I’m excited to announce the release of a young adult action and adventure book that I had the honor of beta reading this winter. I enjoyed thoroughly enjoyed the first book in the Krillonian Chronicles, The Collar and the Cavvarach, so when the opportunity arose to read book two, The Gladiator and the Guard, and be involved in the later stages of production, I jumped at the chance!
Book one told the story of Bensin, a teenage slave skilled in the martial art of cavvara shil. Don’t bother looking it up. I already did. It’s not a real sport. But like JK Rowling’s Quiddich, it could and should be! I actually thought it might be. Anyway, in book one Bensin lays everything on the line to try and save his little sister from a life of slavery and abuse. (The book is fantastic. Here’s my review.) Now, in book two, Bensin finds himself battling for his own life, enslaved as a gladiator within the hugely popular professional sports “league”.
Here’s the official blurb:
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
The world Bensin lives in is fictional, of course, but I love that it is set in modern times. It feels just like today, which makes you take a good hard look at slavery with the patina of history stripped away. And the system is brutal, akin to the gladiator games of the Roman Empire. The stark circumstances Bensin finds himself in, however, make him more determined to be true to himself. I was reminded of the scene from Hunger Games where Peeta tells Katniss, “If I’m going to die, I wanna still be me.” The arena may own Bensin’s body, but they cannot govern his soul. It’s a fantastic background on which to display the nobility of his character.
But mostly, I love the action of the games! Annie has a way of bringing them to life and making me wish I could watch them on the big screen. I confess, if I could insert myself into the book, I just might be one of the spectators who made the whole system of enslaved athletes possible because the battles between gladiators is that cool. At the same time, Annie manages to solicit a great deal of sympathy for Bensin and the other athletes. I’d highly recommend you pick this one up. Ages 12+
Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach! Here’s the link to the Rafflecopter giveaway.
Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd currently live in Taiwan, where she teaches fifth grade at Morrison Academy. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since her childhood, and to date has published twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel. Visit her at http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com, email her at AnnieDouglassLima@gmail.com.