Tag Archives: Ben Kane

Celebrate the Month Anniversary of A Day of Fire: Pompeii with Micro-Interview: Stephanie Dray Arrives

It’s already the one month anniversary of the launch of A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii! In celebration of this release of the historical novel, I’ve been doing a “Ring of Fire” series where I toss the fire torch to each of the authors every Wednesday or so for SIX WEEKS in order for them to answer a few quick questions about the book. All of the authors were given the same two questions!

Today, eloquent Stephanie Dray is in the hot seat, but there are links to the four past micro-interviews too. Follow along and see what each has to say about their experience! I’m going in order based on where their part of the story falls within the book. I’m a bit late on my review, due to some family and personal responsibilities, so I’ll end the series with seven parts with my review as the seventh week, next week on 12/11. So far, I’ve loved the book and highly recommend.

Just for Fun Photo: The Temple of Isis in Pompeii / Wiki

Just for Fun Photo: The Temple of Isis in Pompeii / Wiki

In case you haven’t heard, or read my past posts, this book was written by six top historical novelists who joined forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. It’s a combined novel by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran, in which each takes on a character and intertwines them into the story.

Now, take it away, Stephanie Dray…..the heat’s on you….

Q1 : What did your character bring to the volcano gods for the book (i.e. what voice did they bring to the volume)?

A: When we first contemplated the massive disaster that was Pompeii, we knew it was going to be a heart-rending tale, and we didn’t want to leave the reader so depressed they’d want to slit their wrists. As it happens, writing very dark stories with uplifting endings happens to be a bit of a specialty of mine—and so early on, I thought I might be writing the ending. We didn’t want the story to be nihilistic or without a soul, especially since there were so many touching things discovered in the ruins—such as the fact that the priests of Isis stayed, propitiating the goddess, almost to the end. And since I’d already written about Isis worship in my books about Cleopatra Selene, that sealed the deal. In this book, my heroine Capella is tavern prostitute who has a calling to serve as a priestess. She and her wicked half-sister weave in and out of all the other stories in the novel, and so by the end, I think the reader will be as attached to them as I was. They both get to speak for redemption, in different ways, and I was delighted to be able to write a poignant–and untawdry tale about these women of ill-repute.

Q2: What is one of your favorite moments from the collaboration?

A: I loved sharing characters, setting up plot arcs in the first part of the book written by Vicky AlvearShecter that wouldn’t come to fruition until the end of the book, in mine. We had so much fun brainstorming, and sketching out plots together and elevating each other’s stories. Six heads are wiser than one!

 Previously posted in the series:

Vicky

Sophie

Ben

Kate

Eliza

Stephanie Dray, Biograpy~

s draySTEPHANIE DRAY is a best-selling, multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy. Her critically- acclaimed historical series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award, and won the Golden Leaf.

Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion.

Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher.

Learn more about Stephanie and her books at: www.stephaniedray.com

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii released on November 4, 2014. Order now!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NI5CBXI</

pre-order cover ElizaKnight_ADayofFire_HR

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, Information~

by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter,
with an introduction by Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . .these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six top historical authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

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E. Knight Catches the Torch in A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii Series

In celebration of the release of the historical novel A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, I’ve been doing a “Ring of Fire” series where I toss the fire torch to each of the authors every Wednesday or so for SIX WEEKS in order for them to answer a few quick questions about the book. All of the authors were given the same two questions!

Remember this Doctor Who episode in the fires of Pompeii?

Hey! Remember this Doctor Who episode in the fires of Pompeii?

Today, the E. Knight is in the hot seat, but there are links to the four past micro-interviews too. Follow along and see what each has to say about their experience! I’m going in order based on where their part of the story falls within the book. My review will be posted during the six weeks as well, mostly likely next week. I’m planning some additional reading over the holiday weekend.

In case you haven’t heard, or read my past posts, this book was written by six top historical novelists who joined forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. It’s a combined novel by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran, in which each takes on a character and intertwines them into the story.

Take it away, E. Knight…..

Q1 : What did your character bring to the volcano gods for the book (i.e. what voice did they bring to the volume)?

