Ben Kane ~~ 4 1/2 and 5 Star Reviews

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Hannibal: Enemy of Rome
Ben Kane
St. Martin's Press
Hardcover
978-1250001153
*****

     If you read and enjoyed Kane's novels about Spartacus, you will love this one. Most of us remember Hannibal as the commander who attacked Rome by going over the Alps with elephants being the beasts of burden. To this day, scholars are debating where he got the elephants.
     It is third century BCE. Rome is rising to power and trying to dominate anyone in the area it can reach. Carthage is the main rival. Carthage was once a mighty sea power but was defeated by Rome. On land, thanks to Hannibal, it's a different matter and Hannibal wants revenge.
     The story begins with a young man named Hanno, son of Malchus....who is very close to Hannibal. Hannibal holds a position like Commander in Chief. When Hanno is captured by pirates, he becomes friends with Quintus and his sister Aurelia. Remember, however, these are two Romans, and therefore, are enemies of Carthage. At the end of this book, there will be a big battle, and their friendship will be tested.
     This story is very well done.
Paul Zunino

 

 

Spartacus the Gladiator

Ben Kane

St Martin's Press

978-1250001160

*****

 

      Spartacus was more than a man. He was a legend that has never died. The story has been told over and over again. Right now, there is a series called Spartacus on Showtime.

      Kane's story follows the traditional way Spartacus, the character, has been portrayed through the years. He has always been portrayed as a powerful man in a world where the strong were respected, but only so long as they remained strong. Kane tries to be historically accurate as far as what Rome was like at that time.

      The story begins with Spartacus escaping the Roman Army and becoming a wanted man. In his travels, he rescues a beautiful Dionysian priestess named Ariadne from some trouble with a warrior. He becomes involved with her, but the romance gets cut short because not everyone is happy about it.

      Spartacus is betrayed to the Romans, and he ends up taking a boat ride to Capua to become a gladiator. Ariadne is also captive on the same boat, which is run by a cruel man named Phortis.

      To be forced to become a gladiator was a death sentence, but Spartacus will escape to build his own army. The real action will happen when he goes up against the Roman Army.

      The story was very well done.

Paul Zunino



The Road to Rome

Ben Kane

Preface Books

Hardcover

978‑0312536732

*****

 

            The author not only wanted to write a good story but also be historically accurate. He did a good job. Kane paid attention to the smallest details. For example, when the Roman soldiers were attacked, the men in the front locked their shields together to protect themselves from a forward attack while those in the back held them up over their heads to fend off falling arrows. This really happened.

            The novel begins with Roman soldiers fighting the Egyptians and not doing well. They are outnumbered and waiting on Caesar to arrive with reinforcements, but he isn't coming any time soon. Suddenly, a thousand arrows fill the sky. The Romans put their shields over their heads, but the arrows are poison tipped and only one has to scratch any part of the body to be fatal.

                 Romulus and Tarquinius are Roman soldiers who live to fight another day. Unfortunately for Romulus, he ends up in the arena fighting a wild animal. He wins, but his sister, Fabiola, has troubles of her own. She has two lovers who are enemies: Decimus Brutus and Marcus Antonius. Antonius knows about Brutus, but doesn't care. He is Caesar's right‑hand man and feels that he can have any woman he wants. Brutus doesn't have a clue.... but he does have a temper. Fabiola struggles to keep him ignorant.

            The story begins in 48 BC and ends in 44 BC. There is a glossary in the back that readers need to use frequently. Also, see the author's notes in the back section. Kane explains in detail what parts of his story are real and what parts are fictional, devices that he used to give the novel continuity and pull all of the elements together. If you like history, you will love this book.

Paul Zunino

 

 

 

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