Let's praise the Gods, most certainly Hermes, the patron of magic and messengers! Half an hour ago one of his servants delivered "The Sundered Eagle" to my doorstep here in the Rhine tribunal, and as I have vacations I will start reading at once. So, unless somebody beats me on it, I will be back for a report later.
If there are any specific questions, just fire away. I'll try to answer.
f-shop (f-shop.de) - They are a pretty good choice for German customers. They also deliver into the rest of the European Union and don't charge extra for it, but unfortunately they have a minimum order of 80€ for Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands and 120€ for the other countries of the EU, so aren' a feasible option if you just want to order one book as soon as it is out.
I pre-ordered sometime last month, but I checked their catalogue daily and it wasn't until yesterday afternoon that the y listed the books as in stock, so I assume that they packed and sent it as soon as possible.
I want the dirt on the Titans. Anything you can give me
I won't be getting the book for at least a year, I reckon (I'll wait for the PDF), but the TOC and backplate looks great. The only thing I'm slightly concerned about is the level of historicism, given the lengthy historical section. So my other question is - how Mythic is the tribunal? I know there are lots of Mythic elements in the book, but reading it, how does it feel - are these elements what sets the tone of the tribunal, or are they remnants of a long-ago Mythic past?
I'd love if you could actually settle a debate between a friend and myself, concerning the Titans. I assume they have stats? If not, does it at least mention the realm they're aligned to? We've had an Magic vs Infernal realm debate going for years now.
The Titans are not spawn of Satan in Ars Magica, but primal magical entities. I believe some of the books describe a war between the Titans and the Faerie Gods. Anyone remember what book? RoP:Magic might have more.
Also, if you look at the table of contents for Sundered Eagle (which is on the website as a preview), they're described in the "Magical Landskap" chapter.
Sorry, but it took me some time to get through the book. There are still many parts I haven't read in detail (mostly the middle part with the description of the landscape and individual covenants). Anyway, it should be enough to give a broad overview and answer some of your questions:
My impression is that there are three themes on this book:
On the one hand there is a strong focus on the history of the Byzantine Empire and the City of Constantinople. Here, the fourth crusade and its aftermath are the central aspect. This is a great area for meddling in mundane politics (or having to deal with your NPC-sodales' meddling), but – rather unsurprising – there are mythical dimensions to this as well, as the Infernal has played a big part in the recent development whereas the Divine has always held Constantinople dear.
Then there are the political structure and the culture of the OoH in this tribunal. It is depicted as abundantly rich in vis resulting in magi who are much more cooperative than in other parts of ME. Actually, the tribunal has abandoned the traditional hierarchic structure of hermetic politics and instead decided to adapt the old constitution of Athens to the orders needs. Basically everybody in good standing is equal, and the majority of offices is obtained by lots being drawn. I like the possibility of having sagas of high politics without the PCs automatically being very senior practicers of the art.
On average, the covenants around in the tribunal seem to be a bit more fantastic than elsewhere: There is one sailing through the Mediterranean based on its ships and the region connected to them, another is literally at the bottom of the sea, many others are erected on mystical sites. Oh, and they all have a patron, a mystical (anything but infernal) being closely connected to the covenant.
Finally, there is the mystical setting. Not having read the area descriptions thoroughly, I have to be a bit cautious here, but I am under the impression that supernatural encounters are more common here than elsewhere, not only for magi but for peasants and fishermen alike: For example, there are whole islands where it is common to have a Neriad in the close family, Vrykoloakes (sing. Vrykolakas), a dangerous infernal version of vampire, are a common threat, the Sybils still live somewhere distributed over the land.
Of course the (faerie) Olympians vs. (magical) Titans conflict is important. There is a magus (no surprise: a Merinita) in the tribunal who wants to recreate the cult of the old Greek Gods and convert the order to it, others – either because of their Christian convictions or their distrust of faeries oppose him. There are places of power originating in the binding of the Titans, and there is at least one, where one might be set free accidentally. Anyway, this is mostly background setting, no prepared saga-idea for a mass freeing of these primordial beings. Oh, that's not completely correct, there is a side-note that the Muspelli from Rival Magics could be replaced by a similar tradition worshipping the Titans. Rule-wise the Titans are just referred to as Kosmokratores.
So, there aren't any specific stats for Zeus or Kronos, and that is typical for this book. With only a few exceptions rules or stats printed elsewhere (HoH & RoP-books, HMRE, AM) aren't repeated but just referred to (exceptions usually seem to be connected to RoP:tD, probably because too many people don't have access to it). Personally, I like this, but then my AM5-collection is nearly complete (only Calebais is missing), for more selective buyers this might actually be a problem. Of course, there are some new virtues and flaws; Elysian Ecstasy (a mystery virtue) and Folk Magic (minor supernatural virtue, granting very minor magical powers to the peasantry) seem to be fun. The there are some ideas about the binding power of oaths and a magical/faerie equivalent of threatening saints.
Finally, some comment on technicalities: Optically the book fits well with the complete line, in my copy there are some blurry (but still readable) words on page 23, so no real problem there. The only (small) complaint from my side would be that there seem to be more orthographical mistakes in this volume than in most others, but it's not really bad either.
So, that's it for now. All in all, it's a nice book, I liked it more than tL&tL, even though it will be less useful for my current saga (which is situated in Triamore).
It will take around a month before trusted Redcap will deliver it to my Novgorod covenant. However, I have a question to lucky owners of this precious tractatus. In GotF and L&L there were tremendously cool chapters on Saga Ideas. This seems to be missing from Sundered Eagle. Are 'Saga Ideas' not there? Or, are they camouflaged as another chapter?