Romance and Me: For the Love of a Gladiator

Filed in featured , Romance and Me , The Latin Lover Posted on May 2, 2012 @ 3:00 pm 14 comments

Hey Everyone!

Being the Latin Lover, as ‘Nomen est Omen’ (the name obliges), you might have guessed that I’m a fan of Latin: both the language and the rich historical culture.

So it came as quite a shock when I realized that despite my love for historical romances and interest in Ancient Rome, somehow until very recently I have neither read nor researched HRs set in Ancient Rome. I wasn’t even aware there was such a category (I know, unbelievable!) so I had no idea what I was missing out on.

But then in February I stumbled upon Georgie Lee’s Mask of the Gladiator which I LOVED! Not only was it a terrific story, but it opened a whole new horizon and made me aware of a new subgenre of historical romance. Since then I keep seeing other HRs set in Ancient Rome emerge: My Wicked Gladiators, The Champion, Surrender to the Roman, The Gladiator’s Master just to name a few (so far I have only read Mask of the Gladiator and My Wicked Gladiators, but I can recommend both wholeheartedly!).

There is something for everyone (even some m/m set in Ancient Rome), but what all these stories have in common are the smexy heroes. What is it about Roman men – be they gladiators or senators – that makes them so irresistible? Is it their inner code of honour? Their integrity? Their warrior intensity?

I just love the wonderful mix of historical authenticity in the details of the setting and some actual historical events and the romance taking place in these times.

Do tell me,

Have you read any historical romances set in Ancient Rome?

Do you enjoy settings with these kinds of heroes?

Do you believe that Roman historical romances are a new emerging trend or you think they have been around for some time and have been overlooked?

What do you think makes Roman men so irresistible?

And last and most importantly: do you have any great books to recommend which are set in Ancient Rome?


About Stella

Stella is a proud bookaholic and a self-taught multilinguist in training. Besides reading, her other great passions are travelling and baking. When she is not globetrotting she lives in sunny Budapest, where she loves to spend her free time preparing (and feasting on) delicious cookies or devouring equally yummy books. Her favourite genres are urban fantasy and romance and she couldn't live without her daily dose of sunshine. Besides being the Latin Lover on BLI Stella also blogs about books and a bookish life on Ex Libris.

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  • Sheree May 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    I thought the movie “Gladiator” with Russell Crowe made everyone swoon over Romans and such, although I suppose “Spartacus” and Kirk Douglas had that distinction first.

    • Stella May 3, 2012 at 4:14 am

      Yes, I also believe Russel Crowe’s movie has to be credited for kindling new interest and passion for Gladiators and making readers/film fans realize that not only Regency men can be sexy 😉

  • Ren Puspita May 2, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Once I read erotica historical romance series by Nadia Aidan, called Imperial Desire. Pretty good, intense and emotional. I enjoy read the book, because the setting and culture are different from usual historical romance book I read that often took place at England

    • Stella May 3, 2012 at 4:14 am

      Thank you for the recommendation Ren, I’ll have to check it out, now that I’ve discovered this subgenre I want more! 😀

  • Susan May 2, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I think novels about ancient Rome, as well and Roman-set romances, have been around a long time. (Hello, Lew Wallace, Taylor Caldwell, Lloyd C. Douglas.) A lot of those overwrought movies from the 40s and 50s were based on books. But, like a lot of things, they have come in and out of fashion. I hope we’re seeing a resurgence of interest with the Gladiator movie and Spartacus tv series will result in some better quality books being written and released. 🙂

    The last Roman romance I read was an m/m called The Gladiator’s Master (Sutherland & Labbe). Before that was an m/f timetravel romance called AD 62: Pompeii (Rebecca East). There was also an m/f about a woman gladiator–the title eludes me, but it may possibly have been a Harlequin Historical. There are several authors who have produced Roman romances for the HH line (Michelle Styles, Louise Allen), but I haven’t read any of them.

    I have to admit that I’ve read more Roman era mysteries (Robert Harris, Lindsey Davis, Steven Saylor, Ruth Downie, John Maddox Roberts, Martha Marks, David Wishart, etc), historical fiction (Robert Graves, Colleen McCullough, Rosemary Sutcliffe, SJA Turney, and many more), and alternate history/time travel (L. Sprague de Camp and, one of my all-time favorite books of any genre, Household Gods by Harry Turtledove and Judith Tarr). For sci-fi, there’s RM Meluch’s Merrimack series about a revitalized Roman Empire in the future–I’ve read all but the latest and I love the series.

    Sorry to be so long-winded. I’d love to see what other readers suggest.

    • Stella May 3, 2012 at 4:17 am

      Oh Susan, I could just hug you for all these fantastic recommendations!! Thank you so much! 😀

      I’m not picky, I love mysteries as well, so I’m up for anything set in Ancient Rome with authentic tidbits and details that make me feel as if I were there. Thank you once again, I’m taking notes.

      Anyone else has some other great recommendations?

      • Susan May 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm

        A cyber hug! I’ll take it. Happy reading!

  • Susi May 3, 2012 at 5:46 am

    Okay they aren’t Roman bt I read Deidre Knight’s Gods of Midnight series. It’s about immortal Spartan warriors. Made me think of 300 and Gerard Butler the whole. Great series! *g*

    • Stella May 3, 2012 at 6:01 am

      Ok, You are right Susi, let’s not discriminate, Greek god-like heroes are welcome as well 😉 Thanks for the recommendation, off to goodread it (why not make “to goodread” such a verb as “to google” become, I’ll start the trend :-D)

  • aurian May 3, 2012 at 6:37 am

    Lol, if you want Greek Gods, you need to read Sherrilyn Kenyon. But I have read roman historicals way back when I still read the Dutch Candlelight historical romances. And yes, I did like them. But well, nothing really special about a roman hero. It is the setting that is entertaining, and there are slaves, which is a whole new dynamic in a book. I really really cannot think of a book author or title. Exept that golden oldie, Sarum, an enormous book about the building of a Roman city.

  • Kiru Taye May 3, 2012 at 7:10 am

    I love the move Gladiators. I have read that many gladiator books though but I loved The Gladiator’s Master by Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe.

    • Stella May 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

      Everyone keeps praising that book, I’ll really need to check it out 🙂

  • sienny May 3, 2012 at 7:49 am

    I’m the only one who haven’t read this sub-genre of HR huh.. Better get my hands on one of the recommended book then..

    • Stella May 3, 2012 at 8:11 am

      Oh you should Sienny, Gladiators are phenomenal heroes 😉

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