Do you like TV shows about gladiators? Because The CW is sure hoping you do, as the network is developing an hour-long drama series based on Lesley Livingston’s YA gladiator novel, The Valiant.
Should it get picked up, the series will follow the adventures of Fallon, a Celtic princess who's reared for war, but ends up getting captured when Julius Caesar’s armies invade her home island of Britain. “A band of ruthless brigands,” according to Livingston’s site, sell her to an all-female gladiator training school, and she ends up fighting in the Colosseum in front of Rome's finest citizens, including creepy Caesar himself.
Here’s the full synopsis:
“The youngest daughter of a proud Celtic king, Fallon has always lived in the shadow of her older sister Sorcha’s legendary reputation as a warrior. But when Fallon was a young child, the armies of Julius Caesar invaded the island of Britain and her beloved older sister was killed in battle.
“On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is excited to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her rightful place in her father’s royal war band. But she never gets the chance. Instead, Fallon is captured by a band of ruthless brigands who sell her to an exclusive training school for female gladiators—and its most influential patron is none other than Julius Caesar himself. In a cruel twist of fate, Fallon’s worst enemy, the man who destroyed her family, might be her only hope of survival.
“Now, Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries, chilling threats and the dangerous attention of Caesar himself to survive the deadly fights that take place both in and out of the arena—and claim her place in history among the Valiant.”
Action? Check! Drama? Check! Romance? Check! Strong female characters? Totally! Historically accurate? We shall see.
Not that it really matters for the sake of storytelling, but there is historical precedence for female gladiators fighting during the Roman Empire. Although how frequently those fights occurred is up for debate.
Regardless, depending on the cast (any thoughts for Fallon?), this looks like a winner. Especially since Wendy Darling’s book review mentions Fallon’s “sisterhood of girl gladiators” who “flip power dynamics in thrilling ways.” Does that kind of bring up images of Antiope’s Amazonian army in Wonder Woman? Am I getting too far ahead of myself?