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
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"Jumpy, Frustrating but Good"
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.
"There'll be no Kane mutiny by me!"
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
"Ben Kane is a brilliant wordsmith."
cracking story. brings ancient Rome to life. Can't praise this book too highly. More please.
Great story,great narrator the whole thing was just perfect, if youre interested in ancient Rome this is the audio book for you!
"Couldn't put it down."
Really enjoyed this book, it was compelling reading. Narrator first class. Really engaged with the characters.
"A Good Listen"
If you like well developed characters, a pacy story line and a believable setting then try this book. The main protagonists are likeable and engaging even though the action is bloody and horrific at times.
The book seems to be well researched and the author succeeds in bringing scenes of Ancient Rome and the East to life in a very convincing manner. It is easy to imagine what this world might have looked like.
I did struggle with the narration at the start of the book. It took a while to get going and I questioned the reviews. But perseverance paid of and it was well the effort of the first few chapters.
Overall a great first book in the trilogy. I have already downloaded the sequel!
loved this book full of twists and turn with a gripping story made up with this book
"Straightforward adventure story"
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.
The story builds from three directions cumulating in one final epic battle .a great story well told....a real ripper
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