Still a bestseller!

Last week, Spartacus slipped to No. 6 in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. I hoped that this week, it would remain in the Top Ten, but wouldn’t have been surprised if it had fallen out. Imagine my delight when I found out yesterday that it had climbed back up to No. 5! That’s another first for me.

At the weekend, the Sunday Times culture section had an article all about historical fiction. Christian Cameron’s God of War (a novel about Alexander) got a great review, as did Hawk Quest by Robert Lyndon, which you have all heard me blathering on about. I was delighted also to see mention of Spartacus. I had to smile at the description of it, which went along the lines of ‘lack of plot nuance and characterisation, but lashings of gore and swordplay. Much to be enjoyed, and the portrayal of Spartacus is a vivid one.’

To be honest, I’ve never been known for being subtle. As they say in Yorkshire, I like to a call a spade a f*cking shovel! I therefore shouldn’t be surprised that it carries over into my writing. What counts for me is that the story is good, and that lots of people enjoy it. And the charts seem to say that thus far – 9,994 copies sold (and that’s excluding ebooks). Roll on, Spartacus!

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16 Comments

  1. Mike Reed
    Posted 15 February 2012 at 10:22 | Permalink

    I’m beginning to wonder Ben if the position in the charts suggests any inclusion of your works sold overseas as well as in this country? Only wondering. Only in the last few days I said to Tony what I’m about to say to you, that I know of some Spanish people who have also bought “Espartaco”.
    One of them is Jose Sanchez Toledo, who has to be Spain’s current leading author on Roman literature. As fast as you released Spartacus, Jose released a book titled “Imperium Legionis” – all about the Roman legions, their origins, their longevity, where in the Empire they were sent, who they fought, their demise, etc.. It looks a REALLY amazing book – fantastic photographs and illustrations, and I can’t wait to buy it myself. Moreover, the ESG featured a lot in that as well. That’s how he came to know me – Jose thought my picture was in the book, but apparently it’s not (lol – I’d love to have been!) – those pictures were taken before I joined.
    Jose also told me that he’d found that his work had been translated to English, and such copies are now being sold. I’m not sure if the edition is limited or not, I wouldn’t think so. It won’t be long before you know Jose if you don’t already – a very sound guy and I promise that you’ll really like him – I think Tony already does know him
    With regard to Spartacus climbing back up the charts in its claim that it’s not finished yet, let’s hope it continues that way. My copy is already on the shelf waiting for me to start it. Well done again Mate, you’ve done yourself proud, Mike.

  2. John Salter
    Posted 15 February 2012 at 11:33 | Permalink

    Great news again Ben, although ‘lack of plot nuance and characterisation!’ What a load of piffle! I’d rather read your books than some, primarily because they are far more realistic with genuine characterisation and don’t you don’t bumble around writing twenty words when five will do to explain a situation.

    Keep doing what you are doing, it works for me and clearly a lot of others!

  3. sownack
    Posted 15 February 2012 at 11:46 | Permalink

    Great Stuff Ben!

    I don’t bother too much about reviews in newspapers be they for books, films, music. If some of these paid reviewers were so good they would be the ones writing the books, making the movies or composing the music. Well, that’s my simplistic view anyway. Certainly where books are concerned I tend to look at Amazon reviews and sort the wheat from the chaff to help me make my mind up about whether to buy the book or borrow it from the library.

    I have been wondering what you think about fan fiction? I hear JK Rowling is happy for people to make up their own stories about the world of Harry Potter, but Anne Rice will not allow any fan fiction concerning her vampire characters citing copyright issues. Would you mind if someone wrote their own stories about some of the characters you have created, or would you not like to see that happen?

  4. Ben Kane
    Posted 17 February 2012 at 13:50 | Permalink

    @sownack: Sorry for the delay – up to my eyeballs in blood with the final battle of Spartacus: Rebellion. Cheers for your thoughts on reviews – I thought the ST one was funny, and quite incisive. I’d much rather write page-turners than Booker winners anyway, so it’s all good.

    Fan fiction – do you know, I’ve never been asked that, and I don’t know the answer to the question! Will think about it…

  5. djugo
    Posted 19 February 2012 at 16:53 | Permalink

    Always better Ben..great!!! And always waiting for the italian translation, can’t wait for!!!
    Ciao from Italy

    Loris

  6. Ben Kane
    Posted 19 February 2012 at 17:17 | Permalink

    @djugo:I am worried that it is not going to get to you – it’s been nearly a month now… 🙁

  7. jrb
    Posted 20 February 2012 at 15:24 | Permalink

    Hi Ben. Just placed my order for Spartacus Rebellion, with Goldsboro Books. Have started Spartacus The Gladiator, and it true what it say’s it a real page turner. Pleased the book is doing well for you.

    Good Luck John

  8. Ben Kane
    Posted 21 February 2012 at 05:40 | Permalink

    @jrb/John: That’s dedication – thanks! Glad that you’re enjoying it 🙂

  9. Posted 22 February 2012 at 01:02 | Permalink

    Iiiimmmmm sooooo happy for u XD! I still havent been able to get my copy yet but hopefully w.my taxes I will :D! U are an inspiration mr.kane and im following ur advice I promise! Ive bought almost every history book I,can afford to and nowim currently working on my own novel! Thanks for being an inspiration to me!

  10. Ben Kane
    Posted 22 February 2012 at 09:28 | Permalink

    @cereza671:Go girl! Good luck with your novel! What’s it about?

  11. Mike Reed
    Posted 23 February 2012 at 10:06 | Permalink

    Hi Ben – I actually started some writings about the Roman governors of Britain, which I’m doing more for my own self-gratification and only work on it when I get time – I’m not forceing it. I’m a long way off even considering it to be a book let alone seeing if I can have it published. I’m actually doing some art work ready for me to have something to show come the summer, ready for people to look at. This is, at least in part, inspired by the work of Graham Sumner, whom I spoke to before Christmas. It was through you actually Ben that I first came across him, and I was inspired by his work that you put on your old site last summer.

  12. Posted 4 March 2012 at 03:56 | Permalink

    Its a series actually tht ive been working on for yrs… A lot of writers blocks and back burners and researching lol. But its a fantasy series title BloodLine Series. Each book focusing on a vampire (bc it is focused around mainly vampires). The very first book I,started to write dates around 5588BC so I,had to do a lot of studying and research like you told me to do. I admit trying to find a way to create my characters in a world where civilizatiins werent exactly made yet was harder then I thought. But I found a way to make it work. Another book of the series focuses on the first vampire ever, and from time to time has her revisiting memories from the ancient times especially ANCIENT ROME! Lol

  13. Ben Kane
    Posted 5 March 2012 at 18:15 | Permalink

    @cereza671: Good stuff! Can’t say I’m into vampires, but I wish you the very best with your books! Have you read Blood Games? It’s set in Rome, with a vampire as the main character.

  14. anne-marie
    Posted 3 April 2012 at 18:05 | Permalink

    Am relishing reading Spartacus, the Gladiator. When is Sparticus Rebellion going to be in the shops. I can’t wait.

  15. Posted 7 April 2012 at 02:19 | Permalink

    Sorry for the long delay in response l0l No I havent actually, Ive been busy with getting my poetry published with several other writers as well as trying to catch up with the spartacus tv series which btw is amazing!! Ill definitely take a look at it AFTER reading your books.

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

    @anne-marie: thanks for posting, welcome to my site! Apologies for the delay in replying.Spartacus: Rebellion launches in the UK on August 16th…

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