“We who are about to die, salute you!”
It’s Rome, 61 BC. Recruited as a gladiator, young Marcus Cornelius Primus faces a new life of brutal training, governed by strict rules, as he learns the skills of an elite warrior. But Marcus cannot simply forget his past. His father lies murdered by soldiers and his mother has been kidnapped and forced into slavery. Marcus is determined to find his father’s old commander, Pompeius the Great, to seek justice for his family and set his mother free. Yet, unbeknown to him, Marcus is hiding a life-threatening secret. And if the Romans discover it, there will be no escape…
I found this book very enjoyable but rather predictable at times. It is rather like the movie Gladiator with Russel Crowe, but with a child instead. Still, I would not shrug it off so easily. It is a well written book and I enjoyed the twist towards the end.

Having been sheltered from the world, Marcus is unaware of the cruelites of the real world. And I’m not talking about our world as we know it, but rather Ancient Rome, in the time of Julius Caesur. A time when slavery was very prominent and the favoured sport was not football or tennis, but rather watching armed gladiators fight to the death. It is a cruel blow when he realises that his case in not uncommon. He is not the only one to face such an injustice. To survive, he must remain determined, head strong, and of course, brave.

The majority of the first part of the book was about Marcus’ life before he was sold into slavery. This of course had me ultimatley questioning how he would become a gladiator. It took longer than I thought to reach this point but I am glad it did. We got to understand Marcus and see how his home life had shaped him before he was forced to become the hard, brave gladiator. As a character, I respected him. He reminded me quite a bit of Percy Jackson, whose mother was also taken in The Lightning Thief. Both were determined to find their mothers and were seemingly blind to their own stupidity in order to do so.

Marcus makes a deadly enemy whilst training as a gladiator with a Celt boy named Ferax. Things could have ended up a lot worse between the two. I do wish that some characters could have been more developed. The seemingly hard, brooding Spartan intrigued me a great deal, for instance. With no romance in this novel mostly aimed at teenage boys, it is pure action and adventure. Yet being a girl I still think it has a place in my heart somewhere near Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl. Please do get a copy. You won’t be dissapointed.


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