Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Book Tour: "The Gladiator and the Guard" by Annie Douglass LIma

I'm excited to announce that Annie Douglass Lima's young adult action and adventure novel, The Gladiator and the Guard, is now available for purchase! This is the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, sequel to The Collar and the Cavvarach

First Things First: a Little Information about Book 1: 

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire's most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie's escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time.  With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

What is the Collar for, and What is a Cavvarach?

The story is set in a world very much like our own, with just a few major differences.  One is that slavery is legal there.  Slaves must wear metal collars that lock around their neck, making their enslaved status obvious to everyone.  Any slave attempting to escape faces the dilemma of how and where to illegally get their collar removed (a crime punishable by enslavement for the remover).  

Another difference is the popularity of a martial art called cavvara shil.  It is fought with a cavvarach (rhymes with "have a rack"), a weapon similar to a sword but with a steel hook protruding from partway down its top edge.  Competitors can strike at each other with their feet as well as with the blades.  You win in one of two ways: disarming your opponent (hooking or knocking their cavvarach out of their hands) or pinning their shoulders to the mat for five seconds.

And now, The Gladiator and the Guard, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!

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?

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.

Connect with the Author Online:


Four years have passed since Bensin bought Ellie’s freedom by winning the cavvarach tournament. Coach Stein adopted Ellie and promises Bensin freedom – as soon as Bensin can win the tournament again. But before the championship match can even begin, Bensin is attacked and then accused of attempted murder, since slaves face the death penalty for injuring a free person, even, apparently, in self-defense. His death sentence is given in the form of execution in a gladiatorial arena. Will Bensin be able to find a way out in time?

Wow. The Gladiator and the Guard was pretty awesome. I don’t remember being this impressed with the previous book, The Collar and the Cavvarach, or any other book in the last several months. It was that good. Not just because of the world-building, the character development, or the descriptive battle scenes. No, it was all of that in addition to the moral and psychological depth of the story. All those things add up to a truly great novel.

The story took place in an alternate present; that is, this setting represents the way America would be if the North hadn’t won the American Civil War and, instead, slavery still existed and the United States was broken up into several warring factions. The technology is relatively the same as it is in the real-world present. It’s a little strange to wrap one’s mind around but it works really well for the story. Which brings me to the specific setting, which mostly takes place in a gladiatorial arena much like the Roman arenas where gladiators fight even to the death. Yikes!

The next part worth mentioning are the battle scenes. The author seems to have put a lot of work into creating a unique form of martial arts and describing how it works in battle. I’m not a martial artist, but I could visualize the fight scenes relatively well especially considering no one has ever actually fought that way.

Now, we get to the part that made me give this book a five star rating. It was a combination of the character development and the moral dilemmas and decisions made by them. Bensin struggled with bitterness and hate as a result of his own and others’ actions. But what got me was how he responded. Bensin chose not to hate because it made him no different than anyone else, give in to the system that wanted him to be that way, and, even, less than human. Instead of responding to violence with violence, he responded with kindness. And he did that without some religious epiphany, either. It struck me as inspiring and awesome.

I highly recommend The Gladiator and the Guard by Annie Douglass Lima to fans of speculative fiction (and Karate Kid).

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of The Collar and the Cavvarach!

Or find the giveaway at this link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ad2fd99a3/?


  1. Thanks so much for featuring The Gladiator and the Guard, and for the great review! I hope your readers enjoy hearing about the book.