2008, and was the 8th highest selling debut hardback fiction work of the year. Since then, the sequel, The Silver Eagle, has been released to critical and commercial success. The last part of the trilogy, The Road to Rome, published in 2010 and was a Sunday Times number 4 bestseller. All of my subsequent novels which concern Spartacus and Hannibal have also been Sunday Times bestsellers.

A major three book contract was signed in 2016 with Orion to publish two books on the epic struggle between Rome and Greece. The first title, Clash of Empires was published in 2018 with the sequel, Clash of Empires – The Falling Sword following in 2019. Set in the 12th century his acclaimed Lionheart was published in 2020 and the sequel, Crusader in 2021.

Praise for Lionheart


 ‘A rip-roaring epic, filled with arrows and spattered with blood. Gird yourself with mail when you start.’

Paul Finch

‘Ben’s deeply authoritative depiction of the time is delivered in a deft manner.’ 

- Simon Scarrow


'The rising star of historical fiction'

- Wilbur Smith

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Clash of Empires
The second thrilling instalment in the Lionheart series

1189. The long-awaited goal of Richard Plantagenet, the Lionheart, comes true as he is crowned King of England. Before he can set off on crusade and retake Jerusalem from the Saracens, he must set his own kingdom in order, and deal with his half-brother Geoffrey and younger brother John, both of whom pose threats to the throne.

These matters settled, Richard's incredible journey to Outremer, the Holy Land, begins. With him at every step is Ferdia, also known as Rufus, his loyal Irish follower. From southern France to Italy they travel, and on to the kingdom of Sicily, ruled by the scheming Tancred. Delayed on the island for military and political reasons, Richard must deal not only with its ruler but also King Philippe of France, his erstwhile ally on the crusade and long-time bitter rival. There is occasion for some levity, however; in Sicily, the king marries Berengaria, daughter of a Spanish king.


Voyage continuing, he comes into conflict with the ruler of Cyprus, the self-styled emperor Isaac. Richard's tactical brilliance sees the island fall to the crusaders in a whirlwind campaign. At last he is poised to sail to the Holy Land. There a bitter two-year-long siege awaits his army, at Acre. Waiting for him too, is Saladin, the iconic Saracen leader responsible for the loss of Jerusalem.

Triumphant at Acre, Richard must again play politician before the crusade can continue. Philippe of France seeks to thwart him at every turn. No one can agree who should fill the empty throne of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. When at last the king is able to lead his army south, Saladin's huge army shadows its every move. In the height of summer, the conditions are brutal, the temperatures boiling. On the dusty field of Arsuf, the Lionheart and his soldiers will face the ultimate test. Battle is inevitable, but victory is not.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Crusader (Orion, 2021); Lionheart (Orion, 2020); The Falling sword (Orion, 2019); Clash of Empires(Orion, 2018); Eagles in the Storm (Random House, 2017); Hunting the Eagles, (Random House, 2016); Eagles of War, (Random House, 2015); The Forgotten Legion (Random House);  The Silver Eagle (Random House); Road To Rome ( Random House); Hannibal: Enemy of Rome, (Random House); Hannibal: The Patrol, (Random House); Hannibal: Fields of Blood, (Random House); Hannibal: Clouds of War, (Random House); Spartacus: The Gladiator, (Random House);  Spartacus: Rebellion, (Random House).