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Omnibus 2: Asterix the Gladiator, Asterix and the Banquet, Asterix and Cleopatra Paperback – 4 Aug 2011
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"Wit, humane insights, and physical antics allow readers to join the fun... has cross-generational appeal."--"Booklist"
A cartoon drawn with such supreme artistry, and a text layered with such glorious wordplay, satire and historical and political allusion that no reader should ever feel like they've outgrown it.--TIME OUT
The Asterix books represent the very summit of our achievement as a literary race. In Asterix one finds all of human life. The fact that the books were written originally in French is no matter. I have read them all in many languages and, like all great literature, they are best in English. Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge, Asterix's translators since the very beginning, have made great books into eternal flames.--THE TIMES
A special collector's edition of three Asterix stories - ASTERIX THE GLADIATOR, ASTERIX AND THE BANQUET and ASTERIX AND CLEOPATRA - in one volume.See all Product description
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Each story is beautifully illustrated by Uderzo; while Goscinny provides some interesting twist and turns to the tales, as well including the old running jokes - Cacofonix's awful singing (which plays an integral part in Asterix and the Gladiator), the pirates, and so on.
Fun reading for children and young adults -not to mention those a bit older- alike!
The fourth Asterix adventure is Asterix the Gladiator. Odius Asparagus, the Prefect of Gaul, is going on leave to Rome and wants to take a present for Caesar. "I have a brilliant idea! Why not take Caesar one of the invincible Gauls?"
The least intimidating of the indomitable Gauls is Cacofonix the bard so he is the one kidnapped and taken to Rome. Asterix and Obelix are hot on their heels though to tryand get their bard back. While in Rome they find out that Caesar wants to throw him to the lions at the next games in Circus Maximus, and "only condemned men, lions andgladiators get into the circus," so they train to be gladiators.
The book features fights galore, at which Obelix collects helmets of the people (mainly Romans) he beats as part of a competition with Asterix. The pirates also feature for the first time in the Asterix series.
The story involves a kidnapping, just like the previous adventure (the third Asterix) Asterix and the Goths did, but this doesn't detract from the story here. The strong, well-defined characters make for some really good jokes, including plenty at the expense of the bard and his bad singing. This is another excellent Asterix story.
Then it is Asterix and the Banquet. Roman General Overanxious is on a special mission from Caesar. "All Gaul is at peace with the liberating Roman Army, except this one little village of dissidents."
After he fails to battle them into submission he has another idea. "We shall isolate the Gaulish village from the outside world. You'll have to be self-sufficient and live on theproduce of your own village! The outside world will forget you."
Asterix has other ideas though and makes a bet that he and Obelix will be able to escape, go on a tour of Gaul and return with all the local food specialties from all over Gaul as prove, serving them in a big banquet.
"And this is the start of the famous tour of Gaul."
The plot is a bit busy, I feel, and it would be most appreciated if you knew France and the stereotypes of its people. However there are still some good jokes in here, mainlyrelating to Obelix's weight and some of the character names, such as a guy they meet who betrays them called Unpatriotix, and two highwaymen they encounter, Villanus and Unscrupulus. The pirates feature again, and Dogmatix is introduced, although not by name.
Overall maybe not the best Asterix but that is because of the high standards of the other ones, including the next one: Asterix and Cleopatra which is one of the best.
Cleopatra makes a bet with Caesar to prove that Egypt is a great nation. “In three months’ time I’ll have a magnificent palace built for you in Alexandria!”
Cleopatra gets local architect Edifis to build it but three months is not enough time, although he has an idea. He can use the magic powers of his friend the druid Getafix.
So Asterix, Obelix and Getafix, or as Caesar describes them, “an old druid with a white beard, a cunning little one and a stupid great oaf” go to Egypt to help build the temple.
Of course things aren’t plain sailing with Edifis’s rival architect Artifis doing his best to scupper their efforts, and Caesar himself interfering, but in the end the job is done.
There are lots of jokes in this one with clever use of hieroglyphics in speech bubbles for example. All-in-all this is one of the best Asterix stories. Trouble now is you'll want to read the others.
However I was very pleased with the first two volumes I decided to buy having seen the price of individual stories and despite having read one of the 3 books in the omnibus he was delighted to have some new ones - also like the picture on the spine that really makes you want to buy the rest of the set. Marketing ploy maybe but fun...
Of course Asterix and Obelix are classic and through them my 8 year old is now learning a bit of "Latin" and has even got the Minimus book as a start. Plus he is an expert on Romans - so history is (for him) just fun, fun, fun!
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