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Rome, 61 BCRECRUITED as a gladiator, young Marcus Cornelius Primus faces a new life of brutal training, governed by strict rules, as he learns the skills of an elite warrior.But Marcus cannot simply forget his past. His father lies murdered by soldiers and his mother has been kidnapped and forced into slavery. Marcus is determined to find his father's old commander, Pompeius the Great, to seek justice for his family and set his mother free. Yet, unbeknown to him, Marcus is hiding a life-threatening secret. And if the Romans discover it, there will be no escape . . .
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About the Author

Simon Scarrow was born in Africa and lived in a number of countries, including Hong Kong and the Bahamas before settling in Britain. He has always been interested in writing and his love of history began at school, in particular when he was being taught about the ancient world by his Latin and History teachers. Since then he has travelled with his wife and children across the world to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Jordan, Syria and Egypt to research his historical novels. Simon was an enthusiastic teacher for a number of years. He now writes full time, but does intend to return to teaching when he can find the time.


Simon Scarrow will do for boy gladiators what JK Rowling did for boy wizards. * *

Gr 9 Up-This action-packed adventure set in ancient Greece and Rome follows the travails of 10-year-old Marcus Cornelius Primus, who manages to escape from the vengeful moneylender who has killed the man he always considered his father and kidnapped his mother. Determined to seek justice from his centurion stepfather's former commander, General Pompey, Marcus flees toward Rome, only to be sold into slavery and imprisoned in a gladiator training school. As his sense of social justice is awakened by the barbaric treatment meted out to him and the other students, Marcus learns more about Spartacus, the leader of the great slave rebellion so viciously put down by Pompey and other Roman leaders a decade earlier. When it comes time to put his training to the test in a climactic fight, he earns himself a position in Caesar's household by virtue of his great courage and skill-traits that it turns out he has inherited from his biological father, Spartacus. This heavily foreshadowed reveal, coming as it does in the final pages of the book, sets the stage for a sequel. The well-paced plot does not skimp on gore and savagery. Nor does Scarrow shy away from depicting the horrors of slavery, as Marcus's sense of personal unfairness begins to expand into a larger understanding of the injustices on which his society is founded. Mature readers who can handle the violence and bloodshed will also absorb well-integrated factual information about topics such as the different kinds of gladiators and the rivalry between Athens and Sparta.-Kate Hewitt, Far Brook School, Short Hills, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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