Tag Archives: Ancient Rome

Mark of the Gladiator (Warriors of Rome) by Heidi Belleau, Violetta Vane

Mark of the GladiatorRating: 4.75 stars

Published: November 26, 2012

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Available at:  Riptide, Barnes & Noble

Synopsis: After an inconvenient display of mercy in the arena, the gladiator Anazâr is pulled from the sands and contracted to nobleman Lucius Marianus to train his new stable of female gladiators. His new charges are demoralized and untested, and they bear the marks of slavery and abuse. Anazâr has a scant four months to prepare them for the arena, and his new master demands perfection.

Anazâr’s surprised by how eager he is to achieve it—far more eager than a man motivated by only self-preservation. Perhaps it’s because Marianus is truly remarkable: handsome, dignified, honorable, and seemingly as attracted to Anazâr as Anazâr is to him.

But the rivalry between Marianus and his brother, Felix, sparks a murder conspiracy, with Anazâr and his gladiatrices caught in the middle. One brother might offer salvation . . . but which? And in a world where life is worth less than the pleasures of the crowd or the whims of a master, can there be any room for love? As a gladiator, Anazâr’s defenses are near impenetrable. But as a man, he learns to his cost that no armor or shield can truly protect his heart.

This title is part of the Warriors of Rome collection.

Reading Progress:

11/16 70.0% “Bwagaha! “Fuck me with a galley oar!” ohhh, but it’s brilliant. LOL!”
11/16 70.0% “”What in Aphrodite’s magic twat is going on at the domus Marianus?” LUV.IT!”
11/16 55.0% “back to Roman times I go after a WHOLE day in real life. *shivers*”
11/15 44.0% “very good action scenes. But I’m totally confused. Ugh!”
11/15 38.0% “Bwahahaha! “Fuck Fortune for a whore.””
11/15 13.0% “switched to reading @computer ’cause I need instant access to google. I know nothing about Roman times.”
11/15 13.0% “My first book of this type. The challenge is paying off.”

Review: An intriguing and informative story of a Gladiator finding love and acceptance in a world where it is lacking. 

I will start by saying that is my first foray into this type of book. I have read historical gay fiction, but this was way out of my comfort zone. But the unbelievable fact is that I enjoyed it from start to finish. Yes, I struggled with words and names and had to constantly look in the included glossary or the Internet, but the journey was very gratifying and informative.

Anazâr is a gladiator with a heart. That’s how I see him. He wanted to survive but he also had morals. He knew right from wrong and it pained him to do some of the things he had to do to the women and for that matter what he had to endure to live. He is humiliated, beaten and used. He was a slave and he accepted that fact. Yet, in his heart he always kept that bit of hope that he would be set free. And for that opportunity alone he kept going. I admired him from the start and the story only helped in making more dear to me.

And Felix, well he was a character all right. He was funny, sarcastic and over the top. But underneath all that he was a vulnerable young man in search of acceptance who gave his everything and only wanted to be loved by Anazâr. Felix was hilarious as he was adorable. He wore his heart on his robe and I could not help but love him. He opened himself up to Anazâr and then came through for him in the most surprising of ways. It truly surprised me when I discovered that he was the love interest in this story. Anazâr seemed to dislike him so much that I had no suspicion that it would be him to win Anazâr’s heart. Well played Heidi and Violetta, well played.

The writing was exceptional, with a lot of attention to detail and a complete set of events placed just right. I enjoyed the world that the authors created. It was based on actual facts and each and every description helped me in placing the characters in Roman times. The action scenes presented during the story were well written and they kept me entertained as if I were an actual spectator. In the end, the resolution to the plot was perfectly exposed. It was exciting, unexpected and rewarding to me. It paid off to see the story through to the end.

It was a history lesson, a murder mystery and a romance all wrapped up in one great book. I learned a lot from that time while I kept trying to figure out who was behind the threats. Throughout the book I had doubts of who was behind it all. Like Anazâr, I didn’t trust anyone. Not even Felix. Add to that  some great one liners that had me laughing out loud and a hot little scene that took me by surprise and I was a goner.

A great read that opened my eyes to another sub-genre in Gay fiction.

I received this book through NetGalley from Riptide Publishing and would like to extend my appreciation to both for giving me the opportunity to read and review this title in exchange of my honest opinion.