Monday, 23 September 2013

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Arena - Simon Scarrow and TJ Andrews

Release Date: 15/08/13
Publisher:  Headline


A Sunday Times bestseller, ARENA is a novel of Rome, gladiators and revenge from the author of CENTURION, THE GLADIATOR and PRAETORIAN. It is AD 41. The city of Rome is a dangerous place. Optio Macro of the Second Legion, recently decorated for courage on the battlefield, can't wait to leave the teeming city behind. He's dismayed when he's compelled to stay in Rome to train Marcus Valerius Pavo, a young gladiatorial recruit. Though fearless Pavo has fought for his life before, he's a novice in the arena. But he's a driven man, with a goal dearer than survival - to avenge his father's death at the hands of a champion gladiator. Will he live to face his nemesis? ARENA has previously been published as five separate ebook novellas. This print edition brings the complete series together.


To be honest I’m a huge Simon Scarrow fan so when I learned of this co-authored title, featuring a young(er) Macro I couldn’t wait to see what unfurled within. I was expecting top notch action, some great twists and when added to the cracking way that he brings ancient Rome to life, was really looking forward to settling down wondering around that time period.

What unfurled whilst containing an “old friend” was a title that for me, was sadly lacking, it felt flat, the action, whilst there didn’t have his usual passion behind it, almost choppy and really didn’t do what I hoped for. Yes it had gladiatorial combat and it was bloody but it just didn’t have me caring about the lead protagonist enough to actually want him to win.

Add to this twists that you could sadly see coming for quite a lot of the book, political machinations that felt uncomplex alongside a pace that slacked off quite a few times, all round left me feeling fairly flat. A great shame.

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