Review: The Last Gladiatrix by Eva Scott

 

 

Title:  The Last Gladiatrix

Author: Eva Scott

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

In the dust and death of the Collosseum, a slave fights for freedom, a soldier fights for his life, and they both fight for the love that has been forbidden.

Captured and enslaved by a Roman legion, Xanthe never expects to end up training for the Colosseum floor, but every night after the day’s march, she is put through her paces by a Roman solider who challenges her, tests her, and excites her.

Titus is drawn to Xanthe, her fire and her spirit, so he breaks one of his rules and brings notice on himself, offering to train her as a gladiatrix to spare her a courtesan’s role. But training her, working with her, soon becomes too much. Titus knows the penalty for taking property that does not belong to him, but how long can he resist?


Review:

I enjoyed this novella a lot!  I love stories set in Ancient Rome, and when I saw The Last Gladiatrix had gladiators, I was all about reading this book!  Gladiators are even better than ninjas and pirates.  They are better than ninjas and pirates put together!  There’s something about that desperate struggle for survival and freedom that makes them so compelling.  Knowing that a bad day in the Coliseum will more than likely equate to a violent and premature death makes reading them suspenseful and exciting.   I’m always worried that the protagonist is going to die or be severely injured.  It can be so stressful!

Xanthe is Sarmatian, and her people lived on the steppes with their horses, fiercely protecting their herds.  After Xanthe is captured by Huns and given as tribute to a Roman general, her prospects for a long, happy life seem dim.  When it’s decided that she’s earn the general a ton of money fighting in the games, her fate is sealed.  The general doesn’t expect her to survive her first fight, and worse, he doesn’t care.  Xanthe is nothing to him, worth even less than a his sandals.  When Centurion Titus Valens convinces the general that she’ll bring him more coin if she survives to fight again, Titus is put in charge of her training.  Xanthe and Titus soon find themselves surrendering to an attraction they can’t deny.

The only part of the story that didn’t really work for me was the instant, simmering lust that brewed between Xanthe and Titus.  I didn’t care how handsome he was, she had just been taken prisoner, the Huns and the Romans treated her like a dog, and I expected her to be fierce and more independent that she was.  After all of the intense training on the long, long march to Rome, I would have bought into raging attraction, but  for it to happen so quickly after being captured, it felt like too much, too soon. 

Despite that one quibble, I thought this was a great read.  The pacing never lagers, the fighting is ferocious and intense, and both Titus and Xanthe are sympathetic characters.  They have both been dealt the worst hand possible, yet they refuse to fold and give up.  I kept wondering how they were going to survive and get their HEA.  I liked them so much that I’d love to see what adventures they face next.

Grade:  B/B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Eva Scott, Author of The Last Gladiatrix

Please give a warm welcome to Eva Scott! Eva’s here to chat about her recent release, The Last Gladiatrix.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Eva Scott] I love the sunshine and hate the cold. I have a passion for disco.  I secretly collect aprons.  I love to cook and will never ever be persuaded to give up red wine or coffee.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Last Gladiatrix?

[Eva Scott] Xanthe is a Sarmatian warrior woman (they were thought to be the people behind the Amazon legend).  She finds herself captured by Huns and given in "tribute" to an awful Roman General.  He decides to use her as a gladiatrix in the Colesseum and she’s given to Centurion Titus Valens for training.  Naturally the course of true love doesn’t run smoothly….

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Eva Scott] A friend suggested I answer a call out for a short story anthology and the theme was Ancient Rome.  I liked the characters so much I kept the story, lengthened it and submitted it elsewhere as a novel.  I’ve always liked dark, brooding heroes (has anyone been watching Hell On Wheels!!!) and I like strong, feisty heroines who can take care of themselves.  The surrender is always sweeter that way.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Xanthe?

[Eva Scott] Spirited, feisty, loyal.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Titus had a theme song, what would it be?

[Eva Scott] This was a tough one.  My husband suggested Born To Raise Hell by Motorhead.  It’s probably a pretty good fit for a renegade Centurion-come-gladiator.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Xanthe is never without.

[Eva Scott] Her blue swirling tattoos.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Titus’s pockets?

[Eva Scott] Titus would never carry gum, a hanky or spare change.  (Okay, I know most of these things didn’t exist in Ancient Rome but then Centurions didn’t have pockets either).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Xanthe’s greatest regret?

[Eva Scott] Her impulsive decision to ride off in search of her brother without telling her parents what she was doing.  Xanthe’s rash actions led to her own capture, which led eventually to her enslavement.  Thinking she may have robbed her parents of both their children and the knowledge of what happened to them makes her sick to her stomach.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Eva Scott] Three influences that set me on the path to be a writer all came together in my childhood.  The Wizard of Oz had me making up stories about magical possibilities from the day I saw it with my Great Aunt Silve.  Then there was my first grade teacher, Miss White, who told my parents I had the potential to be a writer – a statement I totally endorsed and have trying to live up to ever since.  And finally, strangely some might say, Fred Astaire.  I really don’t know why except perhaps he represented the consummate artiste to me in the days I’d hang out with my grandpa and watch old black and white movies on the telly. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Eva Scott] My lap top, some bench space and some coffee.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Eva Scott] When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman – this book teared me up but it also made me laugh out loud.  I’d read bits out to my husband (a confirmed non-fiction only reader) and now he’s reading it!  Truly a unique read.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Eva Scott] I can’t remember ever not reading so it’s hard to pinpoint one book that threw the switch.  Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree and Ruby Ferguson’s "Jill" series really captured my young imagination.  My friends and I would save up and go to the book shop as often as possible.  We’d play libraries with our personal book collections and our school librarian would let us help her cover the new books from time to time.  I am never without a book! 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Eva Scott] I have a two year old son and we like to read together a lot.  Fifteen books in one day (no double reads!) is our personal best.  We live in sunny Queensland so lots of time at the beach doing beachy things.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Eva Scott] Readers can find me at the following:

http://www.evascottromance.com/

http://www.facebook.com/eva.scottromancewriter

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Romancing-The-Romans/476218929112324?ref=hl#!/pages/Romancing-The-Romans/476218929112324

http://www.twitter.com/EvaScottWriter

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase The Last Gladiatrix from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below

 

About the book:

In the dust and death of the Collosseum, a slave fights for freedom, a soldier fights for his life, and they both fight for the love that has been forbidden.

Captured and enslaved by a Roman legion, Xanthe never expects to end up training for the Colosseum floor, but every night after the day’s march, she is put through her paces by a Roman solider who challenges her, tests her, and excites her.

Titus is drawn to Xanthe, her fire and her spirit, so he breaks one of his rules and brings notice on himself, offering to train her as a gladiatrix to spare her a courtesan’s role. But training her, working with her, soon becomes too much. Titus knows the penalty for taking property that does not belong to him, but how long can he resist?

Eva Scott

Eva Scott lives on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland with her family and three dogs. When she’s not writing, you can find her out on the water kayaking, fishing or swimming. When on dry land, it’s all about the shoes and the coffee.