Mask of the Gladiator
Georgie Lee; Kindle Edition, 54 pages
Expected publication: January 30th 2012 by Carina Press
Source: eGalley from NetGalley
Rome, 41 ADLivia Duronius is driven to seek out a gladiator after watching him triumph in the Colosseum. His touch arouses a sense of hope she hasn’t felt since Rome fell under the tyrannical rule of Caligula—and her late husband betrayed her. Though in danger of losing more than her heart, she vows to see him again, even after she learns her uncle has arranged her marriage to a senator.Senator Titus Marius cannot resist indulging in a passionate encounter with the veiled woman who waits for him after the games, though he faces execution if his true identity is discovered. Bound by honor to wed another, and embroiled in a plot to free Rome from madness, he never expects to see the mystery woman again.When the fates reunite them in the marriage bed, Titus vows to protect Livia at all costs—even from the lecherous eyes of the emperor…– Goodreads blurb
So, I read a story about Livia – it’s my first time reading a romance short story about someone who’s name I have (it’s a Roman name, so I can’t say the roman character has my name, lol, I have hers more like). It was totally fun to do that, a bit freaky too but also totally fun, lol. I also love that cover. Now that we got these things out of the way, let’s move on to the short story itself.
The plot was very Roman in all the ways, and one thing I totally love about reading historical fiction or retellings is the research that obviously went into them. We’re knee deep in the Romans, so to speak, down to gladiator fights, ‘heated’ politics, plotting, scheming, affairs, treachery, all the works – welcome to the Roman Empire.
As far as characters go, I will admit to being sort of subjective about Livia, lol. Regardless of my subjectiveness about her name, she was totally awesome and fun to read; I felt she was a veridical character for her time, she was brave, passionate, rational and smart as well, a total treat. After being disappointed by the cowardice and betrayal of her ex-husband, she obviously felt hurt and had that “I’m giving up on marriage/love” reaction a lot of disappointed lovers have had during history. She’s very drawn to a gladiator, and ends up getting married after all with a senator, Titus. Her worry about the indiscretion with the gladiator is very Roman as well, lineage, reputation and appearances were big deals in their society.
Titus was especially awesome though, the take-charge sort of guy, courageous, with strong values and a lot of faith in them and in himself, he was very confident and I felt he had plenty of reason to be. A senator and a soldier, he wasn’t going to put up with Caligula’s abuse, and aside plotting to do something about it, he’s actually doing something, taking action into his own hands. There’s a plan, of course, there’s always a plan, but he’s not only planning, he’s taking action as well. I loved that about him. Plus, he was hot and strong, let’s face it, that’s a big thumbs up! xDDD
Their chemistry was really intense, and I loved how their relationship changed and evolved after being formally introduced, they were intense but had feeling as well, and they made a solid couple quickly. Perhaps too quickly, I mean it felt to me like this plot could have been easily developed into a longer, more consistent story, especially because I felt the author had a good grasp on Roman flavor, so to speak. I liked it, but I wanted more development and more depth to it, and a short story would have a tough time at achieving that.
All in all this was a short, sweet, entertaining read, and if you feel like a romantic&steamy historical quick read, I totally say go for it.