Circus Maximus: Rider of the Storm

Circus Maximus: Rider of the Storm

By Author / Illustrator

Annelise Gray


Historical Fiction

Age range(s)



Head of Zeus








Dido gallops headlong into her third adventure, following her escapades in the riveting and action-packed Race to the Death and Rivals on the Track.

Dido is reconciled to leaving the racing track and staying at home to train horses with Scorpus and Parmenion. But a storm is brewing. It brings with it a fiery black stallion, uncannily like Dido's beloved Porcellus.  Word arrives from Rome that her cousin, Abibaal, a talented young charioteer, has been recruited to compete for the evil emperor, Caligula. To save Abibaal, Dido must return to the great Circus Maximus track where she once drove to glory herself, confront her enemy Caligula, and face the toughest, most dangerous race of her life.

'Rich in period detail, with a few real historical characters - its principal invention the idea that a woman might have been a charioteer - this is an involving, well characterised tale that feels original' Sunday Times, Children's Book of the Week, on Race to the Death



Dido is back in her third adventure set in Roman times. As with the previous two books, she is training and racing horses for the chariot races. Still at her uncle's house, she meets a man from her mother's past and learns more about her parents. When her cousin Abibaal is in deadly danger, Dido is forced to return to Rome and confront all her worst fears, whilst at the same time grab a chance at racing at the Circus Maximus once more.  When in Rome, Dido is faced with her old and deadly enemy, the emperor Caligula himself, and this is a race she cannot lose.

Circus Maximus: Rider of the Storm takes all the action and excitement of the previous books and ramps it up still further. This is the best story so far, literally edge-of-your-seat races and situations. I am not a huge horse fan, yet I was so interested in the horses and what was going to happen to them - they felt like characters in their own right. I do, however, love historical fiction, and these books bring history to life. Caligula is particularly chilling in this story, no linger the shadowy figure but brought right into the centre of the action.

This series is aimed at upper Key Stage 2 and it is quite sophisticated storytelling, with lots of unfamiliar names and some quite gory details, though never too explicit. Featuring interesting relationships as well as a crazed dictator, this is breath-taking adventure that I literally could not put down.

384 pages / Reviewed by Jacqueline Harris, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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