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Spartacus: The Gladiator Paperback – Oct 1 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (Oct. 1 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099561921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099561927
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 399 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #347,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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

About the Author

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 in his passion for ancient history. He lives in North Somerset with his wife and two young children.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karoline TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 14 2012
Format: Hardcover
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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 48 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A must read! Jan. 28 2012
By Aristotle S. Spencer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read all of Ben Kane's books and have thoroughly enjoyed them all but, I have to admit that this novel would have to be his best. Therefore I am delighted that there will be a sequel out later this year.

The story of Spartacus is well known with numerous books published over the years and augmented by movies and more recently the TV series Spartacus: Blood and Sand and also the prequel Gods of the Arena. It's a story that captures people's imagination that an individual sold into slavery, sent to train as a gladiator to please the crowd could escape and challenge the very might of the Roman Republic.

Ben Kane does a brilliant job in bringing to life the character of Spartacus. He has inserted a considerable amount of historical information into the storyline and has tempered it with a fine balance of fictional input to produce a very enjoyable and believable novel.

The novel is full of action, conflict, romance, enmity and much more . Reading it has been most rewarding.
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Violence! War! Swords! Kissing! Interested yet? July 11 2012
By anaavu - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Originally posted on my blog: [...]

I have to say that although I like historical fiction, I've read very few novels like Spartacus: The Gladiator. Ben Kane combines extensive knowledge about the period with a fast-paced, daring writing style, a strong, fierce hero and a powerful plot. You can tell he's an experienced writer with his confident writing - the action scenes could be easily understood, the romance was short and sweet and the characterization remained constant. I loved how Ben Kane took the widely known facts about Spartacus a step further by adding all these details that truly make the story believable and worthwhile.

Spartacus' arrogant attitude but caring personality shines through in every word Kane writes - from the first killing of the thieves to saving the priestess Ariadne from the kings' guards even though he could have been killed in the process. I didn't always like Spartacus because of his brashness and unemotional nature but nevertheless, he was a very well-rounded and well-developed character.

All in all, this novel was a very entertaining read and I can't wait to see more of Spartacus. Although I may not have read much in this genre, I can say with confidence that Ben Kane can be counted among the famous authors in literary merit. When it comes to historical fiction, Kane is a master!

P.S. I also recommend watching the TV show Spartacus along with this book and its sequel (not out yet).

Word of Warning: This novel is for people interested in historical fiction, especially about Spartacus. At 480 pages, it is definitely not an easy, fast read. There are violent scenes (though not at all unnecessary or gross) and rape scenes and profanity is prevalent throughout, so you should know what you're getting into if you read this book.

I received a complimentary copy as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another Great Historical by Ben Kane Oct. 26 2012
By Jess S. Hughes - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is another excellent historical by Ben Kane. He has become a master of stories from ancient Rome, especially, the Republican era.

In Spartacus the Gladiator, using what limited information that is available (a total of approximately 4,000 written words from ancient writings) and produces in a very logical and methodical order about the life of this famous gladiator and rebel. The characters of Spartacus, his wife, the Dionysian Priestess, Ariadne, Crixus, the vicious Gallic gladiator, and Carbo, the dispossed Roman who voluntarily became a gladiator are believeable.

Unlike the tv mini-series, Spartacus, Blood in the Sand, which really stretches factual history, Ben Kane remains true or at least tries to in telling what probably happened

This is the first volume in which we see Spartacus returning to Thrace after spending eight years as an auxiliary cavalryman. He learns that his father and brother had been murdered by a usurper Thracian king, Kotys. He himself is betrayed and sold into slavery and sent to Rome to be trained as a gladiator. Ariadne follows him and what many readers don't realize is that women sometime did follow their men into this type of captivity.

Carbo contracts himself to become a gladiator after his parents lose there farm and cannot repay their loan to Marcus Licinius Crassus, Rome's richest man.

Most of us know that ultimately Spartacus and the gladiators rebel and subsequently flee to Vesuvius where they hold off and defeat several Roman legions. I won't go into all the details, but Ben Kane follows very closely what is known about this time and does an excellent job of filling in the gaps.

The first volume ends when the slave army defends a Counselor army of two legions in Northern Italy. Will Spartacus and his slaves be able to leave Italy? That remains to be seen.

This is an excellent effort and I look forward to reading the next volume.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The Real Spartacus July 22 2012
By plane - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Spartacus was a little known individual living in the first century BC. He rated a few lines in history texts due to the fact that he led a revolt against the might of Rome, and for a time unified a large force of slaves and gladiators escaping from captivity. Howard Fast wrote a novel about him in the 1950s upon which a film also entitled "Spartacus" and starring Kirk Douglas at the height of his career vaulted this individual into prominence. Recently a TV show again featured the character although this was filled with more distortions than any actual fact. Ben Kane has taken this a giant step forward and written a very engrossing novel about Spartacus which he admits in an afterwards to the book is based upon as much source material as is available, but does admit to taking some liberties with the facts.

He begins with Spartacus returning from eight years of service in the Roman army to his home in Thrace ( part of Greece), being sold into slavery by a man taking his family's estates and killing his father. Spartacus is sold to the owner of a school of gladiators where he sharpens his fighting skills, develops his leadership qualities and meets his future wife (girl friend). Mr Kane admits that there may not actually have been a female companion, but does create a woman that is a high priestess and gives Spartacus more credibility with the men he comes to lead.

An escape from the school is successful and Spartacus with the help of leaders of other nationalities in captivity with him flees to nearby mount Vesuvius. A Roman army unit sent to subdue these revolutionaries is defeated via the tactics planned by Spartacus. As a result of the victory over the Romans, other slaves are encouraged to escape, join the first group and over time swell the force to more than 40,000 people. The novel takes Spartacus and his army to a point where they leave Vesuvius, defeat ever larger troop concentrations sent by Rome to kill them, and get ready to plan their next moves. Mr Kane indicates that he is already at work on a sequel due out in late 2012 which should bring Spartacus and his army to the conclusion that history indicated was their fate.

This is not a dry history tome, but a very interesting novel based on what Mr Kane wishes to bring out about a fascinating real person living and acting two thousand years ago. Characters have conversations and feelings which probably have a basis in what really happened. Descriptions of the battles are very graphic as is the aftermath of these combats in the towns and cities that suffer through them. A very good read with no problem anxiously awaiting the sequel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A fun read March 12 2013
By ken olah - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A ripping yarn with all the usual clichés. No literary masterpiece but good fun for those of us who can't resist a bit of "swords and sandals" light relief at times.

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