Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield (4/5 stars)

This was a very interesting book that takes a look into the life of a gladiatrix. It is a fictional story, the author explains at the end of the book where he got the story from and how much is based in fact and fiction. Most of the book is fiction with the historical figures being accurate.

Lysandra is a Spartan priestess who is sold into slavery after her ship sinks and she washes up on shore. Her Spartan upbringing serves her well as a gladiatrice and she is quickly found to be ferocious fighter. She finds love where she least expects it and finds a trainer's hatred to be much more dangerous than anything she faces in the ring.

This was a well-written book. It was engaging, with well done action scenes. There is something for everyone here; love, hatred, revenge, action, politics. For some reason when I got the book from Amazon Vine I thought it was a young adult book...I don't know where I got that idea from but it is not.

This book is not for the faint of heart. The arena violence is described in detail, as is subjugation of the gladiatrix, rape, sex both between same sex and opposite sex partners. From time to time I was cringing at the bloody detail.

The author did a great job at weaving this story into what is known about Roman history. It was very believable sounding. The ending takes an ironic twist that was delightfully surprising and somewhat realistic.

I was a little disappointed that so much of the story was spend setting Lysandra up as the general of an army for an outlandish arena spectacle, and then nothing was really ever done with that. I guess maybe it was part of the irony of the story but it seemed like that was a waste of plot. Other than that I enjoyed the story.

Great book I look forward to more books from this author.

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