Arena is a Sunday Times best-selling novel from Simon Scarrow, author of Invictus, Centurion and The Gladiator, and T.J. Andrews. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.
It is AD 41. The city of Rome is a dangerous place.
Optio Macro of the Second Legion, recently decorated for courage on the battlefield, can't wait to leave the teeming city behind. He's dismayed when he's compelled to stay in Rome to train Marcus Valerius Pavo, a young gladiatorial recruit.
Though fearless Pavo has fought for his life before, he's a novice in the arenas. But he's a driven man, with a goal dearer than survival - to avenge his father's death at the hands of a champion gladiator. Will he live to face his nemesis?
"Ferocious and compelling." (Daily Express)
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Badly Written and Badly Read.
I have to say I loved Simon Scarrow's Cato and Macro characters, and I enjoyed Scarrow's writing - it got the story done with enough embellishment to entrance and transport to a relatively authentic impression of the time. So I bought this book, (not realising he wrote it with someone else) expecting the same. Anyway, for whatever reason, this book is as bad as his other books were good - the plot plods along a linear timeline from one uninteresting turn of events to another, stumbling over laughable cliches and repetitive character reactions, made all the worse by the histrionic reading of David Thorpe. I won't go on, because enough is said. All I can say is, stick to writing on your own Simon, because it seems the other bloke just dragged you down on this one.
One more chance to Simon Scarrow, but definitely never T.J. Andrews.
Disliked it intensely. Histrionic, badly interpreted and misphrased.
Boredom and mirth
Story read like it was on repeat
Yes, I would still listen to David Thorpe's narrations, and I'd be willing to read another Scarrow
This book seemed like a never ended repeat of events. Main character gets into a tight spot due to the nasty Grecian. He is forced to fight. He whines about the injustice of it. He trains. He wins. He is still subject the the Grecian's plots. Plot escalates (barely). Repeat.
I was not satisfied with the end. I did not like the characters, and an overuse of the f word made me feel like the characters were adolescents.