A: Julilla brought the voice of a young, happily married woman well into the final stages of her pregnancy who is forced to make one of the most difficult and painful choices of her life. Having lost her first baby, she is extremely protective of the one in her womb. But with the impending destruction of Pompeii, and her family trapped in their home, she is now not so sure she wants to deliver her child into the world—for its first precious breath to be that of ash. Julilla’s story, THE MOTHER, is an emotional journey in which we see her turn from compliant Roman wife to a mother willing to do anything to protect her child from pain.

Q2: What is one of your favorite moments from the collaboration?

A: I myself traveled along an emotional journey right with Julilla. I cried, I mourned, I was lost. Having the group to take that journey with me was a blessing. So that, in itself, is one of the best parts of working on a collaboration. But, one of my favorite moments out of all was the Roman naming process—and the joy my writing pals had teasing me about it. Coming from medieval/Elizabethan fiction, it was quite a bit different! All children are named for their pater familias. I had the hardest time comprehending that EVERY ONE of Julius Polybius’ children would be a Julius (or Julia for girls). But, I felt like Julilla was different, and so I didn’t want her to be Julia. She was, is and always will be a Julilla to me.

Previously posted in the series:

Vicky

Sophie

Ben

Kate

E. Knight, Biograpy~

Eliza KnightEliza Knight is the award-winning, multi-published, Amazon best-selling author of sizzling historical romance and time travel erotic romance. She runs the award-winning blog, History Undressed.

When not reading, writing and researching, she likes to cuddle up in front of a warm fire with her own knight in shining armor. Visit Eliza at http://www.elizaknight.com or http://www.historyundressed.com

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii released on November 4, 2014. Order now!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NI5CBXI</

pre-order cover ElizaKnight_ADayofFire_HR

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, Information~

by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter,
with an introduction by Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . .these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six top historical authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

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A Day of Fire: Pompeii Series: Kate Quinn Next Under Fire

In celebration of the release of the historical novel A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, and all the time this writing clan of six authors put into it, I’ve been doing a “Ring of Fire” series where I toss the fire torch to each of the authors every Wednesday or so for SIX WEEKS in order for them to answer a few quick questions about the book. All of the authors were given the same two questions! I thought it would be fun to see each of their respective answers. Now, I wish I would have put them in the hot seat a little longer and asked them some additional questions.

fire heart

Day of Fire: A Novel of Pomeii is on Fire

Today, the amazing Kate Quinn is featured (a fellow Boston Red Sox fan!), but there are links to the three past micro-interviews too. Follow along and see what each has to say about their experience! I’m going in order based on where their part of the story falls within the book. My review will be posted during the six weeks as well, mostly likely within the next two weeks.

In case you haven’t heard, or read my past posts, this book was written by six top historical novelists who joined forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. It’s a combined novel by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran, in which each takes on a character and intertwines them into the story.

Ready for the torch pass?……take it away Kate!

 Q1 : What did your character bring to the volcano gods for the book (i.e. what voice did they bring to the volume)?

Kate’s Answer: Pompeii is a story all about escape – as soon as Vesuvius goes up, everyone is fighting to leave. I had a chance with my narrator to flip that on its head: he is a senator battling serious depression (not that he would have a name for it at the time), and unlike the fleeing masses, he has no intention of trying to escape the disaster. He welcomes this chance for an honorable death, but a girl with a foul mouth and a fast horse is trying to drag him to safety whether he wants to go or not. I also had the chance to bring humor to this book (I’m not sure I know how to write a story without it!) Strange to say you can find humor in a tragedy like Pompeii, but my diacritically-opposed characters played off each other like a buddy cop movie, and hopefully provide some much-needed laughs before the big tragic finish!

 Q2: What is one of your favorite moments from the collaboration?

Kate’s Answer: Collaborative writing! For the scenes where the protagonist from one story made a cameo in another, we found it was most effective to crank up an interactive Google document, and for the two authors to write the scene together, each writing the dialogue of their own protagonist so that every character stayed true to their voice. It was like an improv acting exercise but with writing – huge fun.

We’ve already heard from Vicky, Sophie, Ben. Check out their answers by clicking on their name!

