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The Gladiator Isarna Paperback – September 1, 2001

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 660 pages
  • Publisher: 1st Book Library (September 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0759641013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0759641013
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,463,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Graeme Moore on December 7, 2006
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If I had not firstly read "The Lightbearer" (1994) by Donna Gillespie I would have enjoyed this novel more.

Isarna is a young and beautiful Iceni living in a small forest in Britain with her mother and brother following the warrior Queen Boudicca defeat. Her world is turned upside down one day when she and her brother are intercepted by a Roman cavalry patrol. Captured, the comely Isarna finds herself in a strange new world. The world of the Roman Empire she hardly knew existed such was her isolation previously.

A plaything to Valerius the officer who found her, she bides her time between being the object of his lust and seeking to escape.

Escape brings with it tragedy and learning. Isarna finds out who her parents truly are and her own surprisingly noble identity. An identity that carries with it great risk for herself and rewards for those who would betray her as Boudicca lives on.

Her adventures and trials are numerous. Ultimately Valerius's determination to possess her brings her to Rome though slavery does not temper her desire for revenge even if she must die. For Valerius's father is the most despised man in Britain. The architect of the crushing Iceni defeat. As for Valerius, Isarna's feelings rage from hate to obsession as she struggles to weigh up whether his value to her is measured greater in life or death.

My criticism of the novel is only that Isarna suffers great losses throughout the book. She is raped many times by her various captors , she loses family, friends, numerous lovers and see's tragedy constantly (some 20 such events). Yet she emerges like teflon - nothing emotionally sticks as one might expect of a real flesh and blood young woman finding her way in a cruel world .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Renee Fales on May 30, 2002
Sara Pacher's epic novel about the gladiator, Isarna brings us into the Celtic world during its occupation by Roman militia during the first century AD. As the daughter of Iceni nobility, Isarna is dedicated to the preservation of the integrity of herself and her people while growing up in the hidden backwoods of rural Briton. Things spiral out of control when she and her brother, Cian are captured on a sunny spring afternooon by Roman soldiers.
The love story...between the Roman Prefect, Valerius, and a teenage girl, whose very name Isarna means "strong metal" illuminates human passions in an atmosphere of desire and hostility that transcends politics as it embraces the limitations of time and place. Isarna escapes from Valerius only to be returned to him in Rome as a woman, as his slave and his lover. Sara Pacher's deep understanding of life and love come alive in her creation of the characters which complete this tale of unbelieveable human strength in the face of danger and captivity. Valerius, now the Urban Prefect of Rome, does all he can to protect and comfort the woman he loves, but when Isarna is thwarted by God and nature in her attempt to assasssinate his father, he can no longer contain his anger and feelings of betrayal.
Isarna's life is spared only to be trained as a gladiator, where her survival becomes as legendary, as was her father's fame before her. Although, "Where I go, death follows" is engraved on her weapons, Isarna's spirit will live forever.
Misunderstandings and duplicity lace the lives of Isarna and her lover Valerius. The intrigues of the Roman court in AD 78 undermine the course of events and love during the reign of Titus and on into the reign of Domitian in AD 79. Celtic myth, magic and culture persist through the centuries.
The book excites and informs the reader as only the artisitic weaving of a great writer can do. Kudos to Sara Pacher!
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This is a self-published novel. Normally I wouldn't make any judgments based on that fact because it is so hard to get a novel published; sometimes you have to do it yourself. But it's fairly clear why this one was self-published. It's essentially a rip off of my favorite book of all time "The Light Bearer" by Donna Gillespie. There is way too much emphasis on how sexually appealing the main character is and the storyline basically doesn't make sense.

This is the story of Isarna, who lives in the forest with her mother and brother. They are some kind of Iceni nobility (the tribe of Boudicca who rebelled against the Romans and killed a huge amount before being defeated) and so have to hide from the Romans. One day she and her brother Cain are captured by the Roman's while out swimming (in a vaguely incestuous way) and the commander of the Romans, Valerius, whose father defeated Boudicca, takes her for his own sexual toy. Even though she has been kidnapped and captured and is only 14 and a virgin, Isarna finds him sexually stimulating and participates happily with him in bed.

For the rest of the book Isarna escapes from Valerius, is brought back, escapes again, meets her long lost father who was a gladiator in Rome and now has a Roman lover (who was Valerius's lover)goes to Rome against her will to be Valerius's slave, and ends up as a gladiator herself after fighting with his father.

I swear to god that 90% of this book is about sex. How sexually appealing Isarna is, how sexually appealing her father is (and Valerius too.) It's annoying. The rest of the book is just not well written, like what plot there is wasn't thought out very well in advance. It is easy to read, but it's repetitive and I don't think the author is really a writer at heart.
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