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The Far Arena

de Richard Sapir

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1746121,979 (3.21)12
Released from the Arctic ice after two millennia, a former Roman gladiator must contend with his haunted memories while trying to make sense of a strange new world While conducting exploration in the frozen Arctic, Texan Lew McCardle, a geologist working for the Houghton Oil company, discovers something remarkable: a body encased in the ice. More remarkable still, the skills of Russian researcher Semyon Petrovitch bring the man miraculously back to life. This strange visitor from the distant past has an amazing story to tell. Translated from his native Latin by Nordic nun Olava, Lucius Aurelius Eugenianus reveals that in the era of Domitian he was a champion in the Roman Coliseum, a gladiator known far and wide as the greatest of all time. But now the warrior Eugeni must readjust to this new world, with its bizarre customs, hidden traps, and geopolitical and moral complexities, as he struggles to come to terms with painful memories of loves and glories lost, the bloodthirsty politics and heartbreaking betrayals that ultimately led him to this time and place. An ingenious amalgam of science fiction, fantasy, and history, Richard Ben Sapir?s The Far Arena is a breathtaking work of literary invention, at once thrilling, poignant, and thought-provoking. A classic tale of strange destiny and miraculous reawakening populated by a rich cast of unforgettable characters, past and present, that will live long in the reader?s memory.… (més)
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Es mostren 1-5 de 6 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This novel is a clever combination of history and science fiction. The author brilliantly puts you into the mind of a remarkable, and unlikely gladiator of Rome from the early years of the Christian era, as he struggles to assimilate into modern society.
  david.maness | Oct 7, 2016 |
One part Gladiator, one part Jurassic Park. Eugeni was a Roman Gladiator (in fact, the best) under the emperor Domitian. Until he fell from favor after failing to kill a friend during a gladiatorial contest. The Praetorian guard was ordered to take him to the North Sea and kill him, but succeeded only in causing him to be frozen, and awakened two millenia later by cryogenic techniques. He’s discovered by Lew McCardle, Ph.D. texan hunting for oil. To keep the discovery secret, Lew enlists the aid of Semyon, a Russian cryonics specialist, and Sister Olav, a non who speaks fluent latin.

(see The Far Arena on The Hawaii Project)

The book alternates between Eugeni’s life in Rome, and his experiences coming to grips with being alive, and being in the modern world. The scenes from ancient Rome are simply brilliant — historically accurate, by turns gripping and harrowing, and capture the intrigue of Rome. Interesting details (the Legionnaire’s equivalent of “combat pay” was called “nail pay” — because they wore out the nails in their sandals during long marches) are interspersed with wonderful characterizations. Eugeni is a brilliant character — he has the black humor of soldiers (“How are your pains?” — “My pains enjoy themselves immensely. I do not.”). The interplay between the worldly-wise Eugeni and cynical, aging Lew are priceless. The scene where Eugeni demonstrates in the modern word how brilliant a swordsman he is, is harrowing and devastating.

The modern scenes are done equally as well as the Rome scenes. So it’s hard to characterize the book. It’s one part fantastical historical fiction and one part modern day thriller, combined with a morally compromised realpolitik that drives the plot. It’s a great book, and the writing is smooth as glass. Can’t recommend this book more highly if you are interested in Rome or Gladiators.

As a bonus, here’s a list of other great books about the Roman world

Happy Reading! ( )
  viking2917 | Oct 27, 2015 |
Frozen body of a Roman gladiator is thawed. He wakes up in the 20th century. ( )
Aquesta ressenya ja no es mostra perquè diversos usuaris l'han marcada com a abús de les Condicions d'ús (mostra-la).
  Tutter | Mar 2, 2015 |
After reading this one, I'll stay away from Roman historical fantasy. This one was so-so, despite several interesting episodes.
A nude man is found encased in ice by an American oil man/geologist. A Russian doctor thaws out the man, who turns out to be from ancient Rome at the time of Emperor Domitian. The doctor replaces his poisoned blood with fresh blood, and a nun translates his classical Latin for the two men. The part where the Roman, Eugeni, remembers his life in Rome as gladiator, freedman, rich man, and with his family was fascinating. But after that, an ancient Roman stranded in present-day Norway did not gel for me and was too outlandish. I thought Eugeni's description of modern clothing to himself, analogizing them to what he knew; e.g., neckties like torques, was clever. I thought the scene where 'garum' was mixed together for Eugeni, out of disgusting ingredients, was humorous. The novel was poignant when he visits modern-day Rome with the nun and sees the ruins of things he knew and realizes without a doubt that his beloved wife and son have been dead for close to two millenia. But as a whole the novel was mediocre. ( )
  janerawoof | Feb 9, 2014 |
My uncle gave me a copy of The Far Arena knowing how much I usually enjoy science fiction and stories about ancient Rome. While his intentions were lovely, The Far Arena wasn't as enjoyable as I would have hoped.

The concept was intriguing, but the the reanimation of the gladiator was not quite believable. The ancient gladiator is not only revived after many thousands of years, but he's not even damaged in any way. Think Encino Man with more science and less Pauly Shore wackiness.

Beyond being kind of ludicrous, the story itself, especially the parts about ancient Rome I was looking forward to, were dull. Lots of action, lots of really horrifying events, but to a lot of corresponding emotion. Perhaps this was purposeful, showing a gladiator can't survive if he shows much emotion. Perhaps it was a tool to show how remembering the past always has less emotion that while one is actually living it. There could have been many reasons, but in the end, I just couldn't click with the main character at all.

The Far Arena isn't a bad book exactly, but more an example of something that sounded like it would be wonderful and ending up just not working for me. The writing flowed well and the historical side of the book felt realistic. The science fiction side could have been based more in actual science, but as this book was written in the 1970s, I may be asking too much given my modern view of things. ( )
  TequilaReader | Nov 21, 2010 |
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Released from the Arctic ice after two millennia, a former Roman gladiator must contend with his haunted memories while trying to make sense of a strange new world While conducting exploration in the frozen Arctic, Texan Lew McCardle, a geologist working for the Houghton Oil company, discovers something remarkable: a body encased in the ice. More remarkable still, the skills of Russian researcher Semyon Petrovitch bring the man miraculously back to life. This strange visitor from the distant past has an amazing story to tell. Translated from his native Latin by Nordic nun Olava, Lucius Aurelius Eugenianus reveals that in the era of Domitian he was a champion in the Roman Coliseum, a gladiator known far and wide as the greatest of all time. But now the warrior Eugeni must readjust to this new world, with its bizarre customs, hidden traps, and geopolitical and moral complexities, as he struggles to come to terms with painful memories of loves and glories lost, the bloodthirsty politics and heartbreaking betrayals that ultimately led him to this time and place. An ingenious amalgam of science fiction, fantasy, and history, Richard Ben Sapir?s The Far Arena is a breathtaking work of literary invention, at once thrilling, poignant, and thought-provoking. A classic tale of strange destiny and miraculous reawakening populated by a rich cast of unforgettable characters, past and present, that will live long in the reader?s memory.

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