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Review: Spartacus. Rebellion

Ben Kane

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Spartacus. Rebellion

The book “Spartacus. Rebellion” by Ben Kane is the next and last part of the historical novel telling the fate of the most famous gladiator and the largest slave uprising in ancient Rome.

In this part, we can once again follow the adventures of the Thracian leader, his Roman companion Carbo, or rebellious Gallic leaders. Apart from the mood prevailing in the camp, the author tries to illustrate the shock that gripped the Roman authorities in Rome. Members of the Senate, who are the elite of Rome, cannot believe that the successive Roman armies (including the consular) are giving way to hosts of slaves in the field. The defeated chieftains, who lose the respect of the chamber, return to the capital one by one. The ambitious and extremely rich politician Marcus Licinius Crassus tries to take advantage of the situation, seeing his potential victory over Spartacus as the way to glory. To this end, he uses the mood prevailing in Rome and the only surviving Roman centurion Caepio to take command of the Roman army in Italy.

Ben Kane once again proves that the history of ancient Rome is a real passion for him, and his extensive substantive knowledge is very well used. The author tries at all costs to be in line with historical messages, which, by the way, are few. This fact often allows him to stimulate the imagination and develop the context of events. A great example here is the sudden turn of Spartacus with an army from northern Italy to the south or the failed transport of slaves to Sicily.

The efficiency with which the author undertakes the description of the subsequent phases of the uprising and the characterization of the characters are truly extraordinary. However, what impresses the most about the figure of Spartacus is its inconsistency. On the one hand, he is self-confident, heroic, loyal, a leader, only to become short-tempered and ready to murder the helpless. Ben Kane tries his best to create characters that are not just black and white.

Of course, for the Readers, at the end of the book, there is an afterword in which we get to know the details – what is true or where the author indulged in literary fiction. In addition, we can read the dictionary of Latin phrases, which will further increase our knowledge.

It is with great pleasure that I recommend the book.

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