New Release: The Student and the Slave by Annie Douglass Lima
Today, I’m featuring one of my favorite fantasy authors. Annie Douglass Lima spent most of her childhood in Kenya and later graduated from Biola University in Southern California. She and her husband Floyd now 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 ten books (one YA action and adventure novel, four fantasies, a puppet script, and four anthologies of her students’ poetry). Besides writing, her hobbies include reading (especially fantasy and science fiction), scrapbooking, and international travel. Her newest release, “The Student and the Slave” will touch your heart and bring a new understanding of what the human costs of slavery are.
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.
Book 2: The Gladiator and the GuardBensin, 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?
Click here to order The Student and the Slave from Amazon for $2.99 a discounted price of just 99 cents through November 31st!
Now, enter to win an Amazon gift card or a free digital copy of the first two books in the series!
In this excerpt from "The Student and the Slave," the newly-enslaved Steene meets the young athlete he has been given to as a birthday gift - and earns the anger of the man who paid for him.
At last Raymond reached the end of his stack of presents. “Thanks, everyone. These are awesome! Now, who wants to come on up to the home theater with me and play one of my new games before dinner?”
His guests clamored their approval of this idea. But Mr. Silvestran, who had been standing nearby, stepped over and stopped him with a hand on his shoulder. “Just a moment. You haven’t seen my present yet.” He glanced toward the door and jerked his chin in Steene’s direction.
Still feeling silly, Steene straightened his posture, trying to ignore the way his incision wound throbbed in response. He stepped through the doorway and marched grandly toward the group. Kids parted to let him through, appreciative “wow”s following him across the deck. Stopping a safe distance away from Raymond, Steene twirled the cavvarach dramatically, never mind that he must look stupid since no one ever did that in his martial art. But Mr. Silvestran had been explicit about that detail, too.
Raymond’s mouth fell open. “You’re kidding. Really? Really? A slave of my own?” Darting forward, he reached up to seize Steene’s collar and peer at the tag. “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it! Finally! Finally, I get my own slave! Thank you so much, Uncle Samuel!” He threw his arms around his godfather.
The Student and the Slave - A Gift
The man hugged him back, beaming like a proud uncle. “You’re welcome. And this isn’t just any slave, as you can see. He’s a cavvara shil coach, and quite a good one, too. Lots of his students have placed in important tournaments, and —” He paused for dramatic effect and to make sure he had his godson’s full attention. “And, one of his students won first place for his age group in the Grand Imperial Cavvara Shil Tourney in Jarreon a few years ago.”
Raymond’s eyes widened. “Are you serious? First place in the Grand Imperial?” He stared up at Steene, awe in his expression. Swallowing his annoyance at the way the boy had grabbed his collar, Steene smiled modestly back at him.
The kid who must be Toby said turned to his older brother. “Aren’t you going to give him an order? Make him do something!”
“Good idea.” Raymond grinned up at Steene again.“Hmm, what shall I tell you to do?”
Steene was irritated at the way they kept talking about him as though he were some inanimate object. “I’m your coach, kid. I’m going to be the one telling you what to do.”
There were gasps from the assembled guests, and an “Ooh!” went up. Raymond’s excited grin dissolved into a look of surprise and then anger, and his face turned red.
Steene had an uncomfortable feeling that might not have been the smartest thing to say. One glance at Mr. Silvestran confirmed it. From behind his godson’s back, the man glared at him with a cold fury that made Steene wonder just how far he would go to fulfill his earlier threat.
But the man was all apologetic smiles when Raymond turned to him as though for suggestions on how to deal with this problem. “He’s a green slave, unfortunately. He doesn’t mean to be disrespectful, but he still needs to learn the ropes. You’ll have to train him. He’s the best at what he does, though, so it’ll be worth it. You’ll see.”
I’m the one who will do the training. But Steene knew better than to say anything this time. He pressed his lips together and kept quiet as his young owner’s friends exclaimed over the new slave’s bad manners.
He chose not to look at Mr. Silvestran again, but out of the corner of his eye, he could still see the warning in the man’s gaze.
The Student and the Slave – Review by Peggy M. McAloonCoach Steene was willing to give up everything to smuggle his student - the renowned gladiator Bensin and his daughter, Ellie, to freedom. With the help of Bensin’s friend Ricky, the Red Arena doctor, and a guard, Bensin and Ellie were transported to freedom in the Tarnestran Province. The price Coach Steene paid was the loss of his freedom. He became the slave of a young boy who dreamed of becoming a winner like Bensin.
Excerpt:Steene realized it was his hope of seeing Bensin again that was fading. The more he got used to life in Neliria as Raymond’s coach, the more distant and unlikely freedom in Tarnestra seemed. As a green slave (a free man recently enslaved), Steene’s tendency was to forget his place as a slave in the Jeet family. Would the daily humiliation smoldering inside him be the catalyst for his demise? Life isn’t any easier for Benson. Now, a free man, it’s up to him to find a way to support his little sister, Ellie. In addition, the Powells have been wonderful, but camping in a tent in their backyard isn’t the future Benson dreamed of when Coach helped him escape. Benson’s life gets increasingly complicated as he tries to find gainful employment. The ever-present gangs (The Silverheads and the Corner Creepers) have plans for him in their battle for turf. What Bensin knows for sure is that Coach gave up far too much for him to become a prisoner of The Watch again. The book deals brilliantly with the themes of alienation, coming of age, courage, good versus evil, love, heroism, and reunion. Honestly, you will never look at the issue of slavery the same again. This is a perfect book for middle-grade students and up. The book is a good stand-alone, but I highly recommend you read all the books in the Krillonian Chronicles.
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