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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars first book in a series that will take the Man and the Myth to a whole different level
Spartacus:

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...
Published on 17 Jan. 2012 by Parm

versus
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spartacus Rebooted
No one knows what Spartacus the man was really like. There have been suggestions that he was a savage criminal who led a bloody revolt against the Romans, but Ben Kane travels the other route, giving us a Spartacus of honour and integrity, a good man fighting for freedom and justice - a Hollywood hero.

And to a large degree Ben Kane's novel, 'Spartacus: The...
Published on 18 Aug. 2012 by Amazon Customer


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars first book in a series that will take the Man and the Myth to a whole different level, 17 Jan. 2012
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Spartacus:

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)

(Parm)

Product Description
WARRIOR
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.

SLAVE
But home is no longer the safe haven of his imagination. A new king sits on the throne. Treacherous and cunning, he has seized the crown by murder and he will hold on to it by violence. When a Roman slave tradercomes to the village in search of men who will fight as gladiators,Spartacus is betrayed and sold. His odyssey has begun.

HERO
The legend that is Spartacus has come down to us through the centuries - the story of a man who took on the might of Rome and nearly brought her down. Now Ben Kane, the brilliant author of The Forgotten Legion and Hannibal:Enemy of Rome, brings to glorious life the first part of the Spartacus story
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another triumph for Ben Kane, 17 Feb. 2012
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No.... I'M Spartacus, 22 Sept. 2012
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I've waited until I finished the second book to review these two, since I read them back to back and a 2-part series is relatively rare. Given that, I will not be writing a separate review for each book. This review is for both Spartacus the Gladiator and Spartacus: Rebellion.

I've been a fan of Ben's writing from the start. His Forgotten Legion series was groundbreaking in a number of ways and quite astounding as a debut. I was then fairly stunned by Hannibal, which I consider to be one of the finest pieces of ancient Historical fiction written. Despite the high quality of FL, Hannibal showed a new maturity in writing and more depth of character and soul.

So on to Spartacus. I won't say, for the record, that this series is better than Ben's Hannibal (and its future sequels.) It is as good as Hannibal, and that's just dandy by me. I wouldn't have wanted Ben's style to change after Hannibal, as that book hit the spot just right for me. What I will say about these books is that there has been a slight change in conventions that I found refreshing and excellent (more of that shortly).

I won't say much about the plot, to be honest. Anyone who follows any review I write knows that I don't like to risk spoilers. But, that being said, the general tale of Spartacus is a matter of record that most people will have at least a basic knowledge of. So, bear in mind that you sort of know how this saga is going to end. I mean, there's only a certain amount of license a writer can realistically get away with (and Ben Kane seems to be very sparing with artistic license anyway) and to have the books end with Spartacus riding off into the sunset would be a little hard to swallow.

So prepare yourself. I spoke to Ben at the History In the Court event a few days ago and he wondered whether I'd cry at the end, given that apparently a lot of others had. Well, Ben, I have to admit to a few sneaky tears there, but to be honest there had been eye moistening for at least two chapters in anticipation...

One thing I find I have to say and it's the only thing that could be construed as criticism, I suspect, is that in both books, I actually wished they were slightly longer, despite that they were long anyway! The reasoning behind this is that the time spent in the ludus at Capua has some of the most important plot buildup of the whole story, but I felt that I would have liked to see more of the non-plot-important gladiatorial contests during that time (some are reminisced about or alluded to that I'd have liked to have read directly.) It is possible, of course, that this is my own problem fuelled by having recently watched the Spartacus series and craving such fights - bear in mind that it's almost impossible to read Spartacus without drawing certain comparisons if you've watched the series, but I'm confident these books will come out of the comparison favourably. Similarly, in the second book, a number of the smaller battles or skirmishes that are not critical are referenced only in reminiscence or conversation, and I kind of missed seeing them myself. Again, perhaps just my bloodthirsty tendencies showing through.

But on with reviewing: One thing that I particularly loved that was, if memory serves me correctly, a new convention in Ben's writing, is the regular inclusion of an `inner dialogue' for the major characters. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about this, but as the books progressed, I decided I really liked it and loved the effect it had on conversation. Often two characters will converse, but their private thoughts have a secondary conversation above them. This really gives a boost to the understanding of the motives and desires of the characters.

Another big win for me was the character of Carbo. Clearly a fictional creation, Carbo is the Yin to Spartacus's Yang in many ways and provides a counterpoint to the main star. I will say that he is in no way a sidekick or comedy relief. He is a strong protagonist in his own right, but helps to balance Spartacus. Well done for Carbo, Ben. Not only is he an important character, a plot foil, a companion and so much more, he is also the main chance the book has for any sort of positivity in the outcome.

Similarly, I loved Navio, and the portrayal of the young Caesar. On the Roman side, it is interesting to see Caesar and Crassus at this stage in their development, giving an insight into what creates the men who will exist and are portrayed in the Forgotten Legion.
Incidentally, as well as the sadness of the inevitable conclusion, there is one scene in the first book (a death scene) that I actually found worse. It was for me a harrowing read with all the soul-crushing skill of a Guy Gavriel Kay work. Fabulous in its awfulness.

In an echo of the plot construction of the Forgotten Legion, there is an overriding element of the mystical and the divine in this work which goes deeper than simply describing the attitudes of the people in the setting, but actually provides foretellings, insights, and even explanations as to the reasons for the events of the Third Servile War. One day I may well go back through these books and read them with a different mindset, going in to them with the idea that the whole string of events is somewhat defined and informed by prophecy and divine whim, rather than the straight historical viewpoint I attacked them with this time.

All in all, these two books create the deepest, most realistic and yet refreshingly different telling of the Spartacus rebellion yet. Forget Blood and Sand and Kirk Douglas. The characters here are authentic feeling and very much sympathetic, even on the Roman side. The fights and battles are up to the very high standard that fans of Ben Kane's work will have come to expect. The undertones of divine influence are subtle and yet powerful. As always, Ben appears to have meticulously researched everything and the historical accuracy of the books is as strong as I can believe it could get. There is never a let up in the story's pace or the action, and you will genuinely be as sad at the conclusion that you have no more to read as you are at the storyline itself.

It's a win on many levels. It's so sad that there's nowhere to go and the series has to end there. There could always be the possibility of a prequel, of course, since sequels are unrealistic. But anyone who watches Ben on twitter will be able to heave a sigh of relief knowing that he's working on the next Hannibal book now.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spartacus Rebooted, 18 Aug. 2012
By 
This review is from: Spartacus: The Gladiator: (Spartacus 1) (Paperback)
No one knows what Spartacus the man was really like. There have been suggestions that he was a savage criminal who led a bloody revolt against the Romans, but Ben Kane travels the other route, giving us a Spartacus of honour and integrity, a good man fighting for freedom and justice - a Hollywood hero.

And to a large degree Ben Kane's novel, 'Spartacus: The Gladiator' works well. Spartacus is unabashedly a glossy hero, kind to the weak, smart, resourceful and, of course, handsome. The tale sees the Thracian sold into slavery, entering the brutal world of the gladiatorial arena. Here, aided by a band of followers, he manages to cast of his manacles and lead an ever-growing band of slaves against the might of the Roman superpower.

Ben Kane possesses a keen eye for detail and the book is finely researched; generally you learn new things when reading this author. The tale rattles along at a fair pace and the simple prose allows a brevity to the slower, action-free passages. Having said that, sometimes the prose can be too simple and often strewn with cliches that seem lazy for such an enigmatic author. I found Spartacus' lover, the priestess Ariadne, a trifle irritating and tolerated more than enjoyed those sections in which she featured.

All in all, fans of the genre will enjoy this read. There is nothing too deep nor challenging here yet the pages fly by and I for one will read any subsequent sequels. I don't think Kane is quite yet in the same league as Cornwell or Iggulden, but in time I think he can match these leviathans. I hope he's not rushing his work to please his publishers, yet, alas, that is the way of things, I fear. Give this a go, anyway. It's a lot of fun.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Titles, 18 Feb. 2012
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spartacus: The Gladiator, 28 Feb. 2012
By 
Je Salter (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Ben Kane strikes again with another riveting book/read, with interesting characters and a storyline that mirrors history in well studied detail. If you like or are interested in this genre, then you are sure to read this from start to end but be warned it's graphic and quite different from the current television series running on Sky and out on dvd.

The storyline line moves quickly along and has the main character escaping the Gladiator training school after giving the reader the background of where Spartacus came from and how he found himself to be fighting against former fellow soldiers. With a well supported cast of supporting characters at his side in an almost family like clan, he has to find sanctuary away from the pursuing legions.

With large scale battles, bloody scenes, excitement, passion, comradeship and a story that runs alongside historical fact, Spartacus: The Gladiator is a must for all fans of the subject and a must buy, get it, you'll be glad you did!
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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
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
5.0 out of 5 stars A superb novel that brings Spartacus to life as we've never seen him before. Read it!, 20 Jan. 2012
By 
Kate (Oxford, Oxon United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OH MY GOD, 8 Nov. 2012
this book is just brilliant. first time i have ever read one of Ben Kane's books and let me tell you i will be reading more of his work.

firstly i am a huge fan of Spartacus in all forms.

this book brought him to life in so much detail, this book is brilliantly written and for someone who wishes to leave reality for a few days pick up this book and read it.... you would be able to put it down,

cant wait to get my hands on the second one..........

hope everyone else enjoys it.......
oh and can i just say they should base a new Spartacus film on this book... just saying!
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Am Spartacus, 21 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Spartacus: The Gladiator: (Spartacus 1) (Paperback)
Given Ben Kane's tendency to write strong characters who rebel against their Roman leaders, it's perhaps slightly predictable that he should take on the story of Spartacus, who led a slaves' rebellion against Rome. This is, perhaps, the only thing you can say about Kane's writing that is predictable.

Returning to his home in Thrace after several years away fighting in the legions, Spartacus anticipates settling back into normal life and finding himself a wife. He soon discovers that nothing is the same as when he left. His King has been murdered and his likely replacement, Spartacus' father, has also been betrayed and murdered. Attempting a revolution against the new King, the man who murdered his father, Spartacus is betrayed and sold into slavery to fight as a gladiator.

A life of slavery doesn't suit Spartacus at all, having lived as a free man, so he sets about escaping. He quickly gathers a following and, despite another betrayal, this time he achieves his aim and sets up camp on top of Mount Vesuvius. The Roman Senate is predictably unhappy at this turn of events and sends an army after the escaped gladiator. Meanwhile, Spartacus is struggling with an influx of recruits and locked in a power struggle with some of the other former gladiators who had themselves built up a following in the ludus and weren't happy to serve under Spartacus.

With every book I've read of Ben Kane's, he's added something a little new, whilst still retaining all the parts I enjoyed from his previous books. What that means here is that he writes so vividly that you can almost feel yourself a part of the action, particularly in the battle scenes. His description of the whip that is about to be used to scourge Spartacus' back is so detailed that when it strikes, you can feel the damage it does. When a close friend runs onto a sword wielded by a Roman soldier, you can feel the physical impact of the blade, as well as the emotional one as Spartacus watches his friend's blood pour out of him.

Just thinking about these moments brings them back, such is the visual and emotional strength of Kane's writing. As ever, the physical descriptions of the characters aren't as detailed, only being drawn in basic terms, or highlighted features, but Kane's writing has never required the reader to be able to visualise the characters, only to feel alongside them. It doesn't matter what colour Phortis' hair is, for example, because when he is bitten by a snake thrown at him by Spartacus' wife Ariadne, you can visualise his face turning purple, regardless of whether Kane has told you which shade of purple you should be imagining.

What is different this time around is the cast of characters. For the first time in Kane's writing, there is really only one major character. In previous works, whilst there have always been strong leaders and characters who stick out, there is frequently a large cast and the story moves between them. Here, although there are significant other characters, this is really the story of Spartacus and Spartacus alone. There are very few scenes that aren't about him and in one that isn't, his presence is so keenly felt by the characters involved that he's there in spirit, if not in reality. Here again Kane's expertise comes to the fore, as I could feel his presence through the concerns of the characters. It's so well done that you barely notice when others fade into the background, as Kane has written such a strong character in Spartacus that he carries the novel as easily as he carries the burden of leadership.

Once again, through the midst of battle and the horrors it contains, Kane at least emerges triumphant. Although there may be limited evidence, history records the story of Spartacus as enough to spark some kind of interest, but in the hands of Ben Kane, that spark becomes a fire that won't easily be stopped. As usual, the only disappointment to be found in a Ben Kane novel is that it ends.

This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
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Spartacus: The Gladiator: (Spartacus 1)
Spartacus: The Gladiator: (Spartacus 1) by Ben Kane (Paperback - 7 Jun. 2012)
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