Kate Quinn, Biography~

kate quinnKate Quinn is a native of southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Classical Voice. A lifelong history buff, she has written three novels set in ancient Rome: “Mistress of Rome,” “Daughters of Rome,” and “Empress of the Seven Hills,” all of which have been translated into multiple languages.

Kate made the jump from ancient Rome to Renaissance Italy for her fourth and fifth novels, “The Serpent and the Pearl” and “The Lion and the Rose,” detailing the early years of the Borgia clan. She also has succumbed to the blogging bug, and keeps a blog filled with trivia, pet peeves, and interesting facts about historical fiction. She and her husband now live in Maryland with a small black dog named Caesar, and her interests include opera, action movies, cooking, and the Boston Red Sox.

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii released on November 4, 2014. Order now!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NI5CBXI</

pre-order cover ElizaKnight_ADayofFire_HR

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, Information~

by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter,
with an introduction by Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . .these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six top historical authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

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A Few Questions with Ben Kane about A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii

I’m sure you’ve heard by now, if you’re a historical reader or consistent reader of this site, about the *ERUPTION* A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii has made this month!

However, in case you haven’t, six top historical novelists have joined forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. It’s a combined novel by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran, in which each takes on a character and intertwines them into the story.

In celebration of the book, and all the time this clan put into it, I’ve been doing this “Ring of Fire” series where I toss the fire torch to each of the authors every Wednesday or so for SIX WEEKS in order for them to answer a few quick questions about the book. All of the authors were given the same questions! Follow along and see what each says! We’ll be going in order based on where their part of the story falls within the book. My review will be posted during the six weeks as well.

We’ve heard from Vicky, then Sophie,

and next up is Ben Kane……take it away Ben!

Q1 : What did your character bring to the volcano gods for the book (i.e. what voice did they bring to the volume)?

Ben: With luck, the voice of a man whose fortunes have been bad for years, getting even worse. And that was before the eruption started…

Q2: What is one of your favorite moments from the collaboration?

Ben: Without doubt, the hilarity and degree of embarrassment that erupted (!) after one of the others – during an online discussion – called me British. I’m Irish. You can do the math on the rest. 😉

Ben Kane, Biography~

BEN_KANE_HADRIANS_WALL_3‘History is more than facts on a pages. It’s the sounds, the smells, the people, the passion. History should make you think: “I was there.” My books are born from my obsession with Roman history. I’ve followed Spartacus’ trail across Italy. I’ve stood at Cannae and imagined Hannibal’s army meeting the massed legions of Rome. I’ve watched the sea lapping against the fortifications of Syracuse, which were besieged by the Romans for almost two years. I’ve walked Hadrian’s Wall in full Roman military dress, including hobnailed boots.

To find out more about Ben Kane, his world and his novels visit: http://www.benkane.net
Twitter @BenKaneAuthor
Facebook.com/benkanebooks

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii released on November 4, 2014. Order now!

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NI5CBXI</

pre-order cover ElizaKnight_ADayofFire_HR

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, Information~

by Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter,
with an introduction by Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . .these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six top historical authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

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See the COVER for A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, by SIX AMAZING TOP Historical Authors…NOW!!

In historical book circles, we’ve been waiting impatiently for news of a certain book’s arrival from a group of tremendous historical fiction authors who’ve been working to release their newest endeavor called A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii! It’s a unique way to pen a book, so you don’t want to miss it! It’s on FIIIIIIIRE!!! (Yep, you can sing that in your best vocally loud and unharmonizing voice, I just did *wink*)

Today, I am excited to reveal the cover for A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii! This book is not just FOR your TBR pile, but for the TOP of your TBR pile, and should be moved quickly to your READ pile!  Six amazing authors create one volume, which creates the gripping story of Pompeii’s final days.

And now you can PRE-ORDER your copy, so come November 4, you won’t have to wait! And now, you don’t have to wait any longer for this amazing cover either, catch a glimpse NOW!!! Leave your impressions in the comments below!!

