PANKRATION by Dyan Blacklock

PANKRATION

The Ultimate Game
Age Range: 11 - 13
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Australian Blacklock debuts with a gory, rough-hewn tale set in ancient Greece and Italy. Sent from Athens to escape the plague, young Nicasylus is taken by pirates and sold into slavery; he escapes, makes his way to Olympia, and witnesses the vicious Pankration, a no-rules fight that lasts until all but one competitor is too broken up to continue. The author splits the story between Nic and his giant friend Gellius—a sailor who survives the pirate attack—who undergoes the requisite nine months of training and purification required to compete in the games, and is beaten to a pulp but crowned victor when Nic fingers his opponent as the pirate captain. There are some who may enjoy following Nic’s blood-and-vomit-splashed trail to Olympia, but neither of the protagonists sees much beyond the climactic bout, even though Blacklock prepares readers for a visit to the ancient games. The rarely used setting, tailor-made for historical fiction book reports, may spark some interest. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-8075-6323-4
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Whitman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1999