One of the reasons I love the Spartacus series on Starz is that it contains much of what I love in stories: strong characters, unexpected plot twists, great action scenes and a theme that resonates.
So it’s not surprising that my own book, Dinah of Seneca, has similarities. (My writing predates the show by several years, in case anyone was wondering.:)
1. They feature main characters trapped in situations not of their own making.
Spartacus is a slave who escaped. Dinah is a former slave who escaped her master by fleeing across the Atlantic Ocean.
2. The main characters get pulled reluctantly into a cause.
All Spartacus originally wants is to find his wife and escape with her. He has no cause but his own and is not shy about saying it. It’s not until late in the events of “Blood & Sand” that he burns for the cause of everyone.
Dinah is originally drawn into a war because it threatens her home. It’s not until she accepts her responsibility for her new people that she fights for a cause greater than her own.
Okay, I can’t claim to have as much sex in my book as in Spartacus. Who could?
But there’s a fertility ritual at the heart of my story that has four participants. And if you want even more erotic content, Freya’s Gift, the prequel to Dinah, is all of that.
There’s a huge action sequence in the current “Vengeance” season set in Capua. My book has something similar, in that it ends with a big action sequence in which stuff is destroyed. (To say more would be providing spoilers.)
Spartacus has the gladiator fights and the Romans versus the escapes slaves. My book opens with one big battle, several smaller ones, and one desperate fight to escape when all seems lost.
5. The stories are LGBT friendly.
Spartacus features several gay couples and a lesbian relationship between Lucretia and her best friend in the “Gods of the Arena.”
My story features a Roman General Tabor, who is gay, along with several other gay supporting characters.
6. There are characters from many different cultures.
While the Roman society is at the forefront of Spartacus, the gladiators are from all over the Western World, from Syria to the African continent to Gaul and Celts from Britain. It’s the mix of the cultures that causes tension and, ultimately, dedication to one cause in which they can all be free.
My story’s main character is from Roman society as well, albeit one from an alternate world in which the Romans have colonized North America. Besides the Romans, there are Vikings, Native Americans, and a Roman Legion made up of people from all over the Empire. In the end, the Romans and Vikings must find common cause to survive.
7. The over-riding themes match up.
Spartacus is about people overcoming differences to fight a grave injustice and for freedom.
My book is all about Dinah fighting for freedom not only for herself but, ultimately, her people.
Of course, the big question is whether my book is as good as Spartacus.
I will completely duck that one as I’m a very biased source. I can only hope that people enjoy my story as much as I’m enjoying what the creators of Spartacus have done.