The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved sister was killed in battle.
On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in Sorcha’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a group of ruthless brigands that sells her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.
Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and to claim her place in history among the Valiant.
On the night of her 17th birthday, Fallon, a Celtic warrior princess, is betrayed by her father when he promises her to her true love's brother. Furious, Fallon flees, only to be captured by slave traders, taken to Rome, and sold to an elite training school (called a ludus) for female gladiators. Fallon learns that the school is owned by none other than Julius Caesar, the tyrant who killed her sister and tore her family apart. Facing immense danger as a combatant, Fallon quickly realizes that the ruthless politics of Rome are just as deadly. A engaging romance develops between Fallon and a young Roman soldier, but this relationship is secondary to that between Fallon and her sister: "Strong and sharp and dangerous as the sword she carried on her hip, Sorcha was my goddess even more than the Morrigan we both worshipped." Livingston (the Wondrous Strange trilogy) skillfully illustrates Fallon's emotional growth as she becomes a fearsome gladiatrix, her ties to the sisterhood within the ludus overshadowing her ties to the men that betrayed her. Ages 12 up.