Becoming a member of the LoveReading4Kids community is free.

No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.

New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...

Find out more

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death

Written by Annelise Gray

Write A Review

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death Review

Adventure Stories Debuts of the Month Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers Historical Fiction Stories about Animals

Breathtakingly exciting adventure story of a girl charioteer

March 2021 Debut of the Month

Set in ancient Rome, during the terrifying rule of Caligula in fact, Annelise Gray’s book is a mix of history, adventure and horses – a winning combination! Dido’s father trains riders and horses for the famous, and frequently deadly Circus Maximus chariot races. She dreams of being a charioteer too but that’s not allowed, and she’s stuck watching the boys compete.  When her father is murdered, Dido has to flee Rome, leaving behind her beautiful horse Porcellus. But Fate will bring the two of them together again, and sees Dido compete in the Circus after all.  The story of Dido, Porcellus and their fellow riders and horses makes for thrilling reading. Gray transports the reader to Rome in a hoofbeat, places, people and the dangerous times vividly brought to life. Caligula plays a part in the book, and he’s not the only real person to do so – watch out for Cassius Chaerea too – but Dido is the star, as she makes her way in Rome’s macho world, determined to set her own path and avenge her father.  A superb historical adventure story.


If Dido’s story sets readers looking for more classical adventures, as it undoubtedly will, point them to Caroline Lawrence’s Roman Mysteries, Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles and Philip Womack’s The Arrow of Apollo.

Andrea Reece

LoveReading4Kids Kids Zone

We've got some great stuff related to this book in our KidsZone.
Head over there and check it out now.

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death Synopsis

Twelve-year-old Dido dreams of becoming the first female charioteer at the great Circus Maximus. She's lost her heart to Porcellus, a wild, tempestuous horse she longs to train and race. But such ambitions are forbidden to girls and she must be content with helping her father Antonius - the trainer of Rome's most popular racing team, The Greens - and teaching the rules of racing to Justus, the handsome young nephew of the Greens' wealthy owner.

When her father is brutally murdered, she is forced to seek refuge with an unlikely ally. But what of her dream of Circus triumphs and being reunited with the beloved horse she left behind in Rome? And the threat to her life isn't over as she faces a powerful and terrifying new enemy... the emperor Caligula.

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death Press Reviews

'This thrilling debut is the first in a new historical series full of dazzling action, rich detail, fabulous horses and an unforgettable heroine' -- Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

If you loved this, you might like these...

Circus Maximus: Race to the Death
The Time-Travelling Cat and the Roman Eagle
The Time-Travelling Cat and the Tudor Treasure
The Soul Prophecy

All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781800240582
Publication date: 04/09/2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781800240575
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781800240575
Publication date: 4th March 2021
Author: Annelise Gray
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 368 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Historical Fiction, Animals
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month

About Annelise Gray

Debut children's author Annelise Gray was born in Bermuda and moved to the UK as a child. She grew up riding horses and dreaming of becoming a writer. Circus Maximus is partly inspired by her long-held dream of seeing a female jockey win the Grand National, an outcome which exists only in the pages of fiction. After gaining a PhD in Classics from Cambridge, she worked as a researcher for authors and TV companies. She's previously published a history of the women of the Roman Empire and a crime novel set in the Roman Republic. Annelise lives with her husband ...

More About Annelise Gray

More Books By Annelise Gray

Cover for Circus Maximus: Race to the Death by Annelise Gray
View All Books By Annelise Gray

Share this book