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Monday, October 29, 2012

Book Review

In this blog I am devoting the entire space to a review I wrote about an excellent historical novel, Spartacus The Gladiator by Ben Kane. He has become one of the masters of the historical novel genre, especially, his stories on the Republican era of Ancient Rome. I admit I am not the greatest reviewer, but I have tried to do justice to his work. This is a book worth reading.


Book Review: Spartacus the Gladiator by Ben Kane


This is an 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 believable.


Unlike the tv mini-series, Spartacus, Blood in the Sand, which really stretches factual history, Ben Kane remains true or at least tried 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 defeats 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 a great novel and I look forward to reading the next volume.


9:37 pm pdt          Comments

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