Spartacus Rebellion is the final book in Ben Kane’s Spartacus series. In this book we find Spartacus commanding a massive slave army. Since escaping from the ludus with Crixus, Carbo and the rest of the gladiators, Spartacus has defeated every force the Romans have sent against him. With slaves flocking from all over Italy to join his army the Romans know that they have to destroy this ragtag slave army before it gets too powerful.
In the Roman senate, Crassus is determined to seize control of the Republic’s armies and defeat the slaves himself. He believes that when he crushes Spartacus and his army, he will be the most powerful man in Rome and be able to establish himself as sole ruler of the Roman Empire. With his vast wealth and the incompetent performance of the Roman commanders so far, Crassus believes he is a step closer to fulfilling this dream but first he must destroy Spartacus before he becomes a danger to Rome itself.
Meanwhile all is not well within Spartacus’s army. Crixus’s defection with his men has highlighted the tensions that have surfaced in the slave army. While Spartacus has led them from one victory to another he struggles to keep his army together. His dream of leading his army to safety across the Alps isn’t shared by all.
They wonder why they are running from the Romans, have they not defeated every army sent against them and why would they leave when they have unfettered access to the riches of Central Italy.
Spartacus knows that what ever happens, he will need every man he can find if he is to stand a chance against the Roman war machine, which will not stop until Spartacus and his army have been wiped from the face of the earth.
It must be extremely intimidating to take on one of the most famous stories, starring some of the most famous men in history and one that is so closely associated with the film starring Kirk Douglas but the author in my humble opinion has not only taken it on but has improved it!
The character of Spartacus is a complicated one, over the intervening years he has become everything from a freedom fighter, brigand to an early communist!! The author has written what feels like a more genuine version of Spartacus. The Spartacus we meet is a general who is a genius at the art of war, he can inspire a disparate group of men to achieve results that rocked the ancient world. Utterly ruthless he has no qualms about ordering the deaths of people who get in his way. He also inspires unwavering loyalty in his close followers and they will give up their lives to protect him.
I also got the impression that Spartacus and Crassus were not so different. Both men craved and enjoyed ultimate power and having control over so many lives and were quite happy to use force to keep that power.
The author also handles the enigmas of the Spartacus story, such as why did he turn back from the alps, why did the pirates not turn up to transport him safety and the end of the Spartacus story with what feels like a realistic and plausible reasons.
While the story of Spartacus is well known this is without doubt Ben Kane’s Spartacus. You get the feeling that the author has really enjoyed writing these books and I must warn you that the final climatic battle and harrowing walk along the Via Appia is one of the most emotional scenes I have ever read. I cannot recommend this book enough, it is a fabulous ending to the series.
you can follow Ben on Twitter: @BenKaneAuthor