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Summary

Arena is a Sunday Times best-selling novel from Simon Scarrow, author of Invictus, Centurion and The Gladiator, and T.J. Andrews. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

It is AD 41. The city of Rome is a dangerous place.

Optio Macro of the Second Legion, recently decorated for courage on the battlefield, can't wait to leave the teeming city behind. He's dismayed when he's compelled to stay in Rome to train Marcus Valerius Pavo, a young gladiatorial recruit.

Though fearless Pavo has fought for his life before, he's a novice in the arenas. But he's a driven man, with a goal dearer than survival - to avenge his father's death at the hands of a champion gladiator. Will he live to face his nemesis?

©2013 Simon Scarrow (P)2013 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic reviews

"Ferocious and compelling." ( Daily Express)

What listeners say about Arena

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love it

as always a good action packed story with plenty of chuckles. macro is a favourite of mine with or without cato .very good

3 people found this helpful

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A devious tale

What did you like most about Arena?

My son thought this was a thrilling and fast moving story. He particularly liked the tricky Greeks called Palllas and Marena(?) who could never be trusted to do what they said.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Macro (of macro and Cato fame) who was always straight to the point and took any disaapointment in his stride.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

The best bit was when Marena got his come uppance at the end... In a truly Roman way.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Much better than Gladiator

2 people found this helpful

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Disappointing!

What disappointed you about Arena?

The narrative and characters appeared to me to be confused and shallow which is in total contrast to the amazing Sword and Scimitar or any other of Mr. Scarrow’s publications.

What will your next listen be?

Something by Mr. Harry Sidebottom.

Would you listen to another book narrated by David Thorpe?

Yes.

What character would you cut from Arena?

All of them.

Any additional comments?

Having followed the fabulous adventures of Cato and Macro for a number of years now, this book disappointed unconditionally.

2 people found this helpful

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Ever wondered what being a gladiator would be like

One of the best of Simon Scarrow's outstanding books with plenty of scheming, double crossing by the Emperor's freedmen and gladiatorial action. It sets the scene at the end for Macro to take his centurion posting with the 2nd legion on the Rhine for the start of the brilliant Eagle series. I loved this book

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Bit of a let down

Any additional comments?

I have read all of Simon Scarrows works and always keep an eye out for a new read / listen from him. This was not his normal work and i felt someone else had written it all and asked Scarrow to have a look before publishing.I found this book to be very far fetched, i know its a fiction novel but the main character was a superman and totally unbelievable. I did not enjoy it at all and i will look twice before purchasing another from Scarrow and any other co author.

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Great story. Exceptional Narration!

I really enjoyed this audioook. the story was quick paced and interesting. What made it, however, was the narrator. having listened to over 200 audio books so far I think this could be my favorite narrator yet. His voice is very easy to listen to but he also has the range needed to voice different characters. It is like listening to your dad read you a bedtime story... except its a story about violence!

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Good side book

It is a very nice side story from the Eagle and Sword epic. What was not so good was the constant changes in volume of the narrative.

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Great

top knotch stuff, start to finish, great prequel to the eagle series aswell. would be good to hear a story of macro's child hood training with a gladiator

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Disappointed.


Unfortunately not to his usual standard. I found the dialogue too juvenile. Couldn't even finish it. Sorry.

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Disappointed

Having really enjoyed previous Simon Scarrow books I can’t believe this is his work. The story line was very predictable and the hero was made to sound like a sissy I almost didn’t bother to finish it

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  • Roger
  • 02-01-14

Badly Written and Badly Read.

What disappointed you about Arena?

I have to say I loved Simon Scarrow's Cato and Macro characters, and I enjoyed Scarrow's writing - it got the story done with enough embellishment to entrance and transport to a relatively authentic impression of the time. So I bought this book, (not realising he wrote it with someone else) expecting the same. Anyway, for whatever reason, this book is as bad as his other books were good - the plot plods along a linear timeline from one uninteresting turn of events to another, stumbling over laughable cliches and repetitive character reactions, made all the worse by the histrionic reading of David Thorpe. I won't go on, because enough is said. All I can say is, stick to writing on your own Simon, because it seems the other bloke just dragged you down on this one.

Would you ever listen to anything by Simon Scarrow and T. J. Andrews again?

One more chance to Simon Scarrow, but definitely never T.J. Andrews.

What didn’t you like about David Thorpe’s performance?

Disliked it intensely. Histrionic, badly interpreted and misphrased.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Boredom and mirth

Any additional comments?

Nope.

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  • Michelle
  • 19-09-15

Story read like it was on repeat

Would you try another book from Simon Scarrow and T. J. Andrews and/or David Thorpe?

Yes, I would still listen to David Thorpe's narrations, and I'd be willing to read another Scarrow

Any additional comments?

This book seemed like a never ended repeat of events. Main character gets into a tight spot due to the nasty Grecian. He is forced to fight. He whines about the injustice of it. He trains. He wins. He is still subject the the Grecian's plots. Plot escalates (barely). Repeat.

I was not satisfied with the end. I did not like the characters, and an overuse of the f word made me feel like the characters were adolescents.

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  • lynn
  • 09-03-14

another great Simon Scarrow book

Would you listen to Arena again? Why?

great book about Rome and the gladiatorial events and the things that could have happened under the reign of Cladius with his use of vindictive freedmen that he did use as advisors

What other book might you compare Arena to and why?

other simon scarrow book you should read all of the they are very good

What does David Thorpe bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

his voice is wonderful for the book

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  • Rob
  • 18-09-13

Dont waste your time or money

What disappointed you about Arena?

Sub plots that make no sense - characters devoid of personality - You actually find yourself rooting for the bad guys - Whiny self absorbed 2 dimensional hero then suddenly he finds the heroism to save the world. Vomit.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Anything but this

How could the performance have been better?

white noise

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

No

Any additional comments?

I want my money back

1 person found this helpful