Kane uses what little (very little) is known about Spartacus to piece together and imagine a gripping story of the man and his troops.
Historical fiction always faces the problem that the reader knows the outcome. Writers in this genre cannot rely on twisting plots to entertain the reader and must use character rather than plot to make the story come alive. Kane does a great job keeping the reader interested in a story that we all know ends poorly for the Hero.
Kane builds relationships between Spartacus and his men– both his loyal followers and the men who might not have been quite so loyal.
And, I was pleasantly surprised to find his battle scene writing to be truly gripping. As a woman, I tend to get a bit bored during battle scenes. It’s one of the things I did not like in Bernard Cornwell’s books. But, I loved Kane’s approach! He immerses the reader in the battle through the eyes of one of the key characters, Carbo. This is great because I was expecting that we’d see it through Spartacus’ point of view. I could truly tell there was a great outpouring of emotion as Kane wrote. Blood, pain, excitement seeped through the final pages.
I also like the through nature of Kane’s writing about the Roman period. He’s afterward and glossary are a welcome edition to the book.
I would recommend this book and thought it was even better than his first one!