"The Far Arena" is, quite simply, a magnificent story, which places Richard Sapir among the top ranks of novelist talents. Why this one did not receive greater acclaim is a mystery, because this is a powerful, well-written, even compelling story dealing with ancient Rome. Without spoiling the plot, it is simple enough: by entirely plausible scientific means, a Roman gladiator is revived in the modern age. His flashbacks to life in ancient Rome and his impressions of the modern age are all woven into a compelling plot that moves at lightning speed to a startling and yet wistful conclusion. This is a great story.
Sapir's prose is superb. Many authors have trouble switching from first-person narration to a third-person perspective as Sapir does in this novel, but Sapir does it effortlessly. The storyline never drags. The novel has a wonderful sense of authenticity that causes the ancient Roman Empire to become real to the reader. Sapir's characterizations are excellent as well. Eugeni, the Roman gladiator and the other leading characters all become real people about whom the reader will come to care a great deal. Put simply, there is very little about this novel not to like.
I own two copies of this one and would never part with either--I consider this to be one of the very best novels I have ever read. The discerning reader will want to read and keep this one in his or her personal library.