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Spartacus: The Gladiator by Ben Kane
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Spartacus: The Gladiator

by Ben Kane

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Bien entretenido e interesante, aunque no me apasionó ni la escritura ni el personaje principal. Pero, igual, me mantuvo interesada hasta el final y quedé con ganas de leer la segunda parte y de conocer los otros libros sobre Roma del autor. :) Fue entrete conocer a este personaje cuyo nombre me sonaba mucho, pero del que no sabía casi nada. :O ( )
  MisaBookworm | Dec 5, 2017 |
I received this book through a First Reads giveaway.

I entered the giveaway because: I like historical fiction, I like the Roman era, and I've been enthused about the story of Spartacus lately due to the excellent TV show. I was interested in seeing another take on the story.

I'll start with the good. Ben Kane writes action scenes, violence, and military tactics very well. This sort of thing, on the written page, often bores me; I often have trouble picturing exactly what's happening or I just don't find it intriguing. This was not the case here. Every fight (and there are many) comes vividly to life; you can picture every blood splatter and move.

But.
Other than that, the writing's not amazing. The characters felt rather flat, like they were just being put through the historical moves of what is known (or presumed) of the story. The one really "new" addition is that of the character of Carbo, a young Roman whose family has fallen on hard times, who sells himself into slavery at the ludus where Spartacus is also imprisoned, and becomes one of Spartacus' men. But overall, I found myself asking - "Why another version of Spartacus' story? What new does this add?"

And.
I do not object to violence against women occurring in books. I am perfectly aware, as the author tells us in this book in pretty much every chapter, that rape is a part of war. However, there is not a single woman in this book - not even one glimpsed in passing, or obliquely referred to - who is not a rape victim, a whore, or both. It's not just that this is a book mainly about men, there are plenty of rape victims and whores hereabouts. It began to bother me a bit about half way through - and then another female character was raped, to death this time. Basically, women show up in this book to get raped, and then men can be affected by that (but not TOO affected). Oh, there's one woman that can be a mystic, inspiring priestess when she's not busy getting raped. But there are no female characters in this book who are there to have any opinions, agency, or to do anything except be victims. It gets tiresome. And no, the story, time period, and setting does NOT demand this. (See: the Spartacus TV show, or the probably-thousands of historical novels set in Roman times that feature interesting, well-rounded characters of differing genders.)

On top of that... the story ends in the middle. Yes, there's to be a sequel. So it just kind of fizzled out at an unexpected juncture. Rather unsatisfying. ( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
3.5 Stars ( )
  Melissa_J | Jan 16, 2016 |
This book covers the early half of Spartacus. Ben Kane is an amazing writer and I thoroughly recommend his work to anybody who is interested in historical fiction. There is an section in the back of the book that lists what historical works he referenced and what he changed from history. ( )
  Schlyne | Nov 12, 2015 |
Over the past couple of years I've read a lot of what might be loosely described as Roman adventure or military novels. I'm interested in the era, and the most thoroughly researched and best written novels can be both engaging and informative. All too often though, the authors simply present the reader with a series of repetitive battle scenes. Given that, and the illustration on the cover of this book, I didn't have great hopes of this: I only picked it up as there was a "buy 1, get 1 free offer" on. But I was pleasantly surprised: Ben Kane has clearly taken the time to research his subject thoroughly and writes in a compelling manner. He has put a great deal of effort into character and plot development and - unusually for the genre - the battle scenes are brief. This is one Roman era military adventure novel I'd recommend to anyone with an interest in the period. ( )
  YossarianXeno | Feb 11, 2013 |
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This book begins in the Thracian village to which Spartacus has returned after escaping from life as an auxiliary in the Roman army. Jealous of his attachment to Ariadne, a Dionysian priestess, the Thracian king betrays Spartacus to the Romans who take him, along with Ariadne, into captivity and to the school of gladiators at Capua. Against the background of the unbelievable brutality of gladiatorial life, Spartacus and Crixus the Gaul plan the audacious overthrow of their Roman masters. They escape and flee to Vesuvius, where they recruit and train an army of escaped slaves that will have to face the conquerors of the known world, the most successful deadly army in all of history in a battle that will set in motion the legend that is Spartacus.… (more)

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