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Summary

Warrior. As winter approaches in 74 BC, few travellers are abroad. But one man is making the long and weary last stage of his way home. Large parts of his homeland, Thrace, a land north of Greece, has fallen under the hated power of Rome. This Thracian has fought in the Roman legions for nearly a decade. He is skilled, hardened in battle, a sophisticated fighter. Spartacus.

Slave. But home is no longer the safe haven of his imagination. A new king sits on the throne. Treacherous and cunning, he has seized the crown by murder and he will hold onto it by violence. When a Roman slave trader comes to the village in search of men who will fight as gladiators, Spartacus is betrayed and sold. His odyssey has begun.

Hero. The legend that is Spartacus has come down to us through the centuries - the story of a man who took on the might of Rome and nearly brought her down. Now Ben Kane, the brilliant author of The Forgotten Legion and Hannibal: Enemy of Rome, brings to glorious life the first part of the Spartacus story.

©2012 Ben Kane (P)2012 Random House AudioGo

Critic reviews

“There is much to enjoy in this saga of the downtrodden triumphing temporarily over their oppressors, and the portrait of Spartacus as charismatic leader is a vivid one.” ( The Sunday Times)
“Ben Kane is a master of blending action, storytelling, living characters and historical and military detail … highly recommended.” ( Editor’s Choice Historical Novels Review)
“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.” (4 stars, Daily Express)
"The vestigial knowledge we have of Spartacus’s life is cleverly woven into a well-researched realisation of Thrace and Rome in the first century BC…a tense, bloody and page-turningly good novel." ( Lynn Roberts , The Tablet)

What listeners say about Spartacus: The Gladiator

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  • Overall
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Brilliant Book! Brilliant experience...

I do love the way this author writes. As a fan of Roman military history, listening to this book was the closest thing I will ever experience to the real thing.... for anyone who wishes that they could go back in history and witness history changing events, this book and this author's writing are a must.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Great book

Loved this book. Its a bit too long for my taste though. 17 hrs is long. None the less, it was fun.

3 people found this helpful

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Great historical fiction with no PC agenda.

Ben Kane's Spartacus is a classic hero displaying all the great virtues of masculinity, reminding me of the honorable heroes of times past. If you like movies like Gladiator and 300 then this book is a must.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent story spoilt by varying quality of narra

What other book might you compare Spartacus: The Gladiator to, and why?

Despite my disappointment with the sound I also read the Rebelion - offhand I can't think of another story that could be comparable

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Mostly OK but long stretches of whispering at a very low level required constant alteration to the sound level which is frustrating when you just want to listen and relax

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so gorishly brilliant

I loved listening to this book, if you like raw uncut descriptions of gruesome battles, 1-2-1 duels, ravaged towns etc then you'll find it all in here.

the story of Spartacus was pictured so vividly in my mind by the end of the book, I was so sad when I got to the end. I wish I could wipe my mind and listen to it all again from fresh.

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Rip roaring story.

Cracking story, well worth the time( listening. The writer put together a work of fiction based on historical fact.

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Great book!

Thank you Ben Kane! I thoroughly enjoyed your book, which was brought to life so well with Michael Praed’s audio performance!
For anybody that loves ancient history, as I do, you will enjoy this book!

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Superb listening

A superb storyline, it’s gripping and enjoyable I couldn’t stop playing it both night and day. Utterly fantastic.

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Spartacus The Gladiator

Highly enjoyable well known yarn, my only real gripe being; little time was allocated to life in the Ludos and hardly any time at all to building up Spartacus’ reputation by winning fights in the arena, which in my mind are inexorable parts of the story, and a necessity before the escape. Nevertheless on to book two: The Rebellion

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Average book that tails off at the end.

Could have been written better. I Probably won't get the next one. Good narrator though.

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  • Timur
  • 04-02-14

Absolutely wonderful!

If you could sum up Spartacus: The Gladiator in three words, what would they be?

Unforgettable, legendary story!

What did you like best about this story?

I read several books about Spartacus: 1969 Spartacus by Rafaello Giovagnoli, historical facts and Spartacus: The Gladiator, Spartacus: The Rebellion. The best part of this story is that it does not destroy the already formed vision of the hero nor the history or battles. The author managed to present Spartacus in much more powerful character yet, preserved his gentle and human side. Throughout the book the author made me feel like I was Spartacus (not that I would not like to be). I lived his each and every moment, fought all battles and shouted along (For Thrace!!!!!!!) while driving my car. The story is truly amazing!

Have you listened to any of Michael Praed’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I listened the next book about Spartacus and equally loved it.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Interestingly, NO! Why?! Because I enjoyed taking pauses and replaying the completed part of the story in my mind. I wondered what could have happen if his decisions and those of his brothers in arms were different. Things like that.

Any additional comments?

Before reading this book, please, make a little research about Rome, its army and the history of the gladiators. Take a map of Italy and make a note of several cities. Look at the history of Hanibal Barca and his crossing of the Alps. It will help you to understand the book much better.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Blake Logan
  • 19-08-18

Fantastic. I recommand this great book.

Fantastic. I recommand this great audiobook abou Spartacus. Ben Kane did a fantastic job with this one.