Spartacus: The Gladiator by Ben Kane is the first book I’ve read about this subject matter – and, since I haven’t watched any films or TV shows about Spartacus, it’s really my introduction into the character.
For anyone who doesn’t know they story, here is a quick summary – Spartacus is a Thracian who is sold into slavery, along with Ariadne, a Dionysian priestess who becomes this wife, to become a Gladiator. A group of men escape, take on the Roman army and….. Of course, it’s more complicated, but in case you know nothing of the story, I don’t want to ruin it.
The story really took off on the very first page. Ben Kane’s writing style completely grabbed my attention and held onto it tightly until the very last page. There is a great amount of historical content but that didn’t bog it down. In fact, I appreciated every morsel of it and thought it added to the book as a whole. I was a bit confused about how Spartacus and Ariadne became husband and wife. At first, they said they were married so she couldn’t get away from the Thracian king. And without any ceremony, they stayed ‘married’ and called each other husband and wife.
The fighting scenes were gritty and fierce and I could nearly taste the blood and sweat. There is violence, some rape, strong language and moderate sexual content so if any of those things offend you, maybe this book isn’t for you. I will say, it’s written respectfully, however. He didn’t write it into the story for the sake of being crass – it’s a real look into the time period.
I would happily read another book by this author.
*I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review*