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"A compulsive, if relentless story, vividly recounted in muscular prose." –The Daily Telegraph (UK)
About the Author
BEN KANE is the author of a trilogy set in ancient Rome that comprises The Forgotten Legion, The Silver Eagle and The Road to Rome. He has traveled widely and is a lifelong student of military history. He lives in North Somerset, England, with his family.
I have read all of Ben Kane's books and have thoroughly enjoyed them all but, I have to admit that this novel would have to be his best. Therefore I am delighted that there will be a sequel out later this year.
The story of Spartacus is well known with numerous books published over the years and augmented by movies and more recently the TV series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and also the prequel Gods of the Arena. It's a story that captures people's imagination that an individual sold into slavery, sent to train as a gladiator to please the crowd could escape and challenge the very might of the Roman Republic.
Ben Kane does a brilliant job in bringing to life the character of Spartacus. He has inserted a considerable amount of historical information into the storyline and has tempered it with a fine balance of fictional input to produce a very enjoyable and believable novel.
The novel is full of action, conflict, romance, enmity and much more . Reading it has been most rewarding.
I have to say that although I like historical fiction, I've read very few novels like Spartacus: The Gladiator. Ben Kane combines extensive knowledge about the period with a fast-paced, daring writing style, a strong, fierce hero and a powerful plot. You can tell he's an experienced writer with his confident writing - the action scenes could be easily understood, the romance was short and sweet and the characterization remained constant. I loved how Ben Kane took the widely known facts about Spartacus a step further by adding all these details that truly make the story believable and worthwhile.
Spartacus' arrogant attitude but caring personality shines through in every word Kane writes - from the first killing of the thieves to saving the priestess Ariadne from the kings' guards even though he could have been killed in the process. I didn't always like Spartacus because of his brashness and unemotional nature but nevertheless, he was a very well-rounded and well-developed character.
All in all, this novel was a very entertaining read and I can't wait to see more of Spartacus. Although I may not have read much in this genre, I can say with confidence that Ben Kane can be counted among the famous authors in literary merit. When it comes to historical fiction, Kane is a master!
P.S. I also recommend watching the TV show Spartacus along with this book and its sequel (not out yet).
Word of Warning: This novel is for people interested in historical fiction, especially about Spartacus. At 480 pages, it is definitely not an easy, fast read. There are violent scenes (though not at all unnecessary or gross) and rape scenes and profanity is prevalent throughout, so you should know what you're getting into if you read this book.
I received a complimentary copy as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
This is another excellent historical by Ben Kane. He has become a master of stories from ancient Rome, especially, the Republican era.
In Spartacus the Gladiator, using what limited information that is available (a total of approximately 4,000 written words from ancient writings) and produces in a very logical and methodical order about the life of this famous gladiator and rebel. The characters of Spartacus, his wife, the Dionysian Priestess, Ariadne, Crixus, the vicious Gallic gladiator, and Carbo, the dispossed Roman who voluntarily became a gladiator are believeable.
Unlike the tv mini-series, Spartacus, Blood in the Sand, which really stretches factual history, Ben Kane remains true or at least tries to in telling what probably happened
This is the first volume in which we see Spartacus returning to Thrace after spending eight years as an auxiliary cavalryman. He learns that his father and brother had been murdered by a usurper Thracian king, Kotys. He himself is betrayed and sold into slavery and sent to Rome to be trained as a gladiator. Ariadne follows him and what many readers don't realize is that women sometime did follow their men into this type of captivity.
Carbo contracts himself to become a gladiator after his parents lose there farm and cannot repay their loan to Marcus Licinius Crassus, Rome's richest man.
Most of us know that ultimately Spartacus and the gladiators rebel and subsequently flee to Vesuvius where they hold off and defeat several Roman legions. I won't go into all the details, but Ben Kane follows very closely what is known about this time and does an excellent job of filling in the gaps.
The first volume ends when the slave army defends a Counselor army of two legions in Northern Italy. Will Spartacus and his slaves be able to leave Italy? That remains to be seen.
This is an excellent effort and I look forward to reading the next volume.
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Spartacus was a little known individual living in the first century BC. He rated a few lines in history texts due to the fact that he led a revolt against the might of Rome, and for a time unified a large force of slaves and gladiators escaping from captivity. Howard Fast wrote a novel about him in the 1950s upon which a film also entitled "Spartacus" and starring Kirk Douglas at the height of his career vaulted this individual into prominence. Recently a TV show again featured the character although this was filled with more distortions than any actual fact. Ben Kane has taken this a giant step forward and written a very engrossing novel about Spartacus which he admits in an afterwards to the book is based upon as much source material as is available, but does admit to taking some liberties with the facts.
He begins with Spartacus returning from eight years of service in the Roman army to his home in Thrace ( part of Greece), being sold into slavery by a man taking his family's estates and killing his father. Spartacus is sold to the owner of a school of gladiators where he sharpens his fighting skills, develops his leadership qualities and meets his future wife (girl friend). Mr Kane admits that there may not actually have been a female companion, but does create a woman that is a high priestess and gives Spartacus more credibility with the men he comes to lead.
An escape from the school is successful and Spartacus with the help of leaders of other nationalities in captivity with him flees to nearby mount Vesuvius. A Roman army unit sent to subdue these revolutionaries is defeated via the tactics planned by Spartacus.Read more ›
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