DRUM ROLL with FLAMING DRUMSTICKS and cue HOT SHIRTLESS Italian male dancers…..or maybe Ben Kane will rush in with full Roman garb and chariot…….

pre-order cover ElizaKnight_ADayofFire_HR

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii, Information~

by six historical authors:

Stephanie Dray, Ben Kane, E. Knight, Sophie Perinot, Kate Quinn and Vicky Alvear Shecter, with an introduction by Michelle Moran

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: November 4, 2014

Six top historical novelists join forces to bring readers the stories of Pompeii’s residents—from patricians to prostitutes—as their world ended. You will meet:

Pompeii was a lively resort flourishing in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius at the height of the Roman Empire. When Vesuvius erupted in an explosion of flame and ash, the entire town would be destroyed. Some of its citizens died in the chaos, some escaped the mountain’s wrath . . .these are their stories:

A boy loses his innocence in Pompeii’s flourishing streets.

An heiress dreads her wedding day, not knowing it will be swallowed by fire.

An ex-legionary stakes his entire future on a gladiator bout destined never to be finished.

A crippled senator welcomes death, until a tomboy on horseback comes to his rescue.

A young mother faces an impossible choice for her unborn child as the ash falls.

A priestess and a whore seek redemption and resurrection as the town is buried.

Six top historical authors bring to life overlapping stories of patricians and slaves, warriors and politicians, villains and heroes who cross each others’ path during Pompeii’s fiery end. But who will escape, and who will be buried for eternity?

pre-order cover ElizaKnight_ADayofFire_HR

A Day of Fire: A Novel of Pompeii releases on November 4, 2014. Can’t wait? DON’T—make a date with destiny and don’t go down with the smoke. Make sure you receive your copy immediately on Nov. 4 by pre-ordering A Day of Fire in the format of your choice:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NI5CBXI</

ABOUT THE AUTHORS (I mean you’ll faint after reading this!)~

STEPHANIE DRAY is a multi-published, award-winning author of historical women’s fiction and fantasy set in the ancient world. Her critically acclaimed historical Nile series about Cleopatra’s daughter has been translated into more than six different languages, was nominated for a RITA Award and won the Golden Leaf. Her focus on Ptolemaic Egypt and Augustan Age Rome has given her a unique perspective on the consequences of Egypt’s ancient clash with Rome, both in terms of the still-extant tensions between East and West as well as the worldwide decline of female-oriented religion. Before she wrote novels, Stephanie was a lawyer, a game designer, and a teacher. Learn more at http://www.stephaniedray.com

BEN KANE worked as a veterinarian for sixteen years, but his love of ancient history and historical fiction drew him to write fast-paced novels about Roman soldiers, generals and gladiators. Irish by nationality but UK-based, he is the author of seven books, the last five of which have been Sunday Times top ten bestsellers.Ben’s books have been translated into ten languages. In 2013, Ben walked the length of Hadrian’s Wall with two other authors, for charity; he did so in full Roman military kit, including hobnailed boots. He repeated the madness in 2014, over 130 miles in Italy. Over $50,000 has been raised with these two efforts. Learn more at http://www.benkane.net/

E. KNIGHT is an award-winning, indie national best-selling author historical fiction. Under the name, Eliza Knight she writes historical romance and time-travel. Her debut historical fiction novel, MY LADY VIPER, has received critical acclaim and was nominated for the Historical Novel Society 2015 Annual Indie Award. She regularly presents on writing panels and was named Romance Writer’s of America’s 2013 PRO Mentor of the Year. Eliza lives in Maryland atop a small mountain with a knight, three princesses and a very naughty puppy. For more information, visit Eliza at http://www.elizaknight.com.

SOPHIE PERINOT is the author of the acclaimed debut, The Sister Queens, which weaves the story of medieval sisters Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence who became queens of France and England respectively. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. A long-time member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences, serving as a panelist at the most recent. When she is not visiting corners of the past, Sophie lives in Great Falls, VA. Learn more at: http://www.SophiePerinot.com

KATE QUINN is the national bestselling author of the Empress of Rome novels, which have been variously translated into thirteen different languages. She first got hooked on Roman history while watching “I, Claudius” at the age of seven, and wrote her first book during her freshman year in college, retreating from a Boston winter into ancient Rome. She and her husband now live in Maryland with an imperious black dog named Caesar. Learn more at http://www.katequinnauthor.com

