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Gladiatrix [Paperback]

Russell Whitfield
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

18 Mar 2008
Under the Flavian Emperors the Roman public's hunger for gladiatorial combat has never been greater. The Emperor Domitian's passion for novelty and variety in the arena has given rise to a very different kind of warrior: the Gladiatrix. Lysandra, member of an ancient Spartan sect of warrior priestesses, is the sole survivor of a shipwreck off the coast of Asia Minor who finds herself the property of Lucius Balbus owner of the foremost Ludus for female gladiators in the Eastern Empire. Lysandra's Spartan pride refuses to accept her new status as a slave. Her deadly combat skills not only enable her to survive but win the adoration of the crowds, the respect of her Lanista, Balbus, and the admiration of Sextus Julius Frontinus, the provincial governor. But Lysandra's hubris has stirred up the ethnic factions of the ludus attracting the enmity of the Dacian warrior, Sorina, Gladiatrix Prima and leader of the Barbarian faction as well as inciting the hatred of the sadistic Numidian trainer Nastasen. Meanwhile Frontinus and Balbus plan the ultimate combat spectacle for the visit of the emperor's emissary, Trajanus, that will involve Lysandra in her greatest and deadliest trial.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd; paperback / softback edition (18 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905802099
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905802098
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 262,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi, I'm Russ.

I've had an (almost) life long fascination with ancient Greece and Rome, sparked by seeing the The Three Hundred Spartans on ITV in the seventies.

I was educated to A-Level, but did not complete college, preferring instead to seek fame and fortune in a heavy metal band.

Sadly, fame and fortune were not forthcoming and a career in telesales beckoned. A series of jobs followed culminating in the heady heights of 'content editor' for a large multi-national. Its not brilliant, but it'll pay the bills until I get that call from Angelina Jolie demanding to option my books.

Gladiatrix is my first novel, but the sequel, Roma Victrix is due out in March 2011 and at the time of writing, I'm at work on a threequel.

I'm a bit of a geek (all right, a lot of a geek), I love watching DVD's, reading comic books and historical fiction novels. And I used to play Traveller and Dungeons & Dragons...but that was a very long time ago.

In an attempt to stave off an ever increasing beer-gut, I've taken up Silat - a Malaysian martial art, but in all honesty, I'm rubbish.

Still, in a strange quirk of fate, I'm actually training with the person who inspired me to write the Gladiatrix novel! A few years ago, I saw a documentary on the telly called "Gladiator Girl" which was about "Great Dover Street Woman" - purportedly the only physical remains of gladiator uncovered at the time, a "fact" (its contended) made more unusual because the fighter was a woman. Anyway, the lead actress in that is also a Silat Guru - Cecily Fay is her name - and now, years later, I'm training with the Gladiatrix herself.

I love Heavy Metal. As a child of the 80s, I'm into all the old stuff, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Manowar, Judas Priest et al. However, these days my favourite band are called Hysterica - Gladiatrix Metal, believe it or not (I didn't till I went to their website, but the proof in in the pictures.An all-female five piece, they sound great, look great...And they have swords - what's not to love).

Thanks for looking at my page - I should add that its a privilege to be in a position to have one of these sections on Amazon. If you're reader AND a writer, don't give up! Believe me when I say that despite all the knocks and rejection letters, if you keep at it you'll get there in the end.



Product Description


A great debut that shines an entirely new light on the glory and the bloodshed of the Roman arena. Whitfield paints a vivid picture of the fights and the passions of women combatants. It's exciting stuff, with well rounded characters, nail-biting duels to the death and vividly depicted settings. Gladiatrix makes Gladiator look very tame indeed! --Simon Scarrow, author of Under the Eagle and Centurion

What a brilliant novel! Whitfield has taken one of history's curiosities -- the role of the female gladiator -- and woven from it a savage and splendid tale of the Roman arena . . . a tale that, once sampled, cannot be easily forgotten. --Scott Oden, author of Men of Bronze and Memnon

Gladiatrix weaves a complex tale against the vivid background of Rome's far-flung Empire in the heady but dangerous days during the reign of Domitian. A must for anyone interested in Ancient Rome as well as for those who have yet to visit this fascinating era. --Paul Doherty, author of The Alexander the Great Mysteries

About the Author

Russell Whitfield lives in Surrey where he works as an internet content editor. His lifelong interest in Ancient Greece and Rome inspired him to write his first novel, Gladiatrix.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Protagonista kicks backside. 19 Mar 2008
By Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Launching a new year with a new writer is always a good thing for me, it's a taster of things to come in a new generation of writers in much the same way that Janus looks forward and backwards at the same time. So I was more than pleasantly surprised when I picked up the novel Gladiatrix. As the name would suggest the principle protagonist (or protagonista) is a female gladiator which were originally seen as a bit of light entertainment. Knowing this did put me on edge to begin with until I started getting into the tale.

The combat which appears within the pages is simply written alongside being short descriptions which allows the reader to envision the fight as it takes place. No complications are thrown in as otherwise it could have easily detracted from the scene and lost the key element that made it so gripping. Its brutal, fast paced and at times short, but then again that's the typical life of a gladiator. With the principle protagonist coming from Spartan stock it's a bit of a giveaway as to the toughness and inherent combat skills that we would come to expect from such and with her freeness of speech it endears her to the reader.

Well written with a touch of wry humour and a number of nods to past masters of writing within the pages it's clearly a novel of love and one that has been painstakingly researched. A great first novel and one that the passion clearly shows through allowing any errors to be ignored by the reader due to the sheer enthusiasm and gusto within. I look forward to reading future novels from this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gladiatrix 25 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I rated this book two out of five stars. I really did enjoy some parts of this book. It wa pleasing in that it met my weakness for a strong feminist character, providing a mass of them. However, the huge lack of backstory for any character other than the main and about three other characters and scattered writing style really detracted from an amazing plot. There were a lot of powerful adjectives, but the constant switching between characters points of view and non-existence of any transition or fluidity between them gets pretty frustrating at times. The power is often more in single words than the actual sentences and it generally reads more as an Ancient Rome enthusiast with a thesaurus than an actual accomplished author. This book is worth a read if you literally have nothing better to do, but not one I would rush to buy.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy to Admire but Hard to Like 30 Nov 2008
Gladiatrix is a well written debut novel from Russell Whitfield which puts an interesting spin on that old staple of 'sword n' sandals'tales, the enslaved Gladiator fighting for honour and freedom, by focusing on female 'Gladiatrices'. It features well conceived and diverse characters, a sense of time and place that does not pander to contemporary expectations brutal action, a fair smattering of sex (mostly of the sapphic kind) and a well worked plot. It holds the attention for most of its not inconsiderable length and is by most measures a good book.

What it didn't do for me however, is prompt much in the way of a warm emotional response. As a book I found it to be like a well designed machine rather than a piece of art; practical, functional & precise but without any real beauty or soul to it.

Partly that is down to the setting. By avoiding any contemporising of the characters and the place they inhabit there is very little that is familiar for a reader to cling on to. The world depicted in Gladiatrix is a brutal one that utterly alien to modern sensibilities. With nothing even vaguely 'modern' with which to associate it also remains a remote and distant one.

It doesn't help that none of the characters on display are particularly likeable people. Even the nominal 'hero' of the piece, Lysandra, with her haughty Spartan manner is someone it is very hard to warm to or cheer for. Credit to Whitfield for trying to create characters of some complexity, but in doing so he has also succeeded in removing the reader's ability to really empathise with any of the individuals on display.

By the end of the book I was interested to find out what happened more out of curiosity than a burning desire for Lysandra to prevail over her enemies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action-packed and hot! 25 Aug 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
This is the story of a Spartan priestess called Lysandra, who, as the only survivor of a shipwreck is captured by the Romans, enslaved, and trained as a gladiatrix. However, her previous training in combat techniques, physical fitness and power, mind and spirit, put her way ahead of many of her rivals.

Lysandra is a strong and insular woman, but anyone who is lucky enough to become her friend can be sure to count on her loyalty. The opposite, of course, can be expected by her enemies.

As you would expect, there is a lot of violence and passion littered throughout the book. It is very well researched, and ties in with what is known of the history of the region. I was impressed by the description of the combat, whether in training or in the arena, because it is so aptly short and punchy which really grips my attention as a reader. There is no flannel to distract me from the action.

The characters are all brilliantly developed, and they interact so well too. It is easy to feel the heat and the emotions that the author has so enthusiastically penned for our delight. It is not just the interactions between individual characters which stirred me, there are also fierce interactions between the races too.

I would warn prospective readers against getting too attached to any particular characters. Just when you feel as if one of them has been you life-long friend, you are likely to find them lying, hacked to death, in a pool of blood on the floor!

Finally, it is impossible for me to conclude this review without mentioning that, about a third of the way through, you will read one of the most sexually arousing lesbian scenes that you could ever come across.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
Enjoyable story, reasonable pace. Good storyline makes you wonder if there is a sequel ? If you like simon scarrow style books you will probably like this one.
Published 8 months ago by S. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars bloody! brilliant
im a all things roman fanatic/fiction/fact,Gladiatrix 1/2 just made my day,took me into rome its self,smelt the blood/mud felt the fear/glory they must have felt/fame, but mostly... Read more
Published 9 months ago by pete
4.0 out of 5 stars Gladiatrix
It was a very good yarn! The fight scenes were well described. Lysandra was a great and very determined character.
Published 13 months ago by andy umerah
5.0 out of 5 stars **love it**
Read this book years ago and fell in love!
Came across it again a week ago and nearly had a mini heart attack, bought it again without a seconds hesitant. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Gulnaz
5.0 out of 5 stars highly descriptive
A fabulously exciting and extremely descriptive read.Only small negative is that Russell overuses a different, uncommon word in each chapter. Otherwise unputdownable!
Published 20 months ago by clare reed
5.0 out of 5 stars thoroughly enjoyed it!
I am usually a romcom kind of reader but I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am now reading the follow on Roma Victrix. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Nixg
1.0 out of 5 stars poor read
did not flow as a story, and very difficult to try to follow story line, not a book I would recommend sorry
Published on 17 July 2012 by Fred
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply great!
I loved this book to the very last page. I can really recommend this to the lovers of the historical fiction as well as unpredictable action.
Published on 27 Mar 2012 by Claudine
5.0 out of 5 stars Russ, this is Fantastic!
My relationship with this book is a story in its own right, to add to the one that Russ wrote. It's a pity I can't share that too much with the other Amazon reviewers, bearing in... Read more
Published on 26 Mar 2012 by Mike Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!
A brilliant novel about female Gladiators, with sex and violence included, what more could you ask for? Read more
Published on 23 Mar 2012 by S. A. Swaffington
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