Spartacus: The Gladiator: (Spartacus 1)

Spartacus: The Gladiator: (Spartacus 1)

Book rating: 04 Paperback SPARTACUS

By (author) Ben Kane

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  • Publisher: ARROW BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 528 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 30mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 1 October 2012
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099561921
  • ISBN 13: 9780099561927
  • Sales rank: 63,058

Product description

The first of two epic novels which tell the story of one of the most charismatic heroes history has ever known - Spartacus, the gladiator slave who took on and nearly defeated the might of Rome, during the years 73-71 BC. Historically very little is known about Spartacus. We know that he came from Thrace, a land north of Greece, that he once fought in the Roman legions and that, during two fateful years, he led a slave army which nearly brought Rome to its knees. In Ben Kane's brilliant novel, we meet Spartacus as he returns to Thrace, ready to settle down after a decade away. But a new king has usurped the throne. Treacherous and violent, he immediately seizes Spartacus and sells him to a Roman slave trader looking for new gladiators. The odyssey has begun which will see Spartacus become one of the greatest legends of history, the hero of revolutionaries from Karl Marx to Che Guevara, immortalised on screen, and now brought to life in Ben Kane's great bestseller - a novel which takes the story to its halfway point and is continued in Spartacus: Rebellion. Ben Kane was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He studied veterinary medicine and University College, Dublin, but after that he travelled the world extensively, indulging in his passion for ancient history. He lives in North Somerset with his wife and two young children.

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Author information

Ben Kane was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He studied veterinary medicine and University College, Dublin, but after that he travelled the world extensively, indulging in his passion for ancient history. He lives in North Somerset with his wife and two young children.

Customer reviews

By Ruth Hill 22 Dec 2013 3

I am a historical novel afficianado, so when I was offered a chance to read and review this book, I was interested. I have seen the very famous 1950's film, so I figured I knew how the book ended. I hadn't realized till the end that there were going to be two books int he saga. So I felt the book ended rather abruptly, but that was more a result of my expectations not being fulfilled.

Up to this point, I had never read anything by Ben Kane, and I did not find his writing style easy to read. Yes, it was historically accurate. I was glad to find the glossary in the back--I should have looked for that sooner since there were so many terms I did not know, but again, that is beside the point.

I will be honest. I did not like the character Spartacus at all. I wanted to like him, but he was so arrogant that I even struggled to pity his fate. I enjoyed Ariadne, and I wish her character had been developed more. I realize that the time period would not have been conducive to a strong emphasis on women, but it would have been nice to have known the women in the book a little bit more. It would have given some gentleness and emotion to the book.

Personally, the fight scenes did not offend me. The violence was graphic but not so graphic that I couldn't stomach the scenes. Even the bedroom scenes were not really a problem. Many details were left out, and it was nice to see that Spartacus and Ariadne had some privacy. The rape scenes were very hard to read, but they made me realize the true plight of women during the tumultuous time in history. I felt for the women, and I thanked God above that things are different now. At least where I live, things are different.

I grew tired of the profanity in the book--when profanity is used outside of conversation, I do grow very tired of it, but that is not why I gave the book the 3-star rating. For the reasons I have stated above, this book did not truly capture my attention. Yes, it was well-written, historically accurate novel, and I believe many will find this an informative book that tells an amazing story. I was impressed with what a group of slaves were able to accomplish. I would have preferred a more human, emotional telling of the story, but that is just my opinion. I do feel I learned a lot, and it still is a book that I would recommend to people who would like to learn about this time period in history.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

By Brenda Casto 17 Jun 2012 5

I must admit the reason I wanted to read "Spartacus The Gladiator" is because of a movie that I watched about the warrior. Not my normal genre to read,I really feared that the story may be about warring and fighting, but instead I was pleasantly surprised at how much depth there was to the story. Sure there are battles,killings and such but there is actually so much more taking place and that's what kept me reading.

The book opens up with Spartacus headed back home to Thrace after being gone for years. He plans on returning to his village to settle down and perhaps find a wife, what he learns instead is that his father and brother have both been murdered and that new king rules the land. As he enters Thrace he meets Ariadne a beautiful priestess who has been fighting of the attentions of Kotys the king. Spartacus immediately plans to seek revenge for his families death,and overthrow the king. When he shares his plan with a few of his loyal friends, there is a traitor among them and instead Spartacus and his followers are captured and sold to a slave trader who is looking for men who can be trained to fight as Gladiators. When Ariadne sees what is taking place she knows the only way to protect herself from Kotys is to claim to be Spartacus' wife and follow him. Will she find protection with Spartacus,and for how long? What about Spartacus, will he fare well as a Gladiator, or is he destined for something else?

Ben Kane does an amazing job of weaving enough historical fact with fiction to really bring this story to life. The character of Spartacus literally jumps off the pages. We see him as a fierce warrior ready to fight to the death, but we also see another side to him, one that makes him very human, he feels responsible for Ariadne, a woman he basically just met, and he also looks out for his men, worrying about their well being.

One of my favorite characters in the story easily had to be Ariadne. She was a strong,brave woman in her own right.

Ben Kane is a new to me author who has defiantly gained a new fan. His fantastic storytelling ability certainly captured me from the first sentences and his ability to provide multi-layered characters kept me hooked.Anyone who enjoys a bit of romance, blended into a story where there is plenty of action,drama and conflict will want to pick up this book. I for one will certainly be watching for the next installment of Spartacus' story.

Review quote

"Gritty, passionate and violent, this thrilling book is a real page-turner and a damn good read. It brings Spartacus - and ancient Rome - to vivid, colourful life" Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire "Ben Kane manages to bring a freshness to the saga ... Told with Kane's usual panache and historical knowledge, this book is highly recommended" Kathy Stevenson Daily Mail "Eyes are merciless, blows are wicked and screams are piercing, but this is a compulsive if relentless story, vividly recounted in muscular prose. Definitely one for the boys" Daily Telegraph, 4 stars "Like many choosing to read a book like this, I was seeking an active and exciting plot, and in this respect, Spartacus: The Gladiator delivers handily" Medieval Bookworm "If you want to become familiar with the lanista and the rudus, to know your scutum from your licium, then Kane's your man ... plenty of action" Independent

Back cover copy

'Gritty, passionate and violent ... a thrilling page-turner' Steven Pressfield, author of GATES OF FIRE WARRIOR Battle-hardened by a decade in the Roman legions, Spartacus comes home to Thrace - and freedom. SLAVE But a new king has seized power by treachery and violence. He will sell Spartacus as a gladiator to a Roman slave trader. HERO And now begins one of the most extraordinary stories in history - the story of a great fighter, who escaped slavery to raise an army and challenge the might of Rome. SPARTACUS The new bestseller from Ben Kane, author of THE FORGOTTEN LEGION and HANNIBAL: ENEMY OF ROME 'Compulsive ... relentless' Daily Telegraph 'Highly recommended' Daily Mail