The Prefect of Gaul has the bard Assurancetourix* kidnapped as a present for Caesar, who promptly sends him to be thrown to the lions. Asterix and Obelix travel to Rome and enlist as Gladiators to save the bard. An enjoyable read but not one of the best Asterix books, though I love the portrayal of Caesar getting more and more irritated as the games are wrecked. Reading the Asterix books in French is one of the most enjoyable ways of resurrecting your school French (other than finding a French girlfriend...) so go on, give it a try. *For those who've only read the English versions of the Asterix books, a few of the characters have different names in the French versions (e.g. the bard, and the druid who is called Panoramix).