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The Gladiator's Master

The Gladiator's Master - Marguerite Labbe, Fae Sutherland ”The world is cold and cruel and lonely. If we find some respite in each other’s arms there can only be good in that.”

I was very surprised with The Gladiator’s Master (TGM). To be honest, I was expecting a porn-with-slight plot kind of story (featuring a very horny gladiator who takes his –sexual- frustration out on a master willing to bend over). I was 95% wrong on that assumption and was blown away with the spectrum of emotions I went through. I even had to use some tissues.

The book blurb explains well the premise of the story. Gaidres was enslaved to serve as a gladiator, and vows to seek revenge by ending the bloodline of his captor. That includes the new dominus, Caelius, who is the nephew of the deceased Craxus. However, what Gaidres didn’t expect was the kind hearted dreamer that Caelius presents.

While Caelius is kind hearted and likes to believe that he can change Rome for the better, he isn’t naïve. He also understands others and empathizes with Gaidres during their earlier interactions. Meanwhile, Gaidres isn’t just an oversized meathead with anger management issues: he is a character that treads the fine line between love and hate with justifiable reasons to his anger besides “just” enslavement. While both personal and political reasons seem to constantly present a chasm between Caelius and Gaidres, it never got to the point of eye rolls and constant “Get on with it” mentalities that plague many stories I have read with similar conflicts.

While TGM focused a lot on love between our two MCs, there was also the issue of family. Of wanting freedom, but knowing that freedom has no meaning to a person who is entrapped in his own psychological cage. Of guilt that can only exist in survivors realizing that they can indeed be happy. Of hope and dreams in a harsh reality.

And of the belief that maybe, just maybe, one can have all it takes to be happy – friends, a lover, a family, and freedom.