(2012) #29: review and giveaway of: Spartacus

Spartacus: The Gladiator



466 pages

I reviewed this book for free, as part of

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges



First, I would like to thank Teddy Rose at Virtual Author Book Tours for inviting me to review Spartacus: The Gladiator and offer this book as a giveaway – details below.

Now I have to be honest with you and say I am really divided about this book.

I think the author did a great job on his historical background homework – and mind you, this is extremely important for me. Parts of Spartacus’ life are no longer well known, and the author is very clear at the end of his book, explaining where and why he needed to go beyond known historical data.

As for what is known, he really managed to incorporate the data in a very lively way. The book is never boring, you keep wanting to know how long Spartacus will be able to lead the rebellion against the Roman power – and you will even need to read next volume to witness his end!

I also appreciated the fact that he included an index with many technical or Latin phrases used in the book. This gave to the book an extra element of scholarship, which is unfortunately not often present in historical novels currently written.

I found it also good that the book is a mix between history and romance, mainly with the love story between Spartacus and Ariadne.

Now, am I eagerly looking forward to reading the sequel? Probably not. Why not?

As you may know, I enjoy very much another historical fiction writer: Bernard Cornwell. The level of violence with the Roman slaves and legions can easily be compared to that of the Vikings, featured by Cornwell in his series of the Saxon Stories – which I have all read.

All along, as I was reading Spartacus, I found myself comparing both works: in both, great historical background, great romance, lots of violence. But Kane’s writing is not as tight, as refined, as diversified as Cornwell’s. My biggest reproach in Kane’s book is his description of violence. You can, I mean at least Cornwell can!, describe very violent and bloody scenes without splashing the reader with blood over and over again, and without inflicting to him several very graphic rape scenes.

Maybe some readers need that type of details to perceive the stuff of history. I don’t. And that’s probably why I will look forward to next and last installment in the Saxon Stories, but not to witnessing the end of Spartacus’ life, according to Ben Kane.

BUT if Spartacus: The Gladiator still sounds like something you would like, I have a giveaway for you, a brand new book sent to you directly from the publisher – see below.


Historically very little is known about Spartacus. We know that he came from Thrace, a land north of Greece, that he once fought in the Roman legions and that, during two fateful years, he led a slave army which nearly brought Rome to its knees.

In Ben Kane’s brilliant novel, we meet Spartacus as he returns to Thrace, ready to settle down after a decade away. But a new king has usurped the throne. Treacherous and violent, he immediately seizes Spartacus and sells him to a Roman slave trader looking for new gladiators.

The odyssey has begun which will see Spartacus become one of the greatest legends of history, the hero of revolutionaries from Karl Marx to Che Guevara, immortalised on screen, and now brought to life in Ben Kane’s great bestseller – a novel which takes the story to its halfway point and is continued in Spartacus: Rebellion. [synopsis from Random House].

The first chapter of Spartacus: The Gladiator is available on the author’s website.


Ben Kane was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He studied veterinary medicine at University College Dublin but after that traveled the world extensively, indulging his passion for ancient history. Now he lives in North Somerset, where he researches, writes and practices as a small animal vet. He is author of The Forgotten Legion and The Silver Eagle and is currently working on the third novel in the series. For a more lengthy self-presentation, go the author’s website.


Tour Stops:

Historical Boys  June 2 Review, Guest Post
Historical Boys  June 2 Givewaway
Owl Bookmark Blog  June 3 Review
Bippity Boppity Book June 4 Review & Giveaway
A Bookish Affair  June 5 Review
Moonlight Gleam’s Bookshelf  June 5 Guest Post
A Bookish Affair  June 6 Guest Post
Fourth Musketeer  June 6 Review & Giveaway
Joy Story  June 7 Review & Giveaway
Alternate Readality  June 10 Review
My Devotional Thoughts  June 11 Review
My Devotional Thoughts  June 12 Guest Post & Giveaway
Reflections of a Book Addict  June 12 Review & Giveaway
OKBoLover  June 13 Review
Book Spark June 13 Review
To Read or Not to Read  June 14 Review
To Read or Not to Read  June 15 Guest Post & Giveaway
Celtic Lady Reviews   June 15 Review & Giveaway
Bookworm  June 16 Review
WV Stitcher  June 17 Review
WV Stitcher  June 18 Guest Post
Luxury Reading  June 20 Review
The Wormhole  June 20 Review
Broken Teepee  June 21 Review & Giveaway
So Many Precious Books  June 21 Guest Post & Giveaway
Feeling a Little Bookish  June 22 Review & Giveaway
Fresh-scraped Vellum  June 23Review
Fresh-scraped Vellum  June 24 Interview
Layers of Thought  June 25 Review
Words and Peace  June 25 Review & Giveaway
Reader Girls  June 25 Interview & Giveaway
J.A. Beard’s Unnecessary Musings  June 26 Review
J.A. Beard’s Unnecessary Musings  June 27 Interview & Giveaway
Book Drunkard   June 28 Review
Book Faery  June 29 Review
Book Faery  June 30 Guest Post & G
Starting Fresh  June 30 Review & Giveaway




To win this hardcover and receive it directly from the publisher,
please enter between today June 25 and July 2nd midnight:

  1. Please leave a comment explaining why you would like this book, and including your email address = 1 ENTRY
  2. + 1 ENTRY: subscribe to my blog through email – specify if you are already following me
  3. + 2 ENTRIES: tweet or facebook about this giveaway. And give me the url of your tweet. If I have no way to see you did this, I will not give you 2 extra entries.

So you can win up to 4 entries.

I will choose the winner on July 3rd, using random.org, and will notify the winner right away.
After confirmation, I will forward your email address to the publisher.
If you do not confirm within 24 hours, I will choose another winner!

11 thoughts on “(2012) #29: review and giveaway of: Spartacus

  1. Pingback: Ben Kane, Author of Spartacus: The Gladiator- On Tour | Premier Virtual Author Book Tours

    • You are welcome, thanks for inviting me! I hope I managed to post a honest review, trying to recognize the positive elements, even though my personal reactions were more on the negative side.


  2. Pingback: I Love Italy Reading Challenge « Words And Peace

  3. Pingback: New Authors Reading Challenge 2012 « Words And Peace

  4. Pingback: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge « Words And Peace

  5. Pingback: June Wrap-up « Words And Peace

  6. Pingback: And the winners are… « Words And Peace

  7. Pingback: Year of reading 2012 « Words And Peace

What do you think? Share your thoughts, and I will answer you. I will also visit your own blog

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.