Most helpful positive review
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An excellent novel.
on 20 April 2012
An excellent historical novel set in Roman times that incorporates an unusual and for those times illegal relationship between the Master Caelius and his newly inherited slave Gaidres, whose Roman arena name is Argon. The m-m sexual relationship was perfectly legal, as an owner could use a slave in any way they wished. The unusual that this storyline develops well, was the slave being the Dominant to the slave owner's submissive, this would have been illegal and at best an unusual relationship along with the complex associated issues that are dealt with so well. Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe have researched and woven a compelling story of that era that incorporates knowledgeably and accurately Roman society, from it's daily life and the importance of wealth and public face in politics, to social standing and the relevance of slave ownership in the Roman Games. How part of normal daily life of the wealthy, incorporated ownership and overseeing of slaves chosen for the arena and the life of a gladiator, from their being kept locked in cells to prevent escape, to their training and contests which was the lot of many of the fittest and strongest of slaves at that time. This ended for most in an untimely public death at the hands of the stronger gladiator in the arena sands; at best a slim chance to gain their freedom from slavery. The sex scenes relate mainly to the mind control and sexual dominance of Gaidres, whilst still acknowledging Caelius's ownership within the slave context but not sexually and at the same time addressing Caelius's needs of submission. The standard of English and editing is very good. The only suggestion I'd make, that could help the non specialist reader would be a glossary of terms as to the meaning of a subligar or the ludus. This has to be a 5 star rated novel and one I would recommend to adults, and I'm pleased it was recommended to me, definitely rereadable.