Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death by Annelise Gray

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death is a powerful story of strength, daring and truth. Set on the sporting stage of Ancient Rome, Dido dreams of becoming the first girl to race chariots in the grand stadium of the Circus Maximus where the best horses and charioteers compete. Having lost her mother at a young age, Dido is raised by her father in the stables. There she learns that she has a unique bond with the horses, that she is a Roman horse whisperer, with a natural talent for driving. She is a strong, determined girl who can hold her own against anyone.

Then, one day, everything changes and Dido is forced to flee the life she knows. Dangerous secrets, cheating and lies reveal a powerful past she never knew that makes all the difference to her future. As Dido strives to prove herself in the brutal world of chariot racing, she learns more than just how to win. She learns about love, loss, hope and what is truly important to her.

In this richly detailed story, readers are transported back in time to the life and culture of this fascinating era. From the colourful markets to the warm stables to the boisterous roar of the crowds in the stadium, we are there with Dido as she struggles to survive and, indeed, to thrive.  

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death delves into the rich and complex relationship between humans and horses.  Throughout history, this bond has remained constant. Stories such as The Black Stallion, War Horse and now Circus Maximus, celebrate this incredible bond and just how much we owe to these majestic creatures.

This book will be very welcome in Key Stage Two classrooms. Teachers have been looking for quality stories to accompany their Roman history topics. Circus Maximus: Race to the Death fills this gap perfectly.  

Children and adults alike will be carried away on this fast-paced, thrilling adventure. With breath-taking action and heart-stopping danger, they won’t be able to put it down.

Thank you to Annelise Gray, Zephyr Press and Fritha Lindqvist for this incredible book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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