Book 1 is set in Roman times. Emperor Porcus Maximus is coming for dinner and so Ditherus and his faithful slave Punio are sent (by Ditherus's mother) to market for supplies. But Ditherus is tempted into buying a sword from a mysterious peddler. Searched by centurion Marcus Furius when he gets home, Ditherus is thrown into prison when the sword is discovered and sentenced to death as a traitorous thief (with Punio). At the last minute Gutsus the gladiator arrives, looking to buy new recruits. Ditherus and Punio are taken to Gladiator School where the motto is 'Death or Glory - but most likely Death'. If ever Ditherus needed a cunning plan, it's now...
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About the Author
After studying English and Drama, Alan started working life in a travelling theatre company, visiting schools all over the country and writing much of their material. He says it was a useful apprenticeship - if the audience didn't like the play, they talked through it or threw bits of paper at the actors. He very quickly learned what children liked.
In addition to writing and directing plays, Alan trained as a drama teacher. He has written stories and dramas for the BBC (both television and radio), as well as many children's books including the wonderful TROLLS series for Bloomsbury.
Alan MacDonald has written over 150 books, including the Devil's Trade and Axel Feinstein series for Scholastic, along with titles in the Dead Famous, Pickle Hill Primary and Double Take series. He is also a regular writer for the Oxford Reading Tree and has had picture books published by Little Tiger Press.
Alan MacDonald started his working life in a travelling theatre company. In addition to writing and directing plays, Alan trained as a drama teacher. He has written stories and dramas for the BBC (both television and radio), as well as many children's books. Alan lives in Nottingham.
Mark Beech completed an art foundation course and a degree in textile design, working subsequently as a fabric designer then as a milliner. Mark has since returned to his roots to become a successful illustrator. Mark lives in London.