The title (and the racy covers on some editions) might lead you to expect a little more swashbuckling than is actually present in this book. This is mainly a corporate finance thriller, with a few hard-sf elements mixed in. Apropos of the current economy, suburbia has been laid waste by a housing bubble, but then real estate world is turned on its head by… bubble houses. With some very grim consequences for society. Overall, though the book comes off as very dated. There’s lots of rapid-fire 50′s repartee and raging, obnoxious sexism and racism. Pretty much all the characters are thoroughly unlikeable.
I was really sweating as I got down to the last few pages, as no gladiatorial combat had ensued, and I was feeling very cheated. (It brought to mind the crushing letdown at the end of Make Room Make Room in which, it turns out, Soylent Green is made of… soy and lentils. But, then, rapidly and incongruously the title character and his band of misfits get dumped into the Roman-circus-like games.
Really, though, our “gladiator-at-law” doesn’t do much in the ring except pass around bribes, so, it was a bit sad.
I have half a notion to write my own “Gladiator-at-Law” novel that fulfills my expectations from the title, followed, of course, by “Gladiator-in-Chief”, in which our hero is elected president, and “Gladiator-in-Law,” a lighter tome to finish out the trilogy, in which the hero gets married—with sexy and/or hilarious results.