WOLF'S EMPIRE: GLADIATOR imagines a distant future where the
Roman Empire never fell. Women are still second-class
citizens, military skills are prized, and slavery is
thriving. In that world, 19-year-old Accala Viridius Camilla
is driven by a desire to avenge the loss of her mother and
brother in a war between ruling houses.
Authors Claudia Christian and Morgan Grant Buchanan have
created a rich universe led by eight ruling houses and
populated by billions of humans and aliens. Occasional
quotes or references suggest some universal constants. We
realize, for example, William Shakespeare still lived and
wrote in this world. Reality television still exists, but
it's a harsh gladiatorial version where viewers decide a
player's life or death. In other ways, the Empire never
progressed. Accala, like other women of her class, are
expected to marry and produce children. A career of any
kind, much less in the gladiatorial arena, is discouraged.
As you might imagine from the subtitle, gladiatorial games
are front and center throughout the novel. Accala and others
are fighting for their lives. The battles, even the
training sessions, are vicious, intense, and bloody. Even
as the teams fight for supremacy in a kind of
winner-take-the-empire Olympics, they face an outside
threat from an alien race that refuses to be subjugated.
In some ways, the story seems familiar, even formulaic. A
highborn gladiatorial champion is reduced to slavery, goes
through training with a new team, and faces certain death in
a battle that will decide the future of the Empire. It's the
hero's journey, a story as old as Roman mythology. If you're
a fan of science fiction movies and literature, you'll
recognize the stages of the story, and in a way, I found
that disappointing. On the other hand, the imperial setting,
the use of Roman history and culture, and the unique alien
influences make it a fascinating story, and if anyone ever
combines action videos with novels, this would be a prime
first selection. The gladiatorial sequences would be amazing
Fans of TV's "Babylon 5" will recognize author Claudia
Christian's name. She played Susan Ivanova for four seasons
of the popular series. Buchanan previous worked with
Christian on her memoir, "Babylon Confidential."
I highly recommend WOLF'S EMPIRE: GLADIATOR for readers who
enjoy alternate timeline novels, historically-inspired
science fiction, and stories centered around a strong female
In the Galactic Roman Empire, eight noble houses fight for
power. One gladiator fights for justice. This is Wolf's
Empire: Gladiator, by Claudia Christian and Morgan Grant
When her mother and brother are murdered,
young noblewoman Accala Viridius cries out for vengeance.
But the empire is being torn apart by a galactic civil war,
and her demands fall on deaf ears. Undeterred, Accala
sacrifices privilege and status to train as a common
gladiator. Mastering the one weapon available to her―a
razor-sharp discus that always returns when thrown--she
enters the deadly imperial games, the only arena where she
can face her enemies.
But Fortune's wheel grants
Accala no favors―the emperor decrees that the games
used to settle the civil war, the indigenous lifeforms of
the arena-world are staging a violent revolt, and Accala
finds herself drugged, cast into slavery and forced to fight
on the side of the men she set out to kill.
Set in a
future Rome that never fell, but instead expanded to become
a galaxy-spanning empire, Accala's struggle to survive and
exact her revenge will take her on a dark journey that will
cost her more than she ever imagined.