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3.7 out of 5 stars6
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 February 2014
Well, that's my adventure with indipendant publishing done.
Should fanfiction be published, anyway?
Because that's what this is - a STARZ' "Spartacus" slashfic, with some names changed.
As far as I'm concerned, fanfiction belongs on AO3.

The plot is nonexistant, the characters a cookie-cutter, wish-fulfillment cliches (especially Caelius, who's a glorified self-insert Mary Sue).

For someone who's never heard of the wonderful world of fanfiction, this book might sound refreshing (much like that "50 Shades..." atrocity) but for one who's been reading m/m slashfics for the last 14 years, this suffers in comparison to some wonderful stories out there, in various fandoms.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 23 September 2013
I found this book via a list on goodreads after reading 'Concubine' and a few other M/M stories. I wasn't sure at first and actually left the book to read another in the middle - what a mistake! When I really gave the book a chance I adored it. Great research, you really feel the energy of a dilapidated Roman Gladiatorial complex. Loved the characters and their legitimate emotions and responses to each other. Simply a great read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2012
A well structured and executed story with credible and interesting characters. The story reminded me that bigotry wasn't just between races, nor just countries; but it spreads through society and even pollutes gay society by division. But some have a wonderful gift, they can break through these barriers and become stronger, and maybe find the love they may have missed.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 23 November 2013
When I purchased this I thought "The reviews look good, a gay themed story about ancient Rome, what can I lose?" well a couple of pounds as this is one dreary book. It has very little to do with ancient Rome, except for the occasional Roman/Latin word thrown in ALWAYS IN ITALICS so we know at least some research has been done. The authors have created endless pages of bad sex and no plot, on the plus side being a kindle you can skip through the porn in no time at all, unfortunately you then find the plot hasn't advanced in any discernable way. I gave up, PLEASE DONT WASTE YOUR TIME OR MONEY ON THIS RUBBISH. Note to the authors: discriptions of poorly written bad sex is not in the least erotic, I would rather read a book, well researched, about ancient Rome/Gladiators with the lead characters, incidentally, being gay rather than this book which is wholely concerned with two gay characters and their unrealistic sex lives.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2012
This was a fantastic read so far, though im only half way through i have been throughly enjoying this book it has a great setting and a very good read.
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