Entertainment

Book review: Female gladiators featured in award-winning author's book

Posted March 15

"THE VALIANT," by Lesley Livingston, Penguin Random House, $17.99, 371 pages (f) (ages 12 and up)

Fallon, a girl in the Cantii tribe of Prydian, is a day away from turning 17, and it seems as if the world is at her fingertips in Lesley Livingston's new book "The Valiant."

Fallon is the daughter of a Celtic king. Her lifelong best friend just confessed his love for her, and she feels the same about him. Most of all, her dream of finally joining her father's royal war band and becoming the recognized warrior she knows she should be is minutes away from reality.

That night, her plans go awry when she is captured and sold as a slave to be part of Julius Caesar's illustrious school for female gladiators. There, she soon learns she must either fight to win and earn her freedom or die trying.

Livingston writes of potentially real-life situations that could have happened in the time of the Roman reign of Caesar. Not only will readers learn fascinating details about the little-known female gladiators who played a part in Roman history, but they will also experience those moments through the firsthand experience of a lively fictional character.

Readers will likely enjoy the way Livingston brings Fallon to life, with entrancing descriptions of sword fights and many life-threatening scenarios.

Fallon must learn to fight for Caesar, the man who caused the partial destruction of her tribe and the loss of her sister, and she struggles to find her way as a slave when she has known life only as a princess. She quickly learns the need to choose social circles wisely, the struggle to make friends and the necessity to figure out who the enemy is, which is a constant theme throughout the book and often makes the difference in who will come out on top in the arena.

"The Valiant" contains mild swearing but no sexual content. There are many scenes of described violence that sometimes end in death.

Email: toriackerman@gmail.com

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