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.
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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
Eyes are merciless, blows are wicked and screams are piercing, but this is a compulsive if relentless story, vividly recounted in muscular prose. Definitely one for the boys - Daily Telegraph, 4 stars
Like many choosing to read a book like this, I was seeking an active and exciting plot, and in this respect, Spartacus: The Gladiator delivers handily - Medieval Bookworm
If you want to become familiar with the lanista and the rudus, to know your scutum from your licium, then Kane's your man ... plenty of action - Independent
Spartacus has returned home to Thrace to find a new king has usurped his throne. He is seized and then sold to a Roman slave trader but he is a fighter and is destined for greater things. Historically little is known about the real Spartacus but in the hands of Ben Kane his legend has been crafted into two fantastic novels and this is the first. - Daily Express
A breathless romp…a real feel for the grit and the mad excitement of fighting and a fascination with a culture, Rome, that was obsessed with blood-lust. - History Today
Ben Kane was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He studied veterinary medicine and University College, Dublin, but after that he travelled the world extensively, indulging in his passion for ancient history. He lives in North Somerset with his wife and two young children.