Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Left Hand of Calvus (Warriors of Rome, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Left Hand of Calvus (Warriors of Rome, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Left Hand of Calvus

(Warriors of Rome #1)

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  263 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Former gladiator Saevius is certain Fortune’s smiling on him when a Pompeiian politician buys him to be his bodyguard. That is until his new master, Laurea Calvus, orders Saevius to discover the gladiator with whom his wife is having a sordid affair. In order to do that, Saevius must return to the arena, training alongside the very men on whom he’s spying. Worse, he’s now ...more
Kindle Edition, 172 pages
Published November 4th 2016 (first published November 3rd 2012)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Left Hand of Calvus, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Karen No, it is one of the secondary characters. You don't find out the character is trans until quite a bit after they're introduced.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.57  · 
Rating details
 ·  263 ratings  ·  79 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Left Hand of Calvus (Warriors of Rome, #1)
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy.
This was the mother of all plot twists. Like seriously...

I feel a tiny bit betrayed, because I had some expectations for this story that turned out COMPLETELY different, but judging this story objectively, it is actually very good (and I should have read the goodreads entry properly, I know :-P).

My one and only complaint should be: The lack of sex. I've actually never read a m/m novel without ANY sex. I understand *why* the author avoided it, but still.

I mean, a gladiator story in Ancient
Sep 03, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what to say about this book. I was hesitant to start because the set-up didn't appeal much to me. On the other hand, L.A. Witt generally has the ability to draw me in, no matter what she is writing about.

So - I started reading and as anticipated, I liked it. Saevius is a good MC, a bit jaded, street smart in his surroundings and honorable. And soon enough I started to like Drusus who obviously was the "other man" in the hopefully soon to come couple. And the built up for the
Dec 09, 2019 marked it as to-read
Shelves: freebie
FREE on Amazon today (12/9/2019)! ...more
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book for the story it told. It was unique I think to both M/M romance and general period story telling. I enjoy books set in ancient Rome-straight historical to erotic stories.

If a reader is looking for a book with lots of really hot sex scenes this book isn't going to ring that bell, but I am a reader far more interested in the story telling than hot sex (I like hot sex, but I want the hot sex to fit in the context of a good story).

This story also goes in an interesting
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly I wished I had chosen another book as my first read in 2017. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad book, actually it is quite good and I was definitely hooked.
Saevius is a slave and ex gladiator who is brought to Pompeii to serve his new master Calvus as a bodyguard.
But then he is sent to train with the gladiators again with the purpose to spy on his fellow gladiators who might be involved with his masters wife.
Between all chairs things get even worse when the master of the ludus
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
Good period detail, but too short

This book is by LA Witt writing under the pen name Ann Gallagher. I think this is an “alter ego” for writing M/M novels where no sex takes place.

Now about the book: I have mixed feelings about the book. The historic setting and detail in the life of a gladiator. This historical element attracted me to the book in the first place and the author uses a lot of period detail about gladiators etc, and there is a handy glossary at the end of the book, though I looked
Jun 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq
Book Reaction:
Rating: 4.5 Stars – perfection is only half a step away
Serena Yates
Nov 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It’s been a while since I read a good gladiator book, except ‘The Left Hand of Calvus’ is that and so much more. It’s intense, suspenseful, has more twists and turns than I was able to keep track of, and it’s full of intrigue, betrayal, and backstabbing. Set in Pompeii around 78 AD (about a year before its destruction), it is the tale of a former gladiator, Saevius, who thinks a powerful politician has hired him as a bodyguard, stopping him from attaining his freedom after years in the area. ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good God, this book. This book. I adore L.A. Witt for having written this book.

First off, this isn't an erotic romance, though the author does write erotic romances. This is historical fiction with light romantic elements and no sex. So set you expectations. If you're looking for bow-chicka bow wow, there isn't any. There's some kissing, but that's it.

What you get instead is a fantastic novel full of intrigue, action, and a darn fine fine tale.

The writing is gripping. I generally don't like
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, bought-it

Another good L A Witt book. A great start to the Warriors of Rome series. A very interesting, enjoyable read from start to end.

Full review at On Top Down Under Book Reviews
4.4 stars. What a wonderful, enjoyable story! In a departure from the style or topics of her previous books LA Witt takes on historical Pompeii, gladiator style. Although there is romance, this book is much better classified as general (gay?) fiction.

Saevius is a veteran gladiator who has known nothing but slavery. A few fights from obtaining freedom, he is sold to a politician in another city as a bodyguard. Unfortunately, when he gets there, he finds that his true purpose is not to serve as a
G.B. Gordon
Whoa. Brilliant.

Read a few reviews and am floored by how many reviewers don't consider this a 'true' romance. It's a quiet book, for sure, and it takes a while to build up steam (though the second half has very good pace and tension IMO), but if this isn't romance, then the romance genre has strayed from the original sense of the word beyond any recognition. For me this is a romance in the most classical sense of the word.
L.A. Witt
Re-release. Previously under my other pseudonym, L.A. Witt.
This book was provided for free by the author and Love Bytes in exchange for an honest review.

This review was first posted to Love Bytes: LGBTQ Book Reviews. It has been slightly edited here for content.

There’s a really, really good twist in this story. It’s proving to be challenging to write a good review about it without spoiling it, but I just had to start the review by saying that the plot twist really blew me away! Days after finishing the book, I found myself wanting to re-read it and look
3 1/2 Dominus Saevius is a gladiator just three fights away from freedom when he is sold as a bodyguard to Pompeian politician Junius Calvus Laurea. Saevius is not thrilled with this turn of events but is relieved he will no longer have to risk his life in the arena. Or so he thinks. He soon learns he was purchased under false pretenses when he is thrust into a far more dangerous situation.

Calvus thinks his wife is cheating on him with a gladiator and he won’t stand for it. He orders Saevius to
Nerine Dorman
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saevius is a veteran of the arena, but as a gladiator, he’s not master of his own fate. When he’s sold to a Pompeiian politician to work as a bodyguard, he’s cautiously optimistic about his future. But this good fortune doesn’t last, as he soon finds out that Calvus is playing a dangerous game, which might have fatal consequences for Saevius. Caught up in the sticky web of intrigue, Saevius is tasked to discover with which gladiator Calvus’s wife is having an affair.

Saevius now finds himself
Vanessa theJeepDiva
The Left Hand of Calvus is a wonderful masterpiece by L.A. Witt and the first book in the Warriors of Rome collection. I was intrigued and held captive from the first page. The story takes place in ancient Rome when Saevius, a gladiator, is exploited by his current master, Laurea Calvus to spy on his wife, the Lady Verina. Laurea believes that she is having an affair with someone under the house of Drusus, a powerful lanista, and Laurea want his name.

As a fan of L.A. Witt and mystery and
This was surprisingly fun, and if all the rest of the books in the Warriors of Rome collection are as good, I will be pleased. Our hero Saevius is basically a spy-gladiator in Pompeii. How does that work? Well, he is bought by a man named Calvus and told to go undercover at the gladiator school of this famous trainer Drusus, because Calvus thinks one of Drusus' gladiators is sleeping with his wife. Because that would be far too simple as-is, Saevius ends up befriending Drusus and becoming a ...more
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a bit strange. The story felt kind of convoluted to me, and the big surprising revelation? Very obvious from the hints (from the ever-present breast plate to the piercing blue eyes as a family trait...).

I also felt a bit strange about the whole who is into whom and is that really what you want?
I didn't really understand the attraction - and that had nothing to do with the "revelation".

Also it felt a bit as if gladiators were more working as whores than anything else. And according to
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read this year and definitely one of my favorite historical novels in general. I'm already tempted to re-read it. The book is very well written, and as someone who enjoys historical novels, I can see the author did a lot of research to realistically portray the period. The main character is relatable, and I was sucked into his world from the beginning. Trapped in an impossible situation, Saevius needs to maneuver the intrigues he's forced to participate in. The plot is ...more
Well written. Good period. Enjoyed.
Took off a star because of a plot twist I didn't believe in (and that wasn't satisfying to me personally: your mileage may vary).
Bloody brilliant! Loved every single moment of it. *happy sigh*
Elisa Rolle
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
2013 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention (5* from at least 1 judge)
Mari  Cardenas
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75 Stars

I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into when I requested this book, but I thought the premise was intriguing and different and the book was both of those things, as well.

Saevius was a gladiator, until he was sold to a prominent politician in Pompeii to be his new bodyguard, but his new owner has other ideas. Calvus is determined to discover who is his wife's lover and for that, he wants Saevius to pose again as a gladiator under Drusus' command.

Saevius has to obey his master, but
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I give this six stars? 8 stars? 10 stars?

I enjoyed this more than I can say. I had no trouble following along with the Latin words, and although I'm not fond of present tense, this worked well. The characters were amazing, and I felt I knew even the most minor of them.

That twist, though... I really didn't expect it.

So take my advice. Get a copy of this book and read it!

May 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I do not read many historicals, but if I did ancient Roman Empire would attract me. The author creates the feel of living in Pompeii, and the world of the gladiator very well. I could taste the sand and sweat, feel every bruise, of which there were many. The story is quite involved, an intelligent device to draw the reader even further into this world of ancient history. Having said this, I found the world building and historical detail overwhelmed the story a little.

The novel revolves
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dark Space (Dark Space, #1)
  • Finding Zach (Finding Zach, #1)
  • Wrong Way Home - Criminal Delights: Taken
  • The Gladiator's Master
  • When All the World Sleeps
  • Shiver (Unbreakable Bonds, #1)
  • A Crown of Iron & Silver (Soulbound #3)
  • Torch (Unbreakable Bonds, #3)
  • Signs
  • All Souls Near & Nigh (Soulbound, #2)
  • Dark Horse (Dark Horse, #1)
  • The Violet and the Tom
  • Afterburn (After, #1)
  • Slide (Roads, #1)
  • Enemies of the State (The Executive Office #1)
  • Life According to Liam
  • Blind Space
  • The Hitman's Guide to Making Friends and Finding Love (The Hitman's Guide, #1)
See similar books…
L.A. Witt and her husband have been exiled from Spain and sent to live in Maine because rhymes are fun. She now divides her time between writing, assuring people she is aware that Maine is cold, wondering where to put her next tattoo, and trying to reason with a surly Maine coon. Rumor has it her arch nemesis, Lauren Gallagher, is also somewhere in the wilds of New England, which is why L.A. is ...more

Other books in the series

Warriors of Rome (4 books)
  • He Is Worthy (Warriors of Rome, #2)
  • The City War (Warriors of Rome, #3)
  • Mark of the Gladiator (Warriors of Rome, #4)