Book Reviews

The Gladiator's Master by Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe at Carina Press

Genre Gay / Historical / Ancient Europe / Gladiators / Romance
Reviewed by Alex on 16-February-2013

Book Blurb

When Roman politician Caelius inherits a stable of gladiators, there is one who captures his attention above the others...one whose eyes gleam with hate, pride and desire.

Forced into slavery by Roman greed, Gaidres can barely conceal his contempt toward his new Dominus. Gaidres has a plan: kill Caelius and end the lineage of the Roman family that enslaved him. For his plan to succeed, he must make a show of respect and obedience--even when called on to service his master's desires.

Gaidres is shocked to learn that in the confines of his quarters, Caelius doesn't want to dominate his slave, but to be taken by him. The sex is explosive as they break society's taboos and, to Gaidres's dismay, they form a tenuous relationship. Even when Caelius learns of Gaidres's plans for revenge, he knows he can't live without his perfect lover. Is he willing to risk it all to tame his gladiator's heart?

Book Review

Anyone looking to escape to ancient Rome for an adventure should pick up a copy of this entertaining and passionate tale of an enslaved gladiator. I very much enjoyed my foray into the world of the “ludus,” the training school and living quarters of the desperate and proud men known as gladiators. While the authors did their research, this is a light, fast read that focuses more on the politics of hierarchy between the stabled fighters and their latest master than on the heavier fare of historical Rome itself. I daresay fans of the STARZ series “Spartacus” will enjoy this novel tremendously.

The story opens with new owner, Caelius, inspecting a villa that he has inherited due to his uncle’s death. He is not happy about his acquisition as he wasn’t fond of his uncle and the villa needs much work, but upon hearing that it contains a stable of gladiators he is determined to whip it into shape. As a Roman with political aspirations, he understands that having warriors fight and win in the arena, can speed his rise in government. He and his men go to the ludus to see the gladiators and find that the gladiators have been neglected and are dispirited, malnourished and living in squalor. The best among the broken fighters is the defiant, prideful Gaidres.

Gaidres has withstood the harshness of life under the previous owner by nurturing his hate for the man who was in part responsible for his enslavement. Having rid himself of his old master, Gaidres's only remaining desire is to eradicate the man’s entire line, starting with his new owner, Caelius.

What follows is a tale of two men, a master who prefers to be sexually dominated and a slave who views sex as a path to vengeance, trying to find some ground where hate can be released and trust can grow. Despite living in a time wrought with suspicion, brutality and segregation, the two men slowly discover that they have more in common than not and what began as hot, lustful, need morphs into understanding, patience and love.

There are some splendid visuals here, and I commend the authors for showing restrain with the gore aspect of the arena. In between scenes that showcase the wrestle for power amongst the fighters in the ludus and the war of wills between Caelius and Gaidres are lovely passages which reveal the daily life of both gladiator and politician

The love story between the two leads blossoms at a realistic pace throughout the whole of the story and my heart went out to Gaidres in particular, for when you seek vengeance and have accepted death, how do you deal when love blooms in place of hate?

I highly recommend this enthralling novel, it is a perfect escape to a more brutal time; a lively, yet poignant adventure where brawny, hardened warriors wrestle their inner demons, and men of power struggle to remain politically correct. Thank you, Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe, for penning this highly likable and engaging tale.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 259 pages/88000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 19-September-2011
Price $2.99 ebook
Buy Link http://amzn.to/2bfnJa8