The first book in this series 'The Storm Begins' was definitely one of my highlights of 2011 (when it was first released in hardback). I was expecting therefore something similar from 'Circus Maximus'. What I read though was even better. What an adventure story. It grips you from page one and doesn't let you go until you reach the final pages. What's more it leaves you wanting for more as a taster of the third book is introduced.
For any reader that maybe was not won over by the first book, I would thoroughly recommend revisiting the series with this second book. The time the author took in the first book to introduce each of the characters and set the scene was well worth it as you jump straight into the adventure. The characters grow throughout the second book and you can't help but warm to a personal favourite (or at times be frustrated by them) - including those that took more of a background role in the first book... step forward Rose!
The series works for several reasons, but a few of these means it stands apart from several of those books it sits alongside on the bookstore shelf. The vivid images that Damian Dibben creates in the writing takes the reader right into the heart of Circus Maximus - it comes alive. Having been to Mont St Michel I love the scenes set here. It would work especially well in schools as you learn as you read and it leaves you hungry to discover more about Ancient Rome.
I would thoroughly recommend to anyone, but especially those with children aged between 8-13. Well worth buying in advance of a long journey as they will be hooked.