VICKY ALVEAR SHECTER is the award-winning author of the young adult novel, Cleopatra’s Moon (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic, 2011), based on the life of Cleopatra’s only daughter. She is also the author of two biographies for kids on Alexander the Great and Cleopatra. The LA Times called Cleopatra’s Moon–set in Rome and Egypt–“magical” and “impressive.” Publisher’s Weekly said it was “fascinating” and “highly memorable.” Her young adult novel of Pompeii, Curses and Smoke (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), released in June 2014. She has two other upcoming books for younger readers, Anubis Speaks! and Hades Speaks! Vicky is a docent at the Michael C. Carlos Museum of Antiquities at Emory University in Atlanta. Learn more at http://www.vickyalvearshecter.com/main/

Pre-order today~

OR try for the GIVEAWAY COPY by clicking HERE—->  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Best-selling Ben Kane Bursts Onto U.S. Scene with Hannibal: Enemy of Rome

Hannibal Front Cover(1)I am so excited to share with you this daring book from bestselling author Ben Kane!  Some of my international reader or die-hard Ben Kane and historical fiction fans might have already read it, but if you haven’t, don’t miss this edition from St. Martin’s Press! It’s the first book in his exciting Hannibal Chronicles series, called Hannibal: Enemy of Rome.

The historical region of Carthage comes to life in this novel, which follows two young men–Hanno, the son of a noble Carthaginian who is eager to fight for the great General Hannibal, and Quintus, the child of a Roman veteran of the First Punic War. Hanno begins his story as most young men do, rebellious. But his attitude leads him, and his friend Suniaton, to be lost at sea and subsequently captured by pirates.

He is sold into slavery by the pirates, and purchased by Quintus’ father, Fabricius. Quintus at first is weary of Hanno, but when he saves Quintus’ life, they become friends, but there is trouble. Action and drama ensues, but I won’t tell you for sake of spoilers.

I don’t usually enjoy the blood and gore of some military historical novels, nor any mundane military speak, but Ben Kane’s books are more than that and not at all boring. He includes the military aspect, but does not describe the gore as in depth as some other military history novels do. There is no need for sensationalism here, as his writing allows for us to fill in details with our own imaginations. He focuses more on the on the people and on the relationships between them. He builds a friendship between his characters of Hanno and Quintus that is deeply personal, one that we never want to be broken. He shows how many Carthaginians felt great hate toward Rome, and vice versa. The ethnic diversity of the people is also highlighted.

The historical aspect of this novel is obviously well-researched. This book brings both Carthage and the Roman countryside to life with an authenticity so vivid. Daily life is described in detail and we experience it as if we are there, seeing the ships pull into the massive port in Carthage. We experience ancient Roman life, down to the treatment of slaves and the design of the weapons. However, Kane develops it into a readable story, not too dry or cumberson, and writes not only with vibrant detail but with historical accuracy. It’s a perfect balance. This makes it a wonderful book to be used for people in higher education as it teaches actual historical detail, but is adventurous enough to hold attention, and therefore, create a desire for learning.

Overall, Hannibal: Enemy of Rome bursts onto the scene with great action and thrilling adventure. I highly recommend this for men, and some women who like the genre, as it breaths historical accuracy, is dynamically well-written, and is a fully-developed story. I look forward to the rest of The Hannibal Chronicles!

*******************************************************

Hannibal: Enemy of Rome, Synopsis

One of the best known historical novelists, Ben Kane, is back with the first book in his series, Hannibal: Enemy of Rome (St. Martin’s Press; May 27th 2014). Set in a new time period, a time before the Roman Empire when the Republic was still vulnerable to outside forces, Hannibal tells the story of one of the most famous generals of the ancient world. Rome’s greatest enemy is Carthage, and Carthage’s greatest general is Hannibal—this is Hannibal’s story, as his personal quest for revenge, leads to the greatest conflict of the ancient world

File Size: 1040 KB

Print Length: 464 pages

Page Numbers Source ISBN: 140903755X

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (May 27, 2014)

Sold by: Macmillan

Published previously internationally, now released by St. Martin’s Press

As Rome rose to power in the 3rd century BCE there was only one real rival in the Mediterranean—Carthage. In the First Punic War, the Roman legions defeated and humiliated Carthage. Now Hannibal, a brilliant young Carthaginian general, is out for revenge. Caught up in the maelstrom are two young boys, Hanno, the son of a distinguished soldier and confidant of Hannibal, and Quintus, son of a Roman equestrian and landowner.

