Spartacus: Rebellion is the second book in a two-part series by bestselling author Ben Kane. The Spartacus series started with Spartacus: Gladiator, in which we learned Spartacus’ tale of being trained as the lowest of the low of society–a Gladiator–in first century BC.
The second book picks up right in the midst of battle as the slave army has been taking on Roman legions. Spartacus becomes enraged when Crixus, a Gaul that leaves with his portion of the slave army to fight the Romans, is returned by only his head in a bag. Though Crixus was his biggest rival as a leader to the army (there are several leaders of the slave army during this uprising), Spartacus still vows vengenance for his commrade. Coupled with the fact that his own army had just done so well in their battle, Spartacus name is being shouted in honor by all soldiers and they look to him as leader.
Spartacus, a person who we might have felt sympathy for previously due to his plight, is now brutal and cold. Now he’s a trained killer on the battlefield, even if he isn’t in the ring. Kane’s character development of Spartacus, and his thoughts in his writing as to what he might be like given that there isn’t a lot of historical detail to go on, was superb. The development of the supporting characters such as Ariadne, Spartacus’ wife; Carbo, his staunchest supporter and follower even if he was of higher culture and family; and even those on the villainous side, like Crassus, the one Senator who feels he can defeat Spartacus, were all wonderful and fulfilling in this dark tale of hatred, revenge, betrayal, and power.
Kane’s descriptions were so pungent, so vibrant and so realistic. I am not a huge fan of military novels, but due to my love of Roman history, and tales of legends, I had wanted to read this book. I was pulled in, even through the bloodshed and the brutality, as I enjoyed taking a look at their strategy. This book truly showed that Spartacus was more than a slave, but a great tactical thinker. I also love a good story of a people who rebel against corrupt governmental authority. The Romans were so horrific in their treatment of others and Kane showed this well. I felt that though Spartacus was brutal himself, he was a hero to society. By the end, I cried for a hero to have an ending as Spartacus does, even though some history dictates that his body was never found.
Kane is not only a great writer, with prose that keeps you engaged and emotionally tied, but he’s also a wonderful historian. I know he likes Roman history, but I like how he takes other military persons in history, like Spartacus in this series and Hannibal in another, and show their side of going up against the power of the Romans. He tells us their tale while at the same time recording a version of history and filling in the pieces, answering many lost questions with theories and variables.
There is blood and gore and death. Some women might like this book if they enjoy ancient history and can get around the horrors. But I know men that love military history, strong male characters, and war novels will love this book. The Spartacus series would make a great Father’s day gift. I feel like Spartacus: Rebellion can be read stand alone, but if you read Spartacus: Gladiator first, you’ll have more of a well-rounded background of the character Spartacus.
For a passionate novel about an amazing legend who takes on one of the most powerful armies to ever have roamed the Earth, I highly recommend Spartacus: Rebellion. Kane’s pungent details, lavish descriptions, bloody military strategy, sociology lessons, and emotional narrative tell a story that will stay with the reader. This series is one to own for any historical fiction fan who has a love of ancient Roman culture.
Stop back by on May 30 for an exclusive interview between Ben Kane and I, plus a giveaway of a hardcover of Spartacus: Rebellion and a paperback of Spartacus: Gladiator!
Spartacus: Rebellion, Synopsis~
Spartacus has already done the impossible—not only has he escaped from slavery, he and his seconds have created a mighty slave army that has challenged Rome and defeated the armies of three praetors, two consuls, and one proconsul. On the plain of the River Po, in modern Northern Italy, Spartacus has defeated Gaius Cassius Longinus, proconsul and general of an army of two legions. Now the road home lies before them—to Thrace for Spartacus, and to Gaul for his seconds-in-command, Castus and Gannicus.
But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon. One of Spartacus’s most powerful generals has defected, taking his men with him. Back in Rome, the immensely rich Marcus Licinius Crassus is gathering an unheard-of Army. The Senate has given Crassus an army made up of ten legions and the authority to do whatever it takes to end the slave rebellion once and for all.
Meanwhile, Spartacus wants to lead his men over the Alps and home, but his two seconds have a different plan. They want to march on Rome itself and bring the Republic to its knees. Rebellion has become war. War to the death.
Praise for Spartacus: Rebellion
“The author comes into his own during the numerous battle scenes when his burly prose highlights the pain, brutality and chaos of ancient combat. Kane’s Spartacus is brave, vain, ruthless and sexy, a Superman for more savage times. The author is genuinely deserving of praise for taking on this mighty subject matter in such a bold and regularly entertaining fashion. Admirers of Kane’s work to date will not be disappointed and there’s every chance this latest instalment will attract plenty more.” (Daily Express )
“Kane succeeds in drawing a convincing picture of how it might have been, which is what a good historical novel should do.” (Historical Novel Society )
Praise for Spartacus: The Gladiator (Book 1)
Gritty, passionate and violent, this thrilling book is a real page-turner and a damn good read. It brings Spartacus – and ancient Rome – to vivid, colourful life (Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of Gates of Fire )
Ben Kane manages to bring a freshness to the saga … Told with Kane’s usual panache and historical knowledge, this book is highly recommended (Kathy Stevenson, Daily Mail )
Author Ben Kane, Biography~
Ben Kane was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon from University College Dublin, and worked in Ireland and the UK for several years. After that he travelled the world extensively, indulging his passion for seeing the world and learning more about ancient history. Seven continents and more than 65 countries later, he decided to settle down, for a while at least.
While working in Northumberland in 2001/2, his love of ancient history was fuelled by visits to Hadrian’s Wall. He naïvely decided to write bestselling Roman novels, a plan which came to fruition after several years of working full-time at two jobs – being a vet and writing. Retrospectively, this was an unsurprising development, because since his childhood, Ben has been fascinated by Rome, and particularly, its armies. He now lives in North Somerset with his wife and family, where he has sensibly given up veterinary medicine to write full-time.
To find out more about Ben and his books visit www.benkane.net.
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