Debbie's World of Books
My book reviews, book news & random rants

Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield

April 14th, 2009 by Debbie's World of Books


Thanks to Joseph at St. Martin’s Press for the chance to review this book.

I give it a 4 out of 5 stars.

Description from The Ancient Roman public’s hunger for gladiatorial combat has never been greater. The Emperor Domitian’s passion for novelty and variety in the arena has given rise to a very different kind of warrior: the Gladiatrix. Sole survivor of a shipwreck off the coast of Asia Minor, Lysandra finds herself the property of Lucius Balbus, owner of the foremost Ludus for female gladiators in the Eastern Empire. Lysandra, a member of an ancient Spartan sect of warrior priestesses, refuses to accept her new status as a slave. Forced to fight for survival, her deadly combat skills win the adoration of the crowds, the respect of Balbus. But Lysandra’s Spartan pride also earns her powerful enemies: Sorina, Gladiatrix Prima and leader of the Barbarian faction, and the sadistic Numidian trainer, Nastasen. When plans are laid for the ultimate combat spectacle to honor the visit of the emperor’s powerful new emissary, Lysandra must face her greatest and deadliest trial. This is a thrilling first novel that combines fascinating historical detail with blistering action.

I’ve had a soft spot for books dealing with Sparta or gladiators so this book immediately grabbed my attention. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the book despite the fact that I really did not like Lysandra. It’s rare that I find a book with a main character that gets on my nerves and yet I still enjoy the story. Lysandra’s arrogance is so above and beyond ridiculous that you can’t help but shake your head over it. Whitfield also did a great job at developing the characters of the other gladiatrixes, trainers and owner, Balbus. My only wish was that the ending closed on Lysandra instead of someone else and her ending seems pretty unbelievable to me. Otherwise, this was a great read and I highly recommend it. A great twist on the typical gladiator story.

Posted in 4 Star Books, Books, Historical Fiction

One Response

  1. tee

    I received a free copy of this book and agree with you. The story was pretty good and I think the message was good as well…I just couldn’t stand the main character. I wanted to like her but her arrogance just grated on my nerves… However, the book did have some great characters beside her and it kept me going…

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