A disastrous adventure will see Hanno sold into slavery and bought by Quintus’s father. Although an unexpected friendship springs up between the two boys—and with Quintus’s sister, Aurelia—the fortunes of the two warring empires will tear them apart. They find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict and an alliance forged through slavery will be played out to its stunning conclusion in battle.

 Praise for Ben Kane

“The rising star of historical fiction.” – Wilbur Smith

“Epic… A gripping blend of history, battles, gore, ancient politics, betrayal, consummate and casual cruelty, and sex… A pleasure for those who like history and great adventure.” – Library Journal on The Forgotten Legion

Ben Kane, Biography

ben kane in garbBEN KANE was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He studied veterinary medicine at University College Dublin but after that he 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 veterinarian.

You can view a more extensive bio on Ben, and all his books, on his website at www.benkane.net. And though I chose this fun photo depicting him in his military role-playing garb, he really is smiley most of the time.

Purchase at Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Hannibal-Enemy-Rome-1-ebook/dp/B00HTJ77OC/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1401488610&sr=8-7&keywords=hannibal+book

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Talking with Bestselling Author Ben Kane about Roman Culture, Spartacus, Life, and Writing!

You’ve come by for a very exciting exclusive interview with Top Bestselling Author Ben Kane!  You’ll be pleased you did; please share it with anyone else that might find it interesting!  We’re talking about his Spartacus series, Roman culture and how it compares to today, his upcoming writing plans and so much more.

To read my review of Spartacus: Rebellion – his current release (and the second book in the series), click HERE!

Be sure to check out the GIVEAWAY of a hard copy of Spartacus: Rebellion and a paperback of the first book, Spartacus: Gladiator. Details at the end of the interview! Enjoy!

Spartacus RebellionHi, Ben and welcome to Oh, for the Hook of a Book! We are very excited to feature you today and ask you some probing questions. How are things?

Ben Kane: Hello, Erin, and thank you for the warm welcome. I’m fine, although madly busy – I’ve got a virtual book tour running in the U.S. at the moment, clearly, and I’m trying to get back in the driving seat writing my current novel.

Erin Al-Mehairi: You do seem like a very busy writer! Have to keep those fans happy! ha! Let’s have a seat, grab some coffee or a drink of your choice, and get started!

Q:   I know you spent several years abroad, after spending a previous few months along the ancient Silk Road, and this sparked your interest in Roman military pursuits. I am assuming this was your inspiration for all your books, but what specifically inspired you to write about Spartacus?

A: To be fair, I’ve been interested in Rome and all things Roman since my childhood, when I read the iconic children’s novel, The Eagle of the Ninth, by Rosemary Sutcliff. Anyone who hasn’t read that, please go and buy it now! Even after 58 years, it’s still a work of genius.

Q:  What makes you so curious about ancient Roman practices? How much of their culture still holds with us today (internationally  –  I am in the US, you are in the UK – but they impacted many cultures)?

A: I’m not sure. There are lots of ancient civilisations out there – Egyptian, Greek, Persian, Chinese, Indian etc. but Rome has always fascinated me. Rome’s influence is still with us – more than most people even realise. From language – think ‘Capitol’, ‘Senators’, ‘decimation’ to government – ‘the Senate’ and the basis of so many laws, Rome is still with every day.

Q:  What are the character traits of Spartacus you most like? Most despise? How challenging was it to develop his character for fiction? And how much of it is fact?

A: His leadership and charisma must have been incredible for so many men and women to have followed him. Those qualities I admire greatly. I don’t think I despise the man for his ruthlessness – he must have allowed many atrocities to be committed by his men – but then that’s how the Romans had treated him and his followers. He gave as good as he got, and I can’t blame him for that.

