Sunday, June 10, 2012
Review: Spartacus The Gladiator (Blog Tour)
By Ben Kan
Genre Historical Fiction
Recommended by Me
First sentence When the village came into sight at the top of a distant hill, a surging joy filled him.
Spartacus has returned, after escaping from life as an auxiliary in the Roman army. But he quickly falls foul of his overlord, the Thracian king, who has set his heart on Dionysian priestess, Ariadne -- later to become wife of Spartacus. Betrayed again to the Romans by his jealous king, Spartacus -- and with him Ariadne -- are taken in captivity to the school of gladiators at Capua. It is here -- against the unbelievable brutality of gladiatorial life -- that Spartacus and Crixus the Gaul plan the audacious overthrow of their Roman masters, escaping to Vesuvius, where they recruit and train a huge slave army -- an army which will keep the might of Rome at bay for two years and create one of the most extraordinary legends in history. (From Goodreads)
I read and enjoyed Ben Kane's Forgotten Legion Chronicles during the past few years so when I was offered a chance to participate in the blog tour of his new book, Spartacus, I was excited. I don't, or didn't, know squat about Spartacus. I haven't even seen the famous Kubrick film, so this was my first foray into getting to know him. I have to give a shout out to the author for writing historical fiction that gets you invested in the characters. I love learning history without realizing I'm actually learning something. ;) The fighting scenes, whilst very violent, are always my favorite. Kane gets you invested enough in a character's well being that when said character is thrown into a battle you're left gripping the book a little too firmly hoping that character survives. My favorite character was, no, not Spartacus, but Carbo. He was, as far as I could tell, not based on a real person but I loved him. I'm very interested to see where the author takes this character. See, we already know what happens to Spartacus, or least you will after reading this book, but the author could do anything with Carbo and I'm dying to know what?! All in all, a fun read with great battle scenes and characters worth caring about.
Since this book was about Spartacus I wanted to like him better. His story felt a little too check list of historical events. Make sense? Till halfway through I didn't know there was a going to be a second book, or, for that matter, that Spartacus doesn't make it. I still don't know whether he's killed or just captured but I can guess. (I repeat, I know squat about Spartacus) Needless to say finding out both those things in the middle of a book can be a bit of a let down but, I digress, that's not really a reflection on the book.
When Carbo gets the girl!
Yea or Nay?
This book, and all of Kane's books, are very violent. They aren't for the faint of heart. But if you can handle the violence and learning while enjoying a good read then, yes, I'd recommend it.
Ben Kane was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He studied veterinary medicine at University College Dublin but after that he travelled the world extensively, indulging his passion for ancient history. Now he lives in North Somerset, where he researches, writes and practises as a small animal vet. The Forgotten Legion, born of a lifelong fascination with military history in general, and Roman history in particular, is his first novel. (From Goodreads)
My thanks to St Martin's Press for a review copy of this book.