Spartacus: The Gladiator: A Novel

Spartacus: The Gladiator: A Novel

by Ben Kane
4.0 13

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Spartacus: The Gladiator: A Novel by Ben Kane

"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, colorful life." —Steven Pressfield, author of Gates of Fire

Long the stuff of legends, Spartacus is known to most modern readers through the classic Kubrick film version of Howard Fast's novel. Now bestselling historical novelist Ben Kane returns to the source material and presents a lively and compelling new vision of the man who was Spartacus—Roman army auxillary, slave, gladiator and ultimately the leader of an army of slaves who nearly brought Rome to its knees. Ben Kane's brilliant novel 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781466802667
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 06/05/2012
Series: Spartacus Chronicles , #1
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 191,569
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

BEN KANE is the author of a trilogy set in ancient Rome that comprises The Forgotten Legion, The Silver Eagle and The Road to Rome. He has traveled widely and is a lifelong student of military history. He lives in North Somerset, England, with his family.

BEN KANE is the bestselling author of The Forgotten Legion trilogy as well as Spartacus: The Gladiator, a top-three bestseller on the London Sunday Times. A lifelong student of military history, Kane has traveled widely, visiting more than sixty countries on seven continents. He currently lives with his family in North Somerset, England.

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Spartacus: The Gladiator 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Sensitivemuse More than 1 year ago
Curses to my old age, I wanted to keep reading but my eyes just couldn’t stay open. That’s how good it was. It was filled with action, a bit of love on the side, but well written that I now have to go look for other books by Ben Kane to keep reading them. They’re just THAT good. Spartacus was good, and well written, the plot was well done and the action scenes were fun to read, and filled with blood that you’d expect in a novel such as this (not as gory as the TV show, thankfully.) Characters are also well done here. Although I’m biased towards Crixus. That’s because I’ve watched the show before jumping this this book (both are not related, and have nothing to do with each other!) and I hated him from the start, so that polluted my opinion of the Crixus in the book. Although I’d have to say, he’s still not likable and extremely abrasive as you’d expect. I like the relationship between Ariadne and Spartacus. Ariadne was like the strong, but silent supporter of Spartacus and I liked the role she played (snake as a secret weapon??? that’s just awesome!) in the novel. She was like the other half of Spartacus and they both fit well together. Spartacus himself was also fun to read, and with his personality done in the book it’s no wonder others were willing to follow him. He had all the qualities to become a leader of an uprising. The villains in the book were also well done and so hateful you feel like jumping in and throttling them. Ariadne though, had a great way of fighting back at one of them which I enjoyed reading immensely. The historical aspect of the book was pretty good, although I’m not quite familiar with how accurate it is. The author’s note at the end was very informative and helped. There’s even a glossary at the back, and that helped as well to make the reading more easier to read (plus, you get to learn something new as a bonus). I’m definitely going to read other books by Ben Kane. I’ve read other historical fiction by male authors and he’s up there with Bernard Cornwell in my opinion. Definitely worth a pick up and read through!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The dialog is uninspired and shallow. Arguments are on a par with, "Same to you but more of it! Dammit." he growled. Reminds me of watching a movie like Prince Valiant, 1953 with Robert Wagner. However, I enjoyed it anyway after reading several weightier books recently.
ruthhill74 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was very close to the real tale. Very smooth read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book about Spartacus however a lot of the history and back ground was covered in the parthian series probably due to similar sources covering Spartacus.I am waiting for the next book to see if the history is similar again to the Parthian series all in all a good read highly recommend .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kittycrochettwo More than 1 year ago
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.
Celticlady1953 More than 1 year ago
Spartacus, c. 109–71 BCE, was a Thracian by birth, who had once served as a soldier with the Romans, but had been a prisoner and was sold as a slave and forced to become a gladiator at Capua. Ariadne, a Dionysian priestess, goes along with Spartacus claiming to be his wife. They eventually escape with 70 other prisoners, a few of them women, and flee to Vesuvius. The escaped gladiators chose Spartacus and two Gallic slaves—Crixus and Oenomaus—as their leaders and they proceed to defeat the Roman's on numerous occasions. This is a story filled with the sights and sounds of another era where fighting is the norm. A very descriptive fictional account of what life was like at the time with lots of blood and gore. No one really knows for sure what happened to Spartacus but Ben Kane gives a great fictional account of the man and his life during Roman Republic. I found this book to be very easy to read and recommend it to the historical fiction fan.
Joseph_Finley More than 1 year ago
In the novel, Spartacus is a Thracian and veteran of the Roman legions who studies their tactics in the hope of going home and leading his own army against the hated Romans. When he returns to Thrace, however, Spartacus learns a usurper has killed the king, as well as his own father, and seized the throne. Spartacus plots a rebellion, but when the king discovers his plans, Spartacus is captured and sold to a Roman slaver. Despite this setback, Spartacus gains an unlikely companion in Ariadne, a priestess of Dionysus who offers to join him in slavery in order to escape the lecherous king who longs to rape her. The fact that Ariadne goes with Spartacus and remains his companion throughout his slave rebellion is the first of several surprises in the novel. Another surprise is Carbo, a Roman teenager who joins the ludus (gladiator school) in Capua as an auctoratus (sort of a gladiator for hire) after his family falls on hard times. Though he ultimately joins Spartacus’ rebellion, Carbo becomes torn between his sympathies for his fellow Romans and his loyalty to Spartacus, one of the few people who believes in him. Once in Capua, the novel tracks the historical story of Spartacus, from his gladiator revolt and escape from the ludus, to his massive slave rebellion against the Romans. Less than a third of the novel takes place in Capua, and the ludus’ owner, Lentulus Batiatus, is at best a minor villain. The primary antagonists are the Roman generals and their armies, which Spartacus and his gladiators take on from Mount Vesuvius to central Italy, and here’s where the novel really shines. The large scale battle scenes are the highlight, and the author does a great job of showing us events from both Spartacus’ and the Romans’ point-of view. There is more to the novel than just gladiators versus the Romans, however, as Spartacus faces equally dangerous enemies in his own ranks while trying to hold together an army of Thracians, Gauls, and Germans. Crixus and Oenomaus – historical gladiators with whom readers may be familiar from other versions of the Spartacus story – play prominent roles in the novel, as does Marcus Licinius Crassus, the wealthiest man in Rome, who is charged with ending the slave rebellion. The novel never gets to the climactic battle between Crassus and Spartacus as this is the first book of what the author suggests will be a two book series. But Spartacus the Gladiator stands on its own, and in the end proves to be a bloody good read!