It was a challenge to develop his character, partly because of his fame, and partly because there have been two such iconic depictions of him – in Kubrick’s classic movie, and in the recent TV series, Blood and Sand.

Q:  Did you feel a desire or need to be true to the on-screen movies or TV featuring Spartacus, or in the words of Fleetwood Mac, did you just “go your own way?” Why or why not? Do you feel you accomplished what you wanted?

A: Absolutely not! The depictions in both the film and the TV series use some of the knowledge that we have of Spartacus, but they also veer into the realm of fantasy. I had only seen the Kubrick film once as a boy, and I avoided watching Blood and Sand until I’d written both my books, specifically so that the Spartacus in my books was my Spartacus. I do think I accomplished that, yes.

Q: Besides spending time at various locations, which you can feel free to discuss as well, how did you conduct your research? Were there hard finds? What made it easy? What made it challenging?

A: Before becoming a writer, I would often visit archaeological sites and museums, just out of interest. Now it’s my job, I feel like a kid who’s been given the keys to the toy store. I went to Italy twice to research Spartacus’ campaign against Rome, and I visited an awful lot of the places he would have been or fought in. Despite the passage of time, and the lack of archaeological remains, I found the experience very moving. The worst part was standing on the Via Appia Antica, the original road that ran into Rome – and where some of the 6,000 crucifixes would have stood after the final battle.

Q:  Why do you feel readers connect with your story so much? What thrills them about Spartacus?

A: Because Spartacus’ story connects with us all. It’s the story of a man wronged, who refused to lie down and be beaten. Despite devastating odds against him, he fought for himself and those he held dear, and he died for his cause. That’s a great story in anyone’s book.

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Photo of statue of Spartacus, from: http://www.biography.com/people/spartacus-9489885

Q: What kinds of feedback do you get from readers about Spartacus?

A: Overwhelmingly positive, thankfully! I am especially proud when people tell me that they cried at the end of Rebellion. I did, when writing it, so I know I’ve hit the bull’s eye when readers do too.

Q:  Working as a Veterinarian, but then turning your hobby into a writing career, which one do you feel has fulfilled you more?  Obviously you are passionate about all you do.

A: Writing. Writing. Writing. It’s by far my greatest passion. By the time I gave up veterinary medicine, after 16 years, I’d had a bellyful of it. In the UK, it’s commonly regarded as one of the ‘best’ jobs, but it isn’t all it’s supposed to be, I can tell you. The animals are great, but running a small business with high running costs and high staff turnover is like trying to push mud up a hill.

Q:  Do you still consider history to be your biggest hobby? What other time periods and places do you want to discover or do you take an interest in?

A: Yes, I do, very much so. I have lots of interest in many other times, from the Middle Ages right up to the modern day. After I finish the novel I’m currently writing, I am going to start on a new series set during the Hundred Years’ War between England and France. That book will be called Crécy.

Q:  You’ve had busy careers, and have a growing family, how do you find time for writing?

A: I have not worked as a veterinarian for more than 4 years now. However, I have even less time to write now that I am very successful. Between writing, replying to fan emails, participating in social media and doing events, I hardly know where I am a lot of the time!

Q: I noticed you are participating in a Romani Walk! Can you tell us a little about what that is, what it’s raising money for, and how you are involved? I noticed you’re even wearing authentic type Roman clothing! Very cool!

A: Around Christmas last year, I decided to walk the length of Hadrian’s Wall in full Roman military kit, including hobnailed boots. I wanted to get fitter, to get a couple of friends to come, and to raise money for charity. Anthony Riches and Russell Whitfield were crazy enough to agree, and the idea became reality. I decided to raise money for two charities: Combat Stress, which helps veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) which sends medical staff into conflict zones or areas of natural disaster all over the world.

The walk itself was amazing; we had good weather for nearly all of the 74 miles, which was very lucky; we met so many amazing people, and by the end of it (and three months fund-raising), we had raised nearly £16,000 / $25,000 –  not a bad amount of money. Roll on the Romani Walk 2014!

Ben and walkBen on the walk (the Romani are set!), he’s on the left. (Photo courtesy of Ben)

Q:  You have such a humanitarian spirit yourself. Do you feel that with all the horrors of combat and military expedition in ancient history that there ever was any humanitarian effort made on the part of anyone? Or do you feel that it something that has grown, so to speak, on current humanity?

A:  The latter. I think that 2,000 years ago, life was short, sharp and brutal. There may have been individuals who tried to help others, but it wasn’t done on an organized basis. Legionary veterans, for example, may have received land and a sum of money after their time, but I doubt very much whether crippled veterans who had to leave the army early received a thing.

Q:  What writers helped mentor or inspired your writing? How have you tried to perfect your craft?

A: Rosemary Sutcliff (see above). Michael Scott Rohan, sadly little-known author of the fantasy trilogy The Winter of the World. David Gemmell. Guy Gavriel Kay. J.R.R. Tolkien.

Q: When you became a Top Ten Bestselling Author, how did the outlook change for you in regards to your writing? What does that feeling “FEEL” like and do you feel more or less pressure to produce?

A: It was one of the most amazing days of my life when it first happened. Euphoric! The outlook for my writing suddenly improved vastly. I have been able to command much larger advances as a result, which has made a huge financial difference to my life and that of my young family. I feel more pressure to produce now, but that’s OK, because it goes with the territory.

Q: What have been your biggest challenges and as well, your biggest successes?

A: Challenge: having to re-write 25% of my second novel, twice! (I had a very tough editor.) Success: writing both Spartacus novels in 12 months flat.

Q:  What types of books do you like to read yourself? Do you have any recommendations for your readers?

A: I still adore historical fiction, although I do read some contemporary fiction as well. One of my favorite writers around at the moment is Christian Cameron – who writes amazing stories set in ancient Greece. For Roman fans, check out the little-known novel The Boat of Fate by Keith Roberts. (And ignore the cover – it’s an awesome read!)

Q:  Will there be more to the Spartacus series and/or what else do you have planned for the future in regards to writing?

A: There may be another Spartacus book in a few years – about his boyhood and early adulthood. At the moment, I am writing the third in a series about Hannibal and the Second Punic War, the first of which comes out Stateside next year. Next, as I mentioned, I will write Crécy. There are plenty more ideas in my head too!

Q: Any upcoming travels in mind for you now? Where and why?

A: Not for a while. I spent a week in Sicily in March, researching for my current work in progress, Hannibal: Clouds of War, so that will have to do me for the moment.

Q:  Where can readers connect with you?

A: On my website: benkane.net or on Facebook: facebook.com/benkanebooks or on Twitter: @BenKaneAuthor – please say hi – I’m always pleased to hear from people.

Erin:  Thank you so much, Ben, for stopping by my site. I am honored to have been able to discuss your life and books with you. You’ve had much success, but I wish you much more.

Ben: Thank you, Erin, for chatting with me, and for your good wishes. I hope to visit you again!

Giveaway~

Spartacus-Hardback-182x183The giveaway is for one hardcover copy of Spartacus: Rebellion AND one paperback of Spartacus the Gladiator. Open to US and Canada ONLY. Please leave your name and email with a comments in the comment section below, or on one of my Facebook links to the post. Or you can email me at hookofabook@hotmail.com.

Check out www.facebook.com/HookofaBook and “like” it for an +2 extra entry and/or follow this blog for another +1 entry. Please enter by 11:59 p.m. EST 2 weeks from the date of this post.

Spartacus: Rebellion Synopsis~

Spartacus RebellionPublication Date: May 14, 2013
St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover; 464p
ISBN-10: 1250012775

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.

Author Ben Kane, Biography~

Ben KaneBen 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.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/spartacusrebellionvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #SpartacusRebellionTour

Spartacus Rebellion Tour Banner FINAL

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Ben Kane Pens Military Historical Fiction of Roman Slave Rebellion in His Book Spartacus: Rebellion

Spartacus RebellionSpartacus: 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 RebellionPublication Date: May 14, 2013
St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover; 464p
ISBN-10: 1250012775

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 KaneBen 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.

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/spartacusrebellionvirtualtour/
Twitter Hashtag: #SpartacusRebellionTour

Spartacus Rebellion Tour Banner FINAL

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