Amnesiac gladiator prophesied to bring balance in vengeance-torn world

A pulse-racing, gritty action fantasy perfect for fans of The Stormlight Archive

GOLD CANYON, AZ – The fate of the world rests on the shoulders of an enslaved gladiator who must unlock the secrets of his own memory and survive as the prince’s spy in this character-driven epic fantasy drama by debut author, Tim Facciola. A Vengeful Realm: The Scales of Balance (Oct 24, 2023, First Torch Books) thrusts readers into the dark and fast-paced world of vengeful royals and a bloody plot to overthrow a kingdom beset with rebellion at any cost. Perfect for Gladiator fans and right on time for Gladiator 2 out in 2024!

After spending ten years perfecting his epic fantasy, Tim Facciola debuts with an action-packed story of blood, espionage, prophesied destiny, and the journey to freedom captivating readers as Zephryus contends with his amnesia, his captors, and works to forge balance between the world of gods and humans.

In a world where shedding blood brings peace, Zephryus, an enslaved gladiator, must do what is necessary to restore the balance between the gods and the kingdom. With only his fractured memory and the weight of his prophecy, Zephyrus joins forces with Prince Laeden to infiltrate the kingdom’s enslaved gladiator network and spy on Queen Danella before her plans to take over the throne come to fruition. But freedom comes at a cost and as Zephryus’s involvement grows, so does the twisted fate of their empire.

With nods to the Roman Empire’s Hellenistic culture set during Europe’s middle ages, fans of Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, and Django Wexler will be enthralled by this dark and tenacious story of freedom, revelation, and hope. 

“A Vengeful Realm: 

Book One: The Scales of Balance”

Tim Facciola | October 24, 2023 | First Torch Books | Fantasy

Hardcover | 979-8986285535 | $24.99

Paperback | 979-8986285528 | $14.99

TIM FACCIOLA: When Tim isn’t writing epic fantasy, he can often be found in his garage-gym or in the mountains where he lives. A virtual fitness professional by trade, he integrates his creative passions into movement, training with maces, clubs, staves, and swords to unlock his inner gladiator. To inquire about Gladiator Training, reach out to him at

More than writing, reading, gaming, playing music, hiking, and paddle-boarding, Tim loves story. If he’s not working on his own story, he’s helping others develop theirs as an author coach. To inquire about Author Coaching services, visit

Living in Arizona with his wife, Colleen, Tim continues writing epic fantasy novels while exploring different storytelling mediums so he can inspire others to hope. To live. And to believe. Find out more about him on his website.

Follow Tim Facciola on social media:

Twitter: @timfacciola | Instagram: @timfacciola_theauthor | TikTok: @timfacciola

Advanced praise for A Vengeful Realm


“A sprawling cast of vivid characters and a meticulously crafted realm, with exposition and world-building unraveling seamlessly alongside the plot…an original work of fantasy that doesn’t trod familiar ground”

-Self-Publishing Review

“Arena-set action sequences shine … but even more impressive is the constant political maneuvering, as characters mingle with enemies while plotting against them. There is, of course, plenty of mystery, and Facciola amps up excitement with signs of magic, appearances from gods, and betrayals.”

-Kirkus Review

“It is difficult to overstate the storytelling prowess of author Tim Facciola.”

-Independent Book Review

“Tim Facciola’s A VENGEFUL REALM (THE SCALES OF BALANCE, Book 1) is a strong debut fantasy action-thriller.”


In an interview, Tim Facciola can discuss:

  • His familial estrangement and reconnection and how it encouraged him to use his characters to explore human connection
  • His fitness background in training with maces, swords, etc. and how that played into his writing
  • How he incorporates modern themes of human rights, systemic racism, classism, and nationalism 
  • The research and use of Hellenistic culture blended with the Middle Ages
  • Why he uses fantasy to reinforce the idea that we are stronger and better together, rather than divided 
  • The ten-year process to create deep world building and character development through his novel that’s easy to read
  • How his wife’s difficulty connecting with female characters and stories inspired his approach to formulating strong and independent women without sacrificing their femininity
  • The importance of writing non-toxic romantic and platonic relationships in fantasy
  • Why he wrote the full trilogy before releasing the first book
  • How doubt plays a role in healthy faith journeys and how his own impacted his characters’ worldviews

An Interview with

Tim Facciola

1. Your fantasy story is based on some of the Hellenistic culture blended with the middle ages. How did the research go into that and what were some of the ways you incorporated it into your book?

I was very fortunate to partner with a freelance editor (Chersti Nieveen of Writer Therapy) who has extensive knowledge in the history and culture of ancient Rome. She was instrumental in bringing the historical context of Hellenistic culture to the manuscript while balancing the fantastical elements that made New Rheynia feel real. Of course I had my own, much less academic approach to research by watching movies like Spartacus (1960) and the Starz TV Series by the same name (2010). I wouldn’t call it research, but playing the original God of War video game series (2005-2010) prompted me to explore Greco-Roman mythologies which was a gateway into other mythological research that helped formulate the Valencian pantheon.  

2. You’ve used many modern social issues like human rights, systemic racism, classism, and nationalism. Why was it important to include these into your epic fantasy story?

I believe we were created to be creative and with that purpose comes power. And with that power comes responsibility. Art has a way of bypassing people’s heads and actually connecting with that thing that beats in their chest, so to have access to this medium and not use it to try to encourage others to ask questions—to me, that’s creative-negligence. My goal including these issues in my story is never to preach, but rather to ask people to think critically, to ask questions, and to take introspective inventory. We are all human, and these issues face humanity. After all, what are stories if not opportunities to teach us more about ourselves? 

3. I heard that you used your fitness training background to help write the action scenes. What went into that process?

So I’ve always been fascinated with swordplay, martial arts, and human movement. As a personal trainer, I always sought to push the boundaries of the typical modalities of training and athletic performance. What began with calisthenics became Mike Fitch’s Animal Flow and GMB’s mindful movement and athletic autonomy. From there I got into training with the steel mace, clubbells, staves, and swords. The more I played around with those implements, the more I wanted to write; and the more I wrote, the more I wanted to dance around with these different tools. Inevitably, learning took place, and I believe it injected life into my combat scenes and playful exuberance into my exercise practices.  

4. How did you use your characters to explore human connection and what was the inspiration behind it?

Long, long ago when I was just jotting ideas down in between personal training sessions, this story only had one point of view character (and it was actually meant to be Fenyx’s story!). I soon realized that one perspective only allowed the reader to experience the world in one way, which is how many of us live our lives. It can be difficult to put ourselves in others’ shoes (or sandals in this case) amidst our own chaotic lives, but only through that empathy can we actually start experiencing the world. So one POV character quickly became seven, and my goal was to show the world from the perspective of different faiths, social-standings, socio-economic backgrounds, cultures, etc. but it also allowed me to play with interpersonal relationships. The father-son, brother-brother, father-daughter, mother-son, mother-daughter, friend to friend, brother-sister, sister-sister—the list goes on, but this series and these characters allowed me to flex that creative-responsibility to explore for myself and encourage others to try to see things from the other’s perspective. Who knows, perhaps we’re all just a little misunderstood and a little grace would go a long way to reconciliation and progress.

5. What’s next for Zephryus and the rest of your characters?

Well, this is a complex question, because for me, for the series, Zephyrus, Vykinallia, Threyna, Fenyx, Laeden, Iylea, and Danella have all