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Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk Attia is the last of her warrior people after the Romans conquered her land. Now she's a slave, given to Xanthus, a champion gladiator, as a reward for his victories in the arena. Attia has vowed to fight the Romans until she gains her freedom or dies trying, but she doesn't count on Xanthus, a fellow slave, treating her with such care and gentleness. As the two form a relationship that goes beyond their shared bonds, Attia finds herself fighting for Xanthus as much as herself. This book will appeal to fans of strong, fierce female characters, and though there's no magic, fantasy fans will have much to love in the world of the ancient Romans.

Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk ($17.99*, Tor Teen), recommended by Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC.