Sand of the Arena: A Gladiators of the Empire Novel

James Duffy, Author . McBooks $23.95 (415p) ISBN 978-1-59013-111-4

For this first entry in a new series, debut novelist Duffy recreates in gory detail the world of Roman gladiators, complete with larger-than-life characters and plenty of fast-paced, sanguinary action. When the hero, Quintus Honorius Romanus, loses his parents and is injured during a storm at sea, a resentful and resourceful slave, Lucius, steals his identity. The real Quintus—renamed Taurus—works to rebuild his life as a gladiator, with the help of new friends Lindani, an African hunter, and Amazonia, a rare female gladiator who seems lifted straight from the overheated world of professional wrestling. Meanwhile, Lucius—masquerading as the patrician Quintus—rises to a position of power in Rome. Beginning in Britannia on the frontier of the Empire, Taurus fights his way to notoriety, a match in Rome and the inevitable showdown with his nemesis. From training regimen to weapons and fighting tactics, Duffy renders the technical elements of the "sport" in layman's terms. He also corrects some common misconceptions about gladiatorial combat—e.g., the losing fighter was more likely to be spared than killed. Despite its made-for-TV-movie plotting and characterizations, this entertaining read may find a receptive audience among fans of historical fiction. Agents, Loretta Barrett and Nick Mullendore. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/26/2005
Release date: 11/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 415 pages - 978-1-59013-124-4
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