The series is set in an alternate world that is 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. 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.
First, a Little Information about Books 1 and 2: Book 1: The Collar and the Cavvarach
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?
Click here to read chapter 1 of The Collar and the Cavvarach.
Click here to read about life in the Krillonian Empire, where the series is set.
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?
Click here to read about life in the arena where Bensin and other gladiators are forced to live and train.
And now, The Student and the Slave, with another awesome cover by the talented Jack Lin!
Book 3: The Student and the Slave
Is this what freedom is supposed to be like? Desperate to provide for himself and his sister Ellie, Bensin searches fruitlessly for work like all the other former slaves in Tarnestra. He needs the money for an even more important purpose, though: to rescue Coach Steene, who sacrificed himself for Bensin’s freedom. When members of two rival street gangs express interest in Bensin’s martial arts skills, he realizes he may have a chance to save his father figure after all … at a cost.
Meanwhile, Steene struggles with his new life of slavery in far-away Neliria. Raymond, his young owner, seizes any opportunity to make his life miserable. But while Steene longs to escape and rejoin Bensin and Ellie, he starts to realize that Raymond needs him too. His choices will affect not only his own future, but that of everyone he cares about. Can he make the right ones … and live with the consequences?
In this excerpt, Steene realizes that the arrangements he has secretly been trying to make for his escape may come to nothing after all.
“Guess what? I’ve got two pieces of good news,” said Raymond when Steene joined him in the dining room for lunch the next day. “Those clothes I ordered for you arrived this morning, and it’s just in time, ’cause now you’ll be able to bring them with you to Jarreon and look all professional. We’re leaving tomorrow!”
“Tomorrow?” Steene froze with the tray in his hands. “But I thought your dad’s trip wasn’t until the eleventh.”
“He decided to leave early.” Raymond was practically bouncing in his seat with excitement. “He’s going to take me sightseeing before his work starts, and we’re going to do all kinds of fun stuff. I can hardly wait. This was exactly the sort of thing I was hoping would happen when I quit going to regular school.”
Steene set the tray down and handed Raymond a bowl of stew, his mind spinning. Tomorrow. But he hadn’t heard back from Ellie yet. He’d assumed they still had several more days. How will I find out the details about the escape plan? “I should probably wait here for now and fly to Jarreon closer to the start of the tournament.”
“What? No way!” Raymond looked horrified. “You’re my coach. I can’t get ready for a tournament without your help!
Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!
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 fifteen books (three YA action and
adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, six anthologies of her
students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Besides
writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction),
scrapbooking, and international travel.
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