“Spartacus: Swords and Ashes” is the new companion novel written by J. M. Clements. If you’ve been watching the Starz original series then you will no doubt love this book. This particular story is a flashback to the first season of Spartacus.
The book begins with a rather epic revolt and slaves killing not only their owner but a few party guests before being recaptured. The death of the Roman leaves an opening for someone to move up in social standing. That’s where Lucretia comes in.
The book is populated with familiar characters to viewers of the show. Batiatus and Lucretia play a key role in the novel. These two were the characters viewers loved to hate on the TV series. Clements captures the voice of the Romans well; he brings the world of gladiators, slaves and spoiled rich tyrants to life vividly.
Spartacus is back. In fact, the book is dedicated to the original actor who played the gladiator on the series, Andy Whitfield who lost his battle with cancer last year. The novel also brings back the delightful, if oblivious, Ilithyia. She’s the ancient version of a vapid socialite but just as in the TV series, it’s hard to hate her.
Now, remember, just like the series – this book has its moments of violence, sexuality and cruelty. The plot is tight and it’s an enjoyable read. If you enjoyed season 1 of “Spartacus” you will enjoy this story. It . The language takes a bit of getting used to – but it’s authentic. After a few chapters it’s easy to sink into the Roman world and just enjoy the book.
“Spartacus: Swords and Ashes” is available in paperback from Titan books at Amazon. (Titan Books, $7.99 US, $9.99 Can) This is the first book in the new series. “Spartacus:Morituri” penned by Paul Kearney will be published early in 2012.
Jonathan Clements is the author of many books on East Asian history. His works have been translated into many languages and he achieved a rare distinction when his book on the First Emperor of China was itself published in Chinese.