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Spartacus: The Gladiator: (Spartacus 1) [Paperback]

Ben Kane
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Jun 2012 Spartacus (Book 1)

Historically very little is known about Spartacus. We know that he came from Thrace, a land north of Greece, that he once fought in the Roman legions and that, during two fateful years, he led a slave army which nearly brought Rome to its knees.

In Ben Kane's brilliant novel, we meet Spartacus as he returns to Thrace, ready to settle down after a decade away. But a new king has usurped the throne. Treacherous and violent, he immediately seizes Spartacus and sells him to a Roman slave trader looking for new gladiators.

The odyssey has begun which will see Spartacus become one of the greatest legends of history, the hero of revolutionaries from Karl Marx to Che Guevara, immortalised on screen, and now brought to life in Ben Kane's great bestseller - a novel which takes the story to its halfway point and is continued in Spartacus: Rebellion.

Frequently Bought Together

Spartacus: The Gladiator: (Spartacus 1) + Spartacus: Rebellion: (Spartacus 2) + Hannibal: Enemy of Rome (Hannibal 1)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Arrow (7 Jun 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099561921
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099561927
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,162 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

'History is more than facts on a pages. It's the sounds, the smells, the people, the passion. History should make you think: "I was there."

My books are born from my obsession with Roman history. I've followed Spartacus' trail across Italy. I've stood at Cannae and imagined Hannibal's army meeting the massed legions of Rome. I've watched the sea lapping against the fortifications of Syracuse, which were besieged by the Romans for almost two years. I've walked Hadrian's Wall in full Roman military dress, including hobnailed boots.

Immerse yourself in these incredible stories and - like me - remind yourself why the legend of Rome endures.' - Ben Kane

'Who is the rising star of historical fiction? I say Ben Kane.' - WILBUR SMITH

To find out more about Ben Kane, his world and his novels visit:
Twitter @BenKaneAuthor

(The image of Ben with the sword on Hadrian's Wall was provided by North News & Pictures, and the one with authors Anthony Riches and Russell Whitfield on Hadrian's Wall by Dr. Mike Bishop.)

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)

"Ben Kane manages to bring a freshness to the saga ... Told with Kane's usual panache and historical knowledge, this book is highly recommended" (Kathy Stevenson Daily Mail)

"Eyes are merciless, blows are wicked and screams are piercing, but this is a compulsive if relentless story, vividly recounted in muscular prose. Definitely one for the boys" (Daily Telegraph, 4 stars)

"Like many choosing to read a book like this, I was seeking an active and exciting plot, and in this respect, Spartacus: The Gladiator delivers handily" (Medieval Bookworm)

"If you want to become familiar with the lanista and the rudus, to know your scutum from your licium, then Kane's your man ... plenty of action" (Independent)

Book Description

The first of two epic novels which tell the story of one of the most charismatic heroes history has ever known - Spartacus, the gladiator slave who took on and nearly defeated the might of Rome, during the years 73-71 BC.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful

Ben Kane has been able to deliver and deliver and deliver when it comes to Historical Fiction, His excellent (and i hope not finished) Forgotten legion Series, the wonderful Hannibal: Enemy of Rome, and now Spartacus.

At first i was a little reticent about someone doing this in tandem with the TV series, The TV series that while it had started off with the 300 style filming soon settled in to a great portrayal of an iconic character, Andy Whitfield soon came to be the face that came to mind when the name Spartacus was uttered, Kirk Douglas fast becoming a face from the past.

So when i cracked open Ben Kanes new book the face that appeared was Andy Whitfield (RIP). within just a few pages i was back in 74BC Thrace and blood had been spilled. As usual the book is written with the powerful plot and pace that Ben is well known for, but Spartacus: The Gladiator takes it further, deeper and more emotive than the TV series, it does not rely on gliz glamour, blood and guts, Tits and ass. This is the first book in a series that will take the Man and the Myth to a whole different level, and by the end of the series leave us with one of Historical Fictions Iconic series.

This Book as with all Ben Kanes books comes Highly recommended.

(BTW Ben thanks for the Sleep deprivation it took to finish the book)


Product Description
As winter approaches in 74 BC, few travellers are abroad. But one man is making the long and weary last stage of his way home. Large parts of his homeland, Thrace, a land north of Greece, has fallen under the hated power of Rome. This Thracian has fought in the Roman legions for nearly a decade. Skilled, hardened in battle, a sophisticated fighter. Spartacus.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Ben Kane 17 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am finding Spartacus enthralling, very difficult to put down and am surprised how easily I can accept the brutality and violence that was prevalent in that era. I love the contrast with the Roman 'nobility' - it's toe-curlingly awful to see how elitist the Roman regime was. I am enjoying it enormously and shall be sad to reach the end of this current tale. Ben Kane's attention to detail is phenomenal and his storytelling skills have matured with his latest offering. Long live Spartacus!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Titles 18 Feb 2012
By Bob
This is another superb book by one of my favourite authers, Simon and Conn watch out,
I can honestly say that I really did not want to put the book down. It is with great expectations that I am looking forward to the second part of this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read 27 Jan 2012
By Paul14
Format:Kindle Edition
I have read all of Ben Kane's books and enjoyed every one. This is another action packed adventure and worth a read but i don't think its quite as good as Hannibal Enemy Of Rome, his last book, which had a far more involved plot and more defined characters. However, the action in Spartacus is constant and captivating.

The one major disappointment for me was the number of typos in the kindle edition; at over 7 a copy I think about 10 typos (possibly more)is a bit poor. This is no reflection on Mr Kane's writing, more on his editor(s) who have let him down here.

As an aside, I was also disappointed that the Hannibal series was pushed to one side so that the two-part Spartacus story could be brought out. It feels like this may be a commercial decision to piggy-back onto the current popularity of the whole Spartacus legend. Why not continue with the Hannibal trilogy (?) before embarking on a new story. People who bought the first hannibal book now have to wait a year or so for the next one. Just a personal gripe!!

Overall, a very enjoyable story and a worthwhile read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
After reading Ben Kane's Hannibal: Enemy of Rome I knew that Spartacus would be in safe hands. One of the most familiar figures from Classical history (not to mention Hollywood), one could be excused for thinking that there is nothing left to add to the legend. But Ben Kane has completely disproved that thought. Spartacus: The Gladiator focuses on the fall and rise of Spartacus, following his betrayal and enslavement, his training as a gladiator in Capua and his escape, culminating with his emergence as a threat that Rome can no longer dismiss and ridicule as the barbaric leader of a disorganised rabble of slaves.

While Spartacus dominates the heart of this novel, I was particularly interested by the stories of the men and women who follow and oppose him, including his wife Ariadne, a priestess of Dionusys, Crixus, a fellow gladiator and escapee yet also a rival, Carbo, a young, disillusioned Roman aristocrat, and Crassus in Rome who watches in disbelief. Just as with Hannibal, the stories involve us in both sides of the legend, that of the winners and the losers, and set it within a much broader context. The action is fierce and fast but through the wealth of characters, from every corner of the known Roman world, we get a real feel for the time and place. I found the story of Carbo especially fascinating. Spartacus himself is not just a hero, though. Here he is also a friend, husband and enemy. I can't wait for the second book, to see how Spartacus and the people around him deal with what they have to face.

Ben Kane writes so well, putting the heart into his characters as well as action onto the page. He is one of the finest authors of historical fiction writing today and Spartacus: The Gladiator may well be his best yet.
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