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.