Publication Date: January 16, 2014
Business is dropping off for Lanista Laeca, a master of a gladiator school, and he’s eager to find the next big thing. When a gladiator brings fighting the undead back from a faraway land, Lanista knows he has found his moneymaker. Who will win in Gladiators vs. Zombies?
Gladiators vs. Zombies is a paranormal premise set in a historical era with a unique and, ultimately, logical way to explain the origin of the undead. Argo gets that for a formal language, historically set work to be commercially viable it has to be masterfully planned. Argo introduces the premise and players quickly. He moves the action forward while never cutting the reader short in character development.
Argo’s strength is the creative turn he takes. The origin isn’t a virus, and there are no uncontrolled zombies knocking out windows to tear into victims. The origin story is creative, logical and honorable in its own way. Instead of weakly flailing and running from the threat, the undead are weaponized for profit. There is a strong feeling of authenticity throughout the 164-page work. In back-checking, a few things, the amount of knowledge and research that Argo poured into the work is clear.
Perhaps the only weakness of the work and this is nitpicking, is the number of fight scenes. Don’t get me wrong, this is what the book is about. It’s set at a brutal time. People are cheering for blood and feel cheated if heads don’t fly. The bitey and infectious nature of the combatants is a thrill as is the great chance that the favorite gladiators won’t make it out of the ring. Death was the entertainment of the time.
So does the authenticity make for a scary Halloween read? It does. While there are a lot of fight scenes in Gladiators vs. Zombies, there is always a feeling that the commercialization of these beings could go sideways fast. Whether it does or not, you’ll have to read to find out. The story moves quickly and the editing is expertly done so that the thrill of action is consistent. If you like zombie and history mashups, Gladiators vs. Zombies is an excellent read. Pick it up today for a fun and cozy Halloween weekend read.
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