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Russ, this is Fantastic!,
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This review is from: Gladiatrix (Paperback)
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 mind the high risk of spoiling it for others.
Russ on the whole made a very brave attempt at this. When reading novels of Roman fiction, even nearly all Roman history fans (and I'm at least as guilty as they are) would expect the military campaign adventures of Tony Riches and Simon Scarrow, or Ben Kane's gladiatorial scenes of the male kind. Russ brought another dimension into Roman fiction, bringing in the female gladiatrix. One would also expect this to be written by a female writer, but Russ (a male) got there first, having come up with an idea which would indeed have been a shame to overlook, and giving the chance of a male writer to view an equally inspirational world dominated by women.
I can only assume this, but with Russ having first looked at what inspired him to write this novel, did so meticulously, and interwove fact and fiction, making a strong, taut story that enables Russ to fit in so easily with this genre of writers. I confess too that I overlooked any book written by Russ Whitfield for at least 6 months, for it did not look at first like anything that coincided with my own interests in Ancient Rome. I think it was Ben Kane's 5-star review that gave me that last push, and now, I too would recommend that any Roman history fan reads a book by Russ Whitfield, after what I read in Gladiatrix. I promise you it's amazing.
Like in Ben Kane's "Silver Eagle", "Gladiatrix" takes about 100 pages to warm into it. The story needed chance to develop, but from about the point where Lysandra befriends Eirianwen, it comes all in one fell-swoop and doesn't stop till the end. As you read along, each chapter is better than the last. It gives even a vivid account of a woman's reaction after her rape, the sadism of Nastasen, the jealousy written all over Sorina (a good account of how a jealous person would act, using any excuse to say bad things about a rival) and what I like particularly are the feelings that go through all the fighters at each stage of time in the run-up to a duel in the arena.
That is all I dare say about the story - I daren't go into the plot. But yes, I would definitely buy Roma Victrix. Keep writing Russ, you're a very talented man - you wrote at the end of the book that you were getting a bit frustrated in the process of writing your first novel. Nothing to get frustrated about, you've definitely chosen the right career, you've gained another fan, and that is reflected in the number of buyers of your works, well done Mate.