Gladiator's Revenge by Amy Ruttan
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Length: Short Story (75 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 Cherries
Reviewed by Dahlia
Taranis had one thing on his mind since the Romans enslaved him. Revenge. Until he laid eyes on the innocent beauty of Lavina, a daughter of his enemy. It was then that he knew how to wreak revenge against those who’d wronged him—by taking one of Rome’s daughters, over and over again.
Lavina is humiliated by the decadence, greed and violence of Rome. When she meets the gaze of the condemned gladiator across the Circus Maximus, he stirs a deep yearning in her heart, but it is not meant to be. She is destined to marry a man who’s soul is as black as night.
On a whim, Emperor Nero grants Taranis freedom with his choice of a wife. Taranis chooses Lavina, much to the horror of her parents. Only Lavina is not disgusted by this prospect and revels in Taranis’ touch. He finds himself caring for and falling in love with the little Roman.
Yet, a shadow falls on their happiness and soon Lavina will have to choose between her home and her heart.
Seeking revenge against the Romans has consumed Taranis. His fallen nation is long forgotten under the heels of the Romans that enslaved him and now force him to fight as part of the entertainment in their gladiator games. Taranis lives to avenge those he failed and seeks a respectable warrior's death, but his plan's are immediately thwarted when lays eyes on a creature of innocence in the midst of all of the decadent debauchery that is Rome. Lavina becomes a pawn in the game he intends to win yet he can't deny that she's nothing like the country who raised her and perhaps worth fighting and living for.
This is my first read by Amy Ruttan and I found it to be quite enjoyable. The storyline did seem to be bigger than what the number of pages would allow, so it felt a little condensed. The characters played their respective roles well and it was hard to not immediately feel an attachment to characters that we were only allowed a brief glimpse of.
I especially appreciated the romance that unfolded between Taranis and Lavina. They're both strong minded and have a clarity of what's wrong and what's right. Taranis' goal changes throughout the book thanks to Lavina but she does as well, becoming a stronger person more willing to take a stand since she's found what's worth fighting for. I was reminded in many ways of the television series Spartacus: Blood and Sand, so it wasn't hard to imagine what the characters and setting looked like during that time period.
Ms. Ruttan proves to have a writing finesse when it comes to historical romance and I will gladly read more of this fabulous author's work.