Spartacus The Gladiator

Today we know very little about Spartacus the man – partly because contemporary Roman historians were keen not to eulogise his successes. This of course is grist to the novelist’s mill.

Ben Kane’s latest novel begins in the Thracian village to which Spartacus has returned, after serving as an auxiliary in the Roman army. He quickly falls foul of his overlord, the tribal king, who has set his heart on Dionysian priestess, Ariadne – later to become Spartacus’ wife.

Betrayed to the Romans by his jealous king, Spartacus – and with him Ariadne – are taken in captivity to the gladiator school at Capua. It is from here – against the unbelievable brutality of gladiatorial life – that Spartacus and Crixus the Gaul plan their escape to Vesuvius, where they recruit and train a huge slave army. An army which will keep the might of Rome at bay for two years and create one of the most extraordinary legends in history.


  1. Ben Kane
    Posted 27 January 2012 at 10:24 | Permalink

    @ClassicFictionLover: you’re welcome. Any time you’d like more suggestions, please ask. πŸ™‚

  2. ceaser68
    Posted 27 January 2012 at 19:27 | Permalink

    when is the next installment of spartacus due out

  3. Ben Kane
    Posted 28 January 2012 at 09:56 | Permalink

    @ceaser68: August 16th!

  4. plato
    Posted 2 February 2012 at 08:39 | Permalink

    Hi Ben we met at History in the Court on the 29th Sep, I wore the Kilt,
    Just to say, I have read all that you have written and eagerly await the next installment of Spartacus, and then the next in the Hanibal series,
    I may have helped to push Spartacus into no3 position as I had the book pre-ordered on Amazon, and then I also downloaded it to my kindle. (you owe me a book)
    Keep up the good work.
    Will you continue to write Roman novels? or would you try something different?
    I have always found the Times of Clovis or Charlemane around the 8-9th century of great interest as it is almost pre-history, this would give you almost unlimited license to create a tail of your own imagination.

  5. Ben Kane
    Posted 2 February 2012 at 10:04 | Permalink

    @plato: Hi there! Cheers for buying the book twice! Sadly, the ebook doesn’t count towards bestseller status – yet. This is because there are so many vendors (Amazon, Sony, iTunes etc) that compiling the data has not yet been centralised. It will be soon, I am told…

    As for new novels, well, I will be pitching to my publishers for a new contract some time this year. I have lots of ideas up my sleeve, but if I told you them, I’d have to kill you. πŸ˜‰ For the forseeable future, it’s Roman, but I do have other time periods in mind as well. Not Wars of the Roses any more, however!

  6. Mightywhite
    Posted 8 February 2012 at 17:44 | Permalink

    Hi Ben – nearly at the end of your first book – decided to go straight to Startacus on Audiobook – looking forward to starting that in the next few days – great writing and well done on the No.3 bestseller!

  7. Ben Kane
    Posted 8 February 2012 at 18:29 | Permalink

    @Mightywhite: Thanks a lot for your good wishes. Very pleased that you like The Forgotten Legion too!

  8. peterthereader
    Posted 18 March 2012 at 14:16 | Permalink

    Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed “Hannibal”. I am so glad there will be more to come in this series. This is the first of your books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed it. Spartacus next I think.
    Keep up the good work

  9. Ben Kane
    Posted 22 March 2012 at 20:09 | Permalink

    @peterthereader: apologies for not replying sooner. Glad that you liked Hannibal! Cheers. Ben

  10. richardlea
    Posted 30 March 2012 at 19:59 | Permalink

    I’m 3/4a the way through Spartacus, haven’t read a page in over a week, I’ve got a few days off work and have been saving the book for then, I’m getting withdrawal symptoms. But really looking forward the the new books coming…. Keep up the GREAT work Ben.

  11. Mike Reed
    Posted 6 April 2012 at 15:15 | Permalink

    Hi Ben – that first weekend in June at Chester promises to be a cracker! I’ve already had people getting in touch with me about it, and if they’re as excited as this about it already , I’d love to know how it would feel in 2 months’ time when we all gather there! I know that you and Ruth will be there again, and it’s good to see that this time Tony and Manda will be there as well. Something to really look forward to, have a good Easter and best regards, Mike.

  12. Ben Kane
    Posted 8 April 2012 at 14:49 | Permalink

    @Mike: yes, it should be good! Happy Easter to you too.

  13. mini4q2
    Posted 27 April 2012 at 19:13 | Permalink

    Hi Ben

    I have read all of Conn Igguldens books on the Mongols and Caeser they are great books.
    However I purchased all three of your books on the forgotten legion and sadly read them solidly for three days until I’d finished them. Gripping to say the least and they really put you in ancient Rome. It’s made me want to visit Rome next year in pursuit of some real Roman history.

    On another note your last book leaves Romulous looking east with a view to go and find Brennus can I assume I’ll be parting with some well spent cash on a future novel with Romulous and Co?

  14. Ben Kane
    Posted 28 April 2012 at 15:00 | Permalink

    @mini4q2: Thanks very much!I hope you get to Rome soon. If you have a look elsewhere on the site, most likely under The Forgotten Legion, you’ll see that I have no plans to write another book about Romulus. Sorry!

  15. Mike Reed
    Posted 29 April 2012 at 12:00 | Permalink

    Just letting you know Ben, I’m sorry to tell you I won’t be in Lincoln next week. My car’s being MOT’d, and although I’ll have got it back by then, I’ll be using it to play catch-up on things.

    The good news though is that I’ll still see you at Chester when you join Tony and Manda. Kelmarsh I’m in two minds about, but what is certain is that even if I’m not re-enacting, I’ll still be seen drawing pictures at the festivals with a chance I can get some commissions, and as the summer develops, there’ll be some more pictures of the Roman army in action on my website. Last year people were only just getting to know me, but with me now having a profile stretching across no fewer than 60 countries thanks to Twitter and FB, I should get a few commissions. What I’ll enjoy most is talking to the visitors about my works.

    I’m glad Tony’s big night went well, it won’t be long before I read TLS, but what’s stopping me at the moment is that (of all things!) I’m reading Spartacus! Anyway, I must carry on with my project now, best regards, Mike.

  16. Personification
    Posted 8 May 2012 at 00:28 | Permalink

    Hey Ben!

    Just finished reading the forgotten legion trilogy and I must say… Wow!
    You’ve left me on such a cliff hanger! Your wording and use of historical events was great! I especially loved the reason why you changed 27th to the 28th legion in Alexandria!
    I am just about to download another book of yours on my kindle πŸ™‚

    I hope you can also rerun my email πŸ™‚ Cheers, Lee Worrall.

  17. Ben Kane
    Posted 8 May 2012 at 11:39 | Permalink

    @Mike: Lincoln’s off, Mike, so glad you can’t make it there! I’ll be in Cowbridge instead, with Tony. Glad to hear that your projects are bearing fruit.

  18. Ben Kane
    Posted 8 May 2012 at 11:41 | Permalink

    @Personification/Lee: thanks for posting, and welcome to my site. Glad you’ve been enjoying the books.
    Will reply to your email asap.

  19. Mike Reed
    Posted 10 May 2012 at 00:07 | Permalink

    Thanks for your info Ben. Cowbridge! I thought I’d heard of it! It’s in South Wales and I’m no stranger to that area. I graduated just down the road in Swansea with a degree in Visual Arts in 1996, and the outer Severn Bridge was only just being built then. Back to 2012, and despite my wish to be with you and Tony in Cowbridge it looks doubtful, but I hope it goes well for you both.
    Thanks also for your wishes – I now already have an art commission (a portrait in Roman armour) which I’ll be starting this week. I’m working on both posed pictures as well as action scenes such as the operation of a ballista, a gladiatorial fight, or perhaps an extract from the Battle of Teutoberg Forest. The works of Graham Sumner (whom I spoke to on the phone before last Christmas) and of Angus McBride have both inspired me with ideas for my project. I remember looking at Graham’s works on one of your old websites, and the works of Angus McBride are also well worth the look. If, Ben, you wish to find out more of this project, you’re more than welcome to do so. Best regards, Mike.

  20. welshtrigger
    Posted 5 June 2012 at 23:21 | Permalink

    Hi Ben, i have read all of your books (forgotten legion trilogy – being my fav), Spartacus has kept me glued . to be honest i have really enjoyed everyone of your books and looking forward to your next, keep up the good work

  21. Ben Kane
    Posted 6 June 2012 at 10:36 | Permalink

    @welshtrigger: Cheers for your post, and welcome to my site! It’s great that you’ve enjoyed the books so far – only 71 days to go until Spartacus: Rebellion comes out! Keep a look out for the competitions that will be running to win signed copies of the books…

  22. bassius
    Posted 17 June 2012 at 16:23 | Permalink

    Have just finished the Forgotten Legion – excellent reading! Brings back those years of learning Latin and Roman history. Looking forward to Silver Eagle and Road to Rome. Great writing. Michael

  23. Ben Kane
    Posted 17 June 2012 at 19:49 | Permalink

    @bassius: Thanks for your post, and I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  24. denisehasty
    Posted 2 July 2012 at 06:17 | Permalink

    Spartacus – fantastic read – cant wait until the next book comes out in August – grrrrr 6 weeks still to wait.

    Another great read by a remarkable author – keep up the good work Ben.

  25. Ben Kane
    Posted 3 July 2012 at 09:26 | Permalink

    @denisehasty: Gosh, you read that quickly! I’m glad that you liked it so much. Only 44 days to go…hang in there!

  26. Mike Reed
    Posted 4 July 2012 at 13:10 | Permalink

    Hi Ben – thanks for your posts. It looks like you and me have been exchanging friends over the last few days! Whereas I got to know Peter Goh you did likewise with Titvs (Jose Sanchez Toledo). I have always believed the best thing the Internet has done is brought together so many like-minded people, thus intensifying our interests.
    I got to know Peter thanks obviously to TFL and Peter has already sent me an e-copy of his book which is very inspiring. There is a growing number of reports proliferating over any Roman presence in China, and there has also been recent evidence of traded Roman goods found in Japan! If you’re not familiar with that I will send you a copy of any report I’ve seen of that. Such reports of this are coming out, that they don’t just have links with the aftermath of Carrhae. Not having been anywhere in Asia myself I can only speak for that, but despite that, this is really inspiring.
    Titvs is a guy I’ve told you about before, and in Titvs, what you see is what you get. I promise you will enjoy having him as a friend. I’m already halfway through reading his book “Imperium Legionis” which was written in about 2004. The man is a genius – he lives and breathes Roman military life and re-enacts wherever possible. He has invited me to join him at the Emerita Lvdica in Merida (Extremadura – just west of Madrid), which is like Spain’s “Nimes” or “Kelmarsh”. It’s not till the end of September. I will also advertise the Casa Rural Romana just outside Merida. I won’t tell you of that – I’ll surprise you by getting you to click onto the website for it, and there is a page in English.
    You’ll enjoy looking at that I promise you, best regards, Mike.

  27. bobbie
    Posted 9 July 2012 at 17:50 | Permalink

    Looking forward to the next instalment!

  28. LeanneUK
    Posted 16 July 2012 at 22:09 | Permalink

    Hi Ben,
    Well wow! What can i say!? I have always been a big reader, reading books of all genres and backgrounds. This book is definatley one of my collection that will be read again and again. I couldnt put it down! I loved how it didnt focus on just the one character as many books do, but that we got to see many peoples perspectives throughout the story. Although Spartacus is the lead and hero, i have an incredible soft spot for young Roman, Carbo, and i cannot wait to see where his story leads in the next installment. You may just have become my new favourite author! Looking forward to the next installment, in the meanwhile i may have to go out and buy your other books!
    Will you be doing any book signings for the next Spartacus? If so, anywhere near Leeds? πŸ™‚ Would love to get a signed copy.

  29. galiciad
    Posted 17 July 2012 at 17:58 | Permalink

    my mom is a huge Fan of yours shes wondering if you have Spartacus ; Rebellion in spanish or Hannibal spanish. shes in love with all your books she has read all of them now she wants the new ones. pls let me know soon all pre order and pay whatever price for them.
    Thank you ..

  30. Ben Kane
    Posted 19 July 2012 at 06:16 | Permalink

    @galiciad: Spartacus and Hannibal have not yet been translated into Spanish. Lo siento. They will be soon, however. Keep an eye out on the Ediciones B website.

  31. msyers
    Posted 9 August 2012 at 15:08 | Permalink

    Just finished Spartacus the Gladiator which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was in the fast-moving style of Bernard Cornwell which made it almost impossible to put down.

    I can’t wait for the second book in a few days. However, I’m wondering whether I will read it with a slight feeling of dread, rather like watching the film Titanic. However well things appear to be going for our hero, I know it won’t end well!

    By the way, does ceasar68 realise that they’ve spelt “caesar” wrong?!

  32. Ben Kane
    Posted 9 August 2012 at 16:05 | Permalink

    @msyers: Thanks for your post, and welcome to my site! It’s great that you enjoyed Spartacus so much. Yes, the ending is sad – it drained me to write it – but there’s something to take out of it that is uplifting, or so I hope.

    No idea about caesar68 – it’s a very common misspelling, though!

  33. crixus
    Posted 10 August 2012 at 23:37 | Permalink

    hi Ben
    discovered spartacus after watching the series on tv now cant wait for part 2

  34. Mike Reed
    Posted 17 August 2012 at 14:18 | Permalink

    I hope the launch went well last night Ben. I’ll get back to you on that – busy at the moment. Cheers. Mike.

  35. Riki Notarangelo
    Posted 11 October 2012 at 04:34 | Permalink

    It might sound strange, but I’ve Just started reading this after Spartacus : Rebllion, and so far It is REALLY GOOD!

    Thanks for the time keeping me off the Video games!!

  36. Ben Kane
    Posted 11 October 2012 at 18:53 | Permalink

    @Riki Norarangelo: Glad you’re enjoying the books, even if they’re back to front! Stay off those video games – try Douglas Jackson, Anthony Riches or Russell Whitfield next for more Roman military novels!

  37. Riki Notarangelo
    Posted 13 October 2012 at 08:49 | Permalink

    Thanks Ben, I’ll Look out for Those guys!

  38. Lukas Ang from Poland
    Posted 16 November 2012 at 22:41 | Permalink

    Hi Ben,

    warm greetings from Poland!

    I must say I came across your book completely by chance, but now you`re one of my favourite authors! I have just finished reading Spartacus The Gladiator and it is a great piece of writing indeed! I love your style (just to make it clear- I read it in English) and the way you create your characters. Somehow I feel they`re alive and find it easy to relate to them. I still don`t understand how you do it, but even though I know the story of Spartacus I still found the book captivating to the very last page. Moreover, I`m going to buy the second book about Spartacus as I am sure it will be equally well-written! And here`s the question about something I am really now aware of. I hope you do receive payment when your book is sold in another country e.g. like Poland? I am going to buy your book in one of the chain bookshops, because I think good authors should be supported and encouraged to write more!

    PS I wish one day I could be as articulate in English as you are! πŸ˜‰

  39. Ben Kane
    Posted 17 November 2012 at 23:12 | Permalink

    @Lukas: Hello, and welcome to my site! I’m very glad that you found my book and enjoyed it so much. In these days of piracy and illegal ebook downloading, it is SO nice to have someone like you enquire about whether I get paid for a foreign sale such as yous! The simple answer is I don’t know, but if it’s a real book that you bought, then I probably will. Thanks a lot, Lukas and I hope that you enjoy Spartacus: Rebellion. Best wishes – Ben.

  40. Ferbie1211
    Posted 2 March 2013 at 20:42 | Permalink

    Hey Ben I’m a really big fan and I have to do a book project. what is the theme for Spartacus The Gladiator? thanks for writing all of your books I loved them all

  41. Ben Kane
    Posted 11 March 2013 at 20:28 | Permalink

    @Ferbie1211: Apologies for the delay in replying. I don’t quite understand the question, sorry. Ping me an email with more details, could you? Ta.

  42. tartandave
    Posted 11 May 2013 at 15:46 | Permalink

    hi Ben i just registered today,what really impressed me was how you take the time to reply too comments… anyhow just to say i have read all your books and listened to them on audio the forgotten legion is excellent (as is your other books) i remember i was having a horrible time i was very ill, i was lying in bed bored out of my mind couldn’t concentrate to read so i bought your 3 forgotten legion audio books and it gave me two days of utter joy took me from my sick bed to go along with Romulus Brennus, Tarquinius and Fabiola. the only sad point was when they ended have you any idea when you will release a book four? thank you for your books mate david

  43. Ben Kane
    Posted 17 May 2013 at 13:28 | Permalink

    @tartandave: Sorry that it’s taken so long to reply, especially considering what you said!
    I’m glad that your time being ill was made somewhat easier by listening to the trilogy. I also hope that you’re fully recovered now.

    No book four of the Forgotten Legion, I’m afraid. So many other stories in my head!

    Best wishes


  44. Toledo
    Posted 19 October 2013 at 21:59 | Permalink

    Excelente el libro, gracias por darnos estos momentos de buena lectura. un saludo.

    Y una pregunta La segunda entrega, cuanto tiempo tardara en llegar a MΓ©xico

  45. Ben Kane
    Posted 21 October 2013 at 14:08 | Permalink

    @Toledo: muchas gracias por tu mensaje – estoy feliz que tu has disfrutado Espartaco uno! No se exactamente cuando saldra el segundo, pero creo luego…

    Posted 5 March 2014 at 01:34 | Permalink

    Is there going to be a book three to spartacus?

  47. Ben Kane
    Posted 5 March 2014 at 09:22 | Permalink

    @tyler: Well, he’s….you know! πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for asking. I do have the plotline for a prequel, about Spartacus as a young man, but it will be some years before I can get to it…
    Best wishes to you – Ben

  48. Iain_Thompson2000
    Posted 10 August 2018 at 00:39 | Permalink

    Hi Ben,

    I’ve always loved the story of Spartacus and I came across your books that tell the story brilliantly. I am now an avid fan!

    I mainly read ancient Greek and Roman stories and find your roman ones very inspiring, I’m currently attempting a story of my own, for my own interest not with ambitions of a best seller πŸ™‚ I am only about a 3rd of the way in but sometimes wonder what you’d think of it! It’s a story of ancient Greece but living in Somerset it’s hard to find the inspiration, thinking I need a trip to Greece!

    Looking forward to tucking in to more of your books and collecting new releases. Now one of my top 3 authors but won’t give away which position πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work, I think a story of Octavian and the invasion of Cleopatras Egypt is a must πŸ˜‰


  49. Ben Kane
    Posted 16 August 2018 at 15:46 | Permalink

    Hi Iain, and many thanks for your message. It’s great to hear that you enjoyed the Spartacus books so much, and that you are enjoying more of them as well. Don’t let living in Somerset stop you – I live in the county too – Google Maps is your friend. Best of luck with your writing! Ben.

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