Romulus and Fabiola are twins, born into slavery after their mother is raped by a drunken nobleman on his way home from a good night out. At 13 years old, they and their mother are sold: Romulus to gladiator school, Fabiola into prostitution, where she will catch the eye of one of the most powerful men in Rome, and their mother into obscurity and death in the salt mines.
Tarquinius is an Etruscan, a warrior and soothsayer, born enemy of Rome, but doomed to fight for the Republic in the Forgotten Legion.
Brennus is a Gaul; the Romans killed his entire family. He rises to become one of the most famous and feared gladiators of his day - and mentor to the boy slave, Romulus, who dreams night and day of escape and of revenge.
The lives of these four characters are bound and interwoven in a marvellous story which begins in a Rome riven by corruption, violence and political enmities, but ends far away, where Romulus, Brennus, and Tarquinius find themselves fighting against the Parthians and overwhelming odds.
©2011 Ben Kane (P)2011 Random House Audio Go
Great story lines, I really enjoyed Hannibal and the start of this book makes you think that it’s going to be just as good however there are a few story lines in this book spread over different time periods e.g. Rome 9 years later...you get the idea. This technique allows the storylines to avoid dreary parts when we’re waiting for people to grow up but unfortunately just gets a bit to frustrating when a story line is developed and then moves on to another when really it would be great if it just carried on a little longer.
Majority of the book is good but the ending seems as though the author had a few more hundred pages up his sleeve and then ran out of time. I guess there might be a follow on to come.
It was a guy on the train reading "Hannibal" that tipped me off on Ben Kane. Can't believe that I hadn't heard of him before. I decided to start at the beginnig & having just finished listening to Michael Praed's excellent rendition of the novel I 'm happy to report that it was excellent! I can't wait to rip through the rest of Kane's novels.
Who can resist the allure of classical Rome during the Late Empire? If an author can conjure up some interesting characters and write a good battle scene he's up and running. Add in some wider background history with some speculative twists, wrap it all in a layer of myticism and voila, an instant success! Of course if it was that easy we'd all do it, so kudos to writers like Ben Kane who actually deliver!
Got book 2 "The Silver Eagle" in my basket right now - don't hesitate....
Good story and also a good history lesson about the Roman harsh way of life. Bit gory in places but Michael Praed's reading was good
Some books I listen to with my children. Some I listen to alone.
The story is set during that bit of Rome's history we all know already: the rise of Caesar. Being a little more original, it is not set in Gaul, but, eventually the storyline goes off east with Crassus to Parthia. There are substantial jumps or time gaps in the story. One minute we are hearing details about 'now', then suddenly it picks up months or years later, with no description of how we got from there to here, or of the intervening events.
I found the story entertaining, despite being really rather predictable; nothing very much comes as a surpise. Still, it jogs along agreably. There are in fact two main story lines, with little overlap once they've got going. One of the odd things about this book is that I don't feel very attatched to or attracted by any of the main characters. Possibly this is because the author successfully generates the brutality of the Roman culture of that era, and infuses his main characters with it.
I have only given three stars to the reader, which is perhaps harsh, as he makes very few mistakes: I find his style a bit staccato, and repetitive. He doesn't make much effort to distinguish between the characters. Nevertheless, the reading in no way detracts from the audiobook (it just fails to enhance it).
I will undoubtedly listen to the next books in this series, but not necessarily soon.
Great book, by 1/3 way through I was completely hooked. One of those that you simply have to listen to almost continuously until it's finished and feel both bereft and relieved in equal measure when you reach the end... Now downloading book 2 ;)
It's nice to hear someone READ the book. It's obvious that the reader has prepared and knows what's coming next so they have the correct intonation at all times.
The story is fine. Given that it's 17 hours there is quite a lot of background but I definitely want to know what happens next.
Very good value.
I don't want to compare but after listening to Simon Scarrow's Cato and Macro, I love the Roman stories, so I was looking for another author to continue my interest....now I have two!! Two things with this. First, excellent choice Michael Pread as narrator and an excellent way to start something with two young people whose characters grew just in the first book. Love your work Mr Kane. Keep it coming!!
Loved the idea that the story starts with two children born into slavery and how they will strive to better themselves from a terrible start. Looking forward to how Mr Kane develops the characters.
Love his rich English voice.
I'd keep it pretty close to the Lost Legion.
Thoroughly enjoyed this...more, please!!
Ben Kane has done his research on Roman life and history. The writing style is that of Jeffrey Archer. You might prefer to read Imperium by Robert Harris.
I wasn't too sure when i got this book I was kinda going into it blind having never read or listened to anything by the author before but it was in 3 for 2 at the time so I got it. It turned out to be a great listen. It starts a little slow as it introduces you the characters but after an hour or so it's great.
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