Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spartacus: Rebellion by Ben Kane

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley/Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read: May 4, 2013

The mighty slave army, led by Spartacus, has carried all before it, scattering the legions of Rome. Three praetors, two consuls and one proconsul have been defeated. Spartacus seems invincible as he marches towards the Alps and freedom. But storm clouds are massing on the horizon. Crixus the Gaul defects, taking all his men with him. Crassus, the richest man in Rome, begins to raise a formidable army, tasked specifically with the defeat of Spartacus. And within the slave army itself, there are murmurings of dissent and rebellion. Spartacus, on the brink of glory, must make a crucial decision - to go forward over the Alps to freedom, or back to face the might of Rome and try to break its stranglehold on power forever.

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I rarely find Ancient Roman fiction that falls in the grey. I mean I either fall completely in love with it or absolutely despise it. Funny thing is it really comes down to the author and whether or not they can make me believe their perception of the ancient world. 

In picking up Spartacus: Rebellion, I knew I needed to hear the roar of battle in my mind, see the grit, sweat and blood of each warrior on the field, feel the desperation and conviction amid the violence and savagery of war. If I'd had any experience with Kane's work I would have known going in he would meet every one of these expectations, but as a first time reader, really, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Now, I don't want to give the impression that the book is all blood and gore as that would be an egregious misrepresentation. I needed those scenes to work, but I loved how Kane balanced them against the politics of it all. His incarnation of Spartacus is prone to human faults, acting in arrogant self-importance and in so doing, undermining his own authority. It is a very dynamic portrait of the gladiator which is quite an achievement when one considers how little Kane had to work with historically. 

If anything, I wish I'd read the first installment before taking on the sequel. You can enjoy Spartacus: Rebellion as a stand alone, but I think I might have appreciated it more if I had a better grasp of the larger scope of Kane's story. 

Still, Spartacus: Rebellion is a realistic and remarkably well-researched fiction by a truly gifted storyteller. A definite must-read for anyone interested in the gladiator or his achievements. 

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“We have no homes!” roared Pulcher, Spartacus’ main armorer and one of his senior officers. A burst of ribald laughter met his comment. He waited until the noise died down. “But we have something far better than roofs over our heads. Something that no one can ever take away. Our freedom!”
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check out all the stops on Ben Kane's Spartacus: Rebellion virtual book tour

Wednesday, May 15
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Boys
Thursday, May 16
Interview at The Maiden’s Court
Friday, May 17
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, May 20
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Tuesday, May 21
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post at Historical Tapestry
Wednesday, May 22
Interview & Giveaway at Starting Fresh
Thursday, May 23
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee
Friday, May 24
Guest Post & Giveaway at CelticLady’s Reviews
Monday, May 27
Review at Bippity Boppity Book
Tuesday, May 28
Review at Okbo Lover
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Wednesday, May 29
Review at Cheryl’s Book Nook
Thursday, May 30
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Friday, May 31
Review & Guest Post at Drey’s Library
Guest Post at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, June 3
Review at Book Drunkard
Review at The Eclectic Reader
Tuesday, June 4
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Wednesday, June 5
Review at A Book Geek
Thursday, June 6
Review at Freshscraped Vellum
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Friday, June 7
Review at Impressions in Ink
Review & Giveaway at To Read or Not to Read
Interview at Freshscraped Vellum


Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the great review, Erin. I am delighted that you liked the book so much!
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Thank you Ben! And thanks for sharing your work with us. :)