Thursday, June 6, 2013

Book Review and Giveaway - Spartacus: Rebellion by Ben Kane


Spartacus has already done the impossible—not only has he escaped from slavery, he and his seconds have created a mighty slave army that has challenged Rome and defeated the armies of three praetors, two consuls, and one proconsul. On the plain of the River Po, in modern Northern Italy, Spartacus has defeated Gaius Cassius Longinus, proconsul and general of an army of two legions. Now the road home lies before them—to Thrace for Spartacus, and to Gaul for his seconds-in-command, Castus and Gannicus.

But storm clouds are gathering on the horizon. One of Spartacus's most powerful generals has defected, taking his men with him. Back in Rome, the immensely rich Marcus Licinius Crassus is gathering an unheard-of Army. The Senate has given Crassus an army made up of ten legions and the authority to do whatever it takes to end the slave rebellion once and for all.

Meanwhile, Spartacus wants to lead his men over the Alps and home, but his two seconds have a different plan. They want to march on Rome itself and bring the Republic to its knees. Rebellion has become war. War to the death.

St. Martin's Press | May 14, 2013 | 464 pages

My Review

4 Stars

Spartacus: Rebellion by Ben Kane is the second of two novels chronicling the life of the Spartacus, a gladiator turned rebel who leads tens of thousands of escaped slaves in revolt against Rome.  This novel picks up immediately where the series first book, Spartacus the Gladiator, left off.   Fresh off his tremendous (and unexpected) series of victories against various Roman forces, Spartacus leads his army north towards the Alps, where he plans to cross out of Italy and return to Thrace, his homeland.  But Spartacus' plan is thwarted by his two most senior officers, the Gauls Castus and Gannicus, who would like nothing more than to assume full command themselves.  With his initial plan thwarted, Spartacus turns his army around and heads for Southern Italy, where his forces will ultimately face an army larger than any they've come across before, an army that is prepared to do whatever is necessary to put down Spartacus' revolt for good.

Much like Kane's first Spartacus novel, Spartacus: Rebellion, is full of rich historical detail that gives readers a glimpse into life, both rebel and Roman, in the 7th century BC.  Kane doesn't romanticize the period, as he clearly conveys the brutality of war and its aftermath during the period in which the novel is set.  While little is known about Spartacus, Kane takes the few facts available and fills in the gaps in a plausible manner.  As a result, the reader is able to gain an appreciation for Spartacus' possible motivations and the forces that drove him to rebel.  Kane's Spartacus is a master strategist and tactician, and a remarkable leader of men -- qualities Spartacus must of possessed in order to have achieved such tremendous success against much better trained, disciplined and experienced Roman forces.  One of my favourite aspects of this novel was the often strained relationship between Spartacus and Castus and Gannicus, his two most senior officers, and I enjoyed how Spartacus was able to address and overcome the constant challenges posed by these two men.  I also enjoyed the sections dealing with Crassus, which dealt not only with his desire to bring Spartacus to his knees, but also with the intricacies of Roman politics. 

Recommended to all readers of historical fiction interested in the Roman era. 

Note: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher as part of Ben Kane's virtual book tour in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Spartacus: Rebellion is currently on tour.  Click here to check out the tour schedule and find links to other reviews.  

About the Author

Ben Kane was born in Kenya and raised there and in Ireland. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon from University College Dublin, and worked in Ireland and the UK for several years. After that he travelled the world extensively, indulging his passion for seeing the world and learning more about ancient history. Seven continents and more than 65 countries later, he decided to settle down, for a while at least.

While working in Northumberland in 2001/2, his love of ancient history was fuelled by visits to Hadrian's Wall. He naïvely decided to write bestselling Roman novels, a plan which came to fruition after several years of working full time at two jobs - being a vet and writing. Retrospectively, this was an unsurprising development, because since his childhood, Ben has been fascinated by Rome, and particularly, its armies. He now lives in North Somerset with his wife and family, where he has sensibly given up veterinary medicine to write full time.

To find out more about Ben and his books visit

GIVEAWAY (Spartacus the Gladiator and Spartacus: Rebellion)

I'm pleased to offer to one lucky entrant one hardcover copy of Spartacus: Rebellion AND one paperback copy of Spartacus the Gladiator!   

Giveaway details are listed below:

- The contest is open to Canadian and U.S. residents only;
- To enter all you need to do is leave a comment below with your email address;
- The giveaway will be open until midnight (EST) on June 16th.  

Good Luck!! 

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