Ben Kane is a lifelong student of military history in general and Roman history in specific, The Forgotten Legion is his first novel and the sequel, The Silver Eagle, will be released in 2010. He lives in England.
Two gladiators, a soothsayer and a prostitute seek freedom and revenge in Kane's sword and sandal epic that starts strong but runs adrift after too many bloody battles. While Julius Caesar, Pompey and Crassus struggle for control of Rome, Romulus and Fabiola, the illegitimate children of a slave raped by a nobleman, run afoul of their master and are sold off; Romulus to gladiator school and Fabiola to the city's fanciest brothel. Romulus is trained by Brennus, a fearsome gladiator whose family was slaughtered by the Roman army. Across the Forum, Fabiola, soon a favored courtesan of the social elite, vows to save her brother from certain death and to destroy the man who fathered her. After a fatal accident outside the brothel, Romulus and Brennus flee the city, joining up with Tarquinius, an Etruscan warrior who can glimpse the future. The trio enlists in Crassus's army as they prepare to invade the Parthian Empire, a military action that quickly turns disastrous. Though the cliffhanger ending is oddly underwhelming (a sequel is in the works), readers into Roman intrigue and epic violence will consider Kane's debut promising. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
This epic story of Rome at the time of Julius Caesar is a gripping blend of history, battles, gore, ancient politics, betrayals, consummate and casual cruelty, and sex. The novel revolves around four people-Tarquinius, an Etruscan soothsayer; Brennus, a champion gladiator from Gaul; and the twins, Romulus, who becomes a gladiator, and Fabiola, who is sold into prostitution and ends up, well, very successful. The three men join Rome's doomed attempt to conquer Parthia under the rich but inept Crassus, Caesar's rival. When Crassus's army is destroyed, their legion surrenders, and they are impressed into a Roman force ("the Forgotten Legion") that now has to fight for their enemies at the edge of the known earth. Kane richly describes the Roman world, showcasing a solid knowledge of and appreciation for the first century B.C.E. and how people lived, survived, and sometimes thrived. Based on fact, this debut will be a pleasure for those who like history and great adventure; and, yes, a sequel is planned. Recommended for historical fiction collections. [100,000-copy first printing.]-Robert Conroy, Warren, MI Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
"I thoroughly enjoyed The Forgotten Legion - so much so that I stayed up until 2 A.M. to finish it. Where others play in the rarefied world of senators, legates, and upper class merchants, Kane delves into the grim underbelly of slavery, prostitution and gladitorial carnage...His weaving of the many character strands is deftly done. I was very impressed." --Manda Scott, author of The Crystal Skull and Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle