Wednesday, 2 March 2011

11+: Gladiator 1: Fight for Freedom - Simon Scarrow

Release Date: 03/02/11


It's Rome, 61 BC. Recruited as a gladiator, young Marcus Cornelius Primus faces a new life of brutal training, governed by strict rules, as he learns the skills of an elite warrior. But Marcus cannot simply forget his past. His father lies murdered by soldiers and his mother has been kidnapped and forced into slavery. Marcus is determined to find his father's old commander, Pompeius the Great, to seek justice for his family and set his mother free. Yet, unbeknown to him, Marcus is hiding a life-threatening secret. And if the Romans discover it, there will be no escape...


As a fan of Simon Scarrow’s Centurion’s Macro and Cato I had high hopes for this, his first Young Adult title. What unfurled unfortunately didn’t feel that it kept to the high standards I expected. The plot was pretty simplistic against a lot of the books that are released now, the plot outline feeling that it was something I’d already seen and to be honest it felt forced to make an idea into a novel that could really have been explored in a short story. Add to this that it felt like Simon had just borrowed from a lot from a couple of films (Kubrick’s Spartacus and Corbucci’s The Slave) and unfortunately the title fell a little flat.

I hope that now a lot of the background has been sorted that future titles will get back to what Simon does best but for an 11 year old you can go more complex without worrying about them not following which when backed with a great writing style for action really could make this something special. I can only wait to see.

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