Mark of the Gladiator By Violetta Vane and Heidi Belleau

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.

                From the start of this book, I had wanted to like it, I really did.  I enjoy reading the gladiator type books and I wanted to read about the male/male perspective of the relationships.  During that time, those types of relationships were not frowned upon, so it was great to read about a couple who is able to be who they are without fear.
                But I just couldn’t seem to get into this book.  There were parts where it seemed to drag along, and it seemed like it was going nowhere.  There were also parts where I was wondering why they were put into the book at all.
                I did enjoy the amount of details that the authors’ thought to put into the story.  The details of the bath house, the way that the slaves were treated.  Even so far as talking about how the women’s hair was matted and full of lice.  There is a thin line however, from just enough details and too many details, and it seemed at times like that line was crossed.
                Now it could just be that I wasn’t in the right mood to read this book, so I will give this author another chance.  When it comes to this book, I will not be reading it again.



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