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The Far Arena

Narrated by: Peter Noble
Length: 18 hrs and 44 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (6 ratings)

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Summary

While conducting exploration in the frozen Arctic, Texan Lew McCardle, a geologist working for the Houghton Oil company, discovers something remarkable: a body encased in the ice. More remarkable still, the skills of Russian researcher Semyon Petrovitch bring the man miraculously back to life.

This strange visitor from the distant past has an amazing story to tell. Translated from his native Latin by Nordic nun Olava, Lucius Aurelius Eugenianus reveals that in the era of Domitian he was a champion in the Roman Colosseum, a gladiator known far and wide as the greatest of all time.

An ingenious amalgam of science fiction, fantasy, and history, Richard Ben Sapir's The Far Arena is a breathtaking work of literary invention, at once thrilling, poignant, and thought provoking.

©2016 Richard Ben Sapir (P)2016 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Strange story

I obviously liked the synopsis otherwise I would not have downloaded this book. But after listening for sometime I found it quite bewildering and only wished I could have returned it, but as I had recently returned my last choice I ploughed on. I will let others decide for themselves as we each have our individual taste and whilst it may appeal to one listener it may not to another.
The story content started well enough, but then became inconsistent with the 21st century conversation the author gave to the lead character, (those who listen will understand what I refer to), which for me ruined the entire audio.
I dislike giving a negative review as I prefer constructive criticism, but I really feel aggrieved that I have wasted a precious credit on such a silly theme. Perhaps others will find the deep meaning the author intended, hidden in the content.
The narrator did a terrific job with pronunciation as he attempted to make a very strange story interesting.
Sadly not my cup of tea!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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highly recommended

great story, well read, different accents for the characters well done, good narrator. was surprised it had been done as an audio book, it's a little obscure, I read it as a teenager many moons ago and was worried this would dissapont, not to fear. Salvate Eungeni!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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A good listen

What made the experience of listening to The Far Arena the most enjoyable?

I first read this book over thirty years ago, and have re-read it several times since: it is one of those books that stays with you. It is a little uneven in pace and parts may be questionable, but it is nevertheless still a good story ... listening to it rather than reading it actually succeeded in evening out some of the pace issues, and the narration was, I thought, excellent. I hadn't really thought much about the characters' accents when reading it, but the narrator captured them brilliantly and the whole thing came more alive for me than when on the printed page.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-10-16

classic Favorite doesn't disappoint

worried book would feel "dated" but it didn't. once in the story could not put it down. the narrator at first I wondered about but he is a skillful reader and I didn't need to worry. loved the book when it came out and loved the audible now. highly recommend.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Willow Bend Press
  • 06-04-17

Awesome Narrator

The story was riveting and the narrator was near perfect. I couldn't put it down. At first I didn't realize the book was almost 40 years old, but that doesn't affect the quality. I will definitely seek out more works by the author as well as the narrator.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda Likes to Learn
  • 17-10-16

Wonder of a concept!

Every emotion is writ all through this very unusual story of technology, science, death, life, greed, despair, love, friendship & finally understanding, acceptance, and- at last - peace. Scenes & perception of the ancient Roman world flashed thru my mind in full color - in both happiness & horror. A remarkable book that I will remember forever.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Taishara
  • 24-02-17

loved it

the narrator had an interesting version of an American accent especially a Texan accent. But was really a good reader for the whole book I really found it engaging. I found the story interesting. I didn't want to get out of the car when I went to work!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • P Gaenir
  • 08-02-17

Fabulous story. My first audiobook! Liked it a lot.

This author probably knows more about ancient Rome than a Roman. Great depth to the human relations. Worth hearing!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Bauart
  • 05-05-18

Do you like stories about gladiators?

This is a very interesting book. It very nicely weaves together a somewhat implausible story of finding a first century gladiator buried in ice and awakening him into the 20th century.

The best parts are his stories of the arena, tactics, and the grandiose theater of death it became. Sadly the story sputters, slows, and then just kind of falls over at the end. Several times I had to go back, thinking I’d missed something, skipped a chapter, or hadn’t fully understood? But no, there are just gaps.

My first reaction to the ending was, “Well... I guess that’s ONE way of ending it?” But why, when there were SO many better ways it couldv’e gone?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • John Marciano
  • 03-05-18

Oldie but goodie

A co-worker mentioned reading this book as a kid; I looked it up and to my delight it was on audible. My co-worker got to read it again and I read it for the first time. It's a very good book, with an interesting plot and excellent narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mike From Mesa
  • Mike From Mesa
  • 30-04-17

A great disappointment

I have been trying to understand why this book was such a disappointment for me. The story should have been interesting - an ancient Roman, frozen in ice, is revived in our present world, and all of those involved, the Roman, the doctor who revived him, the man who found him and the translator, must deal with the ramifications. Add to that the story of the Roman, his life, his loves and how he came to be frozen, and the book offered great opportunities for the author to explore and discuss the human condition.

In fairness the author knows a great deal about ancient Rome and everything he wrote about Rome and how this ancient man tries to deal with the modern world, rings true. The plight of those involved in trying to deal with a situation never before encountered also seems real but, in the end, I found I just did not care about any of the characters. As accurate as the descriptions felt, as realistic as I thought the Roman’s actions to be, nothing made me care about any of the people and, at the end of the book, instead of wondering what happened to those still involved with the Roman, my first thought was that I was glad the book was finished, but sorry for the loss of time in listening to it.

The narration is excellent, one of the best I have heard, but I was left not caring about Lou, the geologist who found him, Semyon, the doctor who revived him, Ola, the translator or the Roman himself.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • night owl
  • 24-07-17

Wonderful

I read The Far Arena in the early 80s and liked it a lot. I don't read historical fiction anymore ,preferring non fiction.I've read a good amount on ancient Rome in the last few years. This made The Far Arena more interesting for me. The glimpse into another time is enthralling, and rings with authenticity. The characters are wonderful,especially our revived gladiator. I really loved this book the second time . The narration is outstanding.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • K. Krieger
  • 31-03-19

Could have been great

This book irritated and captivated me in almost equal measure.The premise is fascinating. The gladiator's story was fascinating. The narrator excellent.
But.
I love books that tell stories about ancient Rome and are based on historical facts. So far I had never read a book about the gladiators, which was why I bought it. And the scientific aspect promised to be fascinating too.
But.
It took me a while to realize WHY this book irritated me so much. For one, there is not a single likeable character in this book. Not one. And for another, I'm not a religious person and having everything forced into context of the early Christians and their god, the gladiator even meeting this St.Peter (!), comes over as a plump attempt to preach and proselytize that it made me stop listening several times. But I wanted to learn more about the gladiator's life, so I continued eventually and actually finished the book.

However, it was not an enjoyable listen. A fascinating story about the gladiator, irritating and boring, constant religious blather, disappointing characters. I cannot recommend it.