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Gladiator: Son of Spartacus Hardcover – 7 Feb 2013
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Simon Scarrow will do for boy gladiators what JK Rowling did for boy wizards. (waterstones.com)
About the Author
Simon Scarrow was born in Africa and lived in a number of countries, including Hong Kong and the Bahamas before settling in Britain. He has always been interested in writing and his love of history began at school, in particular when he was being taught about the ancient world by his Latin and History teachers. Since then he has travelled with his wife and children across the world to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Egypt to research his historical novels. Simon was an enthusiastic teacher for a number of years. He now writes full time, but does intend to return to teaching when he can find the time.
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It is here that the book feels untrue; Marcus is obviously written for the tween market and has the mentality of a teen, but perhaps of one from the 2010s and not the time of the Romans. Young people can be quite idealistic, but I feel this is a relatively modern phenomena that has been lucked into by the past few generations who no longer had to go to work by age 5. Marcus’ attitudes do no chime that well with the time in which he lives, they all feel a little soft and naïve.
This is even more noticeable when the history itself is well written. Scarrow has perfected his knowledge of the era and the story of the post-Spartacus slave tribes feels realistic, it is just Marcus’ role in them that smacks untrue. Also having someone as prominent as Caesar close to the centre does not help as his relationship with Marcus also feels unnatural. To end it all, the final action sequence is a damp squib, which is again unfortunate as there are a few solid action sequences leading up to it. Perhaps it needed to be extended to have a better finale and feel like a whole book.
For a 10-14 year old who likes action, ‘Gladiator: Son of Spartacus’ is a solid outing and they may relate to the character of Marcus, but even they will think that the ending is a little odd.
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