Zephyr, Head of Zeus' children's imprint, will publish two middle-grade children's books set in Ancient Rome from Annelise Gray.
Publisher Fiona Kennedy pre-empted world rights (excluding US and Canada) from Nancy Miles of the Miles Stott Literary Agency. The first book in the series, Circus Maximus: Race to the Death, will be published on 4th March 2021.
Circus Maximus is an adventure that follows 12-year-old Dido, who dreams about becoming the first female charioteer to race in the Circus, the greatest sporting stadium in the ancient world.
Kennedy said: "Annelise’s novel was pitched by Nancy as ‘Ben Hur' meets 'National Velvet’ and I was a captive audience, sold in the time it took to read page one, which is the true test of a great story. It has everything any horse-mad, history, adventure and mystery loving reader could wish for. It even has a horse called Zephyr! We are thrilled to welcome Annelise and to launch her debut children’s book."
Gray commented: "I read every adventure story about horses that I could find in my school library when I was a child and it’s a dream come true to know that I’m going to see my own in print. Dido is in wonderfully safe hands with Fiona Kennedy and all the team at Zephyr and I am so excited and honoured to be working with them."
Gray has previously published novels for adults under the name Annelise Freisenbruch, including The First Ladies of Rome (Jonathan Cape, 2010) and Rivals of the Republic: A Blood of Rome Novel (Duckworth, 2016).