It's an honor to welcome back my friend and fellow author Ben Kane, as he celebrates the release of the second book in his dramatic account of Spartacus, the slave who led a massive rebellion and changed history. In SPARTACUS: REBELLION, Spartacus has already done the impossible—escaped from slavery, created a mighty army that has challenged Rome and defeated the armies of three praetors, two consuls, and one proconsul. Now the road home lies before them but danger gathers on the horizon. One of Spartacus's most powerful generals has defected, taking his men with him, and in Rome, an immense force is being gathered against him. Spartacus wants to lead his men over the Alps but others have a different plan. They want to march on Rome and bring the Republic to its knees. Rebellion has become a war to the death.
Please join me in welcoming Ben Kane, who offers us this guest post about how he came to write about this iconic figure as well as a giveaway of ONE copy of each of his Spartacus books. This giveaway is open to US and Canada only. To enter, please comment below. A winner will be drawn at random on May 30.
How I Came To Write About Spartacus
In early 2010, I started hearing a lot of news about an upcoming TV miniseries called Spartacus: Blood and Sand, starring a then little-known Australian actor called Andy Whitfield*.This set me to thinking about Spartacus’ story all over again. I did some more research on the man, and became even more enamored of his achievements, and amazed by how close he had come to getting away. He was someone who was subjected to a great injustice, and he didn't take it lying down. Instead, he fought back ― in the process shaking the mighty Roman Republic to its core. Although the reasons for Spartacus’ fame have quite modern roots (he was resurrected as a symbol of the small man’s fight against oppression in the 18th and 19th centuries), his name is one of the most well-known from ancient times. Thrilled, I went as far as writing the plotline for a novel and submitting it to my UK publishers. Sadly, but perhaps sensibly, they were keen that I concentrate on my other novels.
I went back to work, finishing the novel Hannibal: Enemy of Rome. The itch to write Spartacus became a lot worse over the subsequent months, however, and I kept badgering my publishers. I am pleased to say that eventually, they gave in! I started writing Spartacus’ story in mid-December 2010, and I had it finished by mid-June 2011. The story just burst out of me. At about 100,000 words (the normal length of my novels is about 145,000 words) I knew there was no way this amazing man’s story would fit into one volume. Cap in hand, I went back to my publisher. This time, they were quick to agree to a second book. The first volume immediately became Spartacus: The Gladiator, while I named the second Spartacus: Rebellion. That book also took me little more than 6 months to write. In all, I lived, breathed and dreamed Spartacus for more than a year. It was the most amazing experience, and I was very sad to end the story. I actually dreaded writing the final battle (most everyone knows what happens, but I won’t mention it just in case), but when the time came, the writing flowed so well. Working up to 16 hours a day, I wrote more than 15,000 words in 8 days. By the end, I was totally drained, but it had been a fantastic experience. It is my sincere hope that readers will get as much enjoyment out of reading the books as I did in writing them.
*Andy was a mesmeric actor, who totally made the role of Spartacus his. Tragically, he died before the rest of the series could be made. His role was taken over by the actor Liam McIntyre.