Marcus Antonius Palla and Servius Ulpius Murena. After I finished this volume I sincerely had to think of the last time I read about two characters I've hated more. Cowards with power. The wield it like children and woe to you if you're in their line of fire. Pavo and Macro are only not in their line of fire, but they have their chest painted with a big fat "kick me" sign.
This short story finds Macro as the new lanista and Pavo as the new 'first sword'. Of course neither of them wish to be there in there respective positions, but how they feel or what they want means little (very little) when it comes to the Emperor getting what HE wants. Imagine our sweet little Macro in charge of whipping gladiators into shape. Now imagine these same gladiators having to play second fiddle to poor-little-rich-boy Pavo.
Fireworks have seen less gunpowder.
What I like about Simon Scarrow's writing is that his stories are very entertaining and you can trust that each book, or installment in this case, will be the same way. It is violent in a way that isn't gratuitous but still in your face. He has drama that is almost concrete because of the way it makes you feel, but not that cheesy two-minute drama that we ALL hate.
The only thing missing is the women... with as much crap as these two have to put up with I wish there was a way I could give them coin. You know... a donation to the Macro and Pavo Foundation for the Needy. Ah hell, get this volume and then impatiently wait for the final two installments. If you've been following this series you'll notice that the release dates have been changed. 'Arena:Revenge' is now May 23rd and 'Arena: Champion' is now July 18th.
One last thing: do NOT read the synopsis they have posted for the not yet released eBooks in this series. If you're a follower they will contain spoilers.