13129771Done and done!  Spartacus: Blood and Ashes earns its place on my shelves.

The first in a series based on the Starz show, Spartacus: Blood and Ashes did not disappoint me.  I went into it expecting blood, guts, sex and lots of dirty, dirty language.  Just like the show in fact, and I was not disappointed in this one.

J.M. Clements was really able to keep with the flavor of the first season of the show.  The events of this installment take place after Spartacus becomes Champion of Capua, but before Crixus recovers from the wounds he received in the same match where Spartacus won the Champion title from him.

The gist of the book is that a rival gladatorial house to the house of Batiatus has been taken down.  Apparently the owner Polerus held a party, one of the guests decided to get frisky with a female gladiator, but she was able to knock the drunken sot out, and lead a gladiatorial rebellion, killing their owner.

Sadly for them, in the times of Rome, such a thing led to the death of all slaves in the household, even the innocent ones.

So now there are some great funeral games for this man, and many are going to come, make pitying noises, eat, drink and be merry, celebrating the man’s life.  And who is responsible for providing entertainment?  None other than Batiatus, and of course he chooses to send his newly appointed Champion of Capua to spill some blood and entertain the drunken mourners.

I think we can all see where this is going, so I’ll leave it there for now.

What I like most about this series, both the TV and book, is that the characters and events of the end of Season 1 Spartacus are actually inspire by real historic events.  Once upon a time, there was a gladiator slave named Spartacus who, alongside Crixus and Oenomaus, lead a slave rebellion in 73AD now referred to as the Third Servile War.  I never knew this before reading the book.  The things you learn!

A good start to a new series, providing it’s lucky enough to continue.  Sadly some tv-turned-book series don’t always make it past the first installment, but here’s hoping.  Granted Spartacus is not going to win any literary awards, and I wouldn’t let the youngsters get their hands on it, but all in all not bad.  Looking forward to the next one.

Next on the docket: Gauntlgrym.  Looking forward to this one.  It’s been a while since I read a Realms book, mostly so I could cut a good swath through the others I have, so I have been missing this world greatly.  And it’s the latest adventure of my fav character in this realm, Drizz’t Do’Urdern.

7879891Drizzt joins Bruenor on his quest for the fabled dwarven kingdom of Gauntlgrym: ruins said to be rich with ancient treasure and arcane lore. But before they even get close, another drow and dwarf pair stumbles across it first: Jarlaxle and Athrogate.  In their search for treasure and magic, Jarlaxle and Athrogate inadvertently set into motion a catastrophe that could spell disaster for the unsuspecting people of the city of Neverwinter—a catastrophe big enough to lure even the mercenary Jarlaxle into risking his own coin and skin to stop it. Unfortunately, the more they uncover about the secret of Gauntlgrym, the more it looks like they can’t stop it on their own. They’ll need help, and from the last people they ever thought to fight alongside again: Drizzt and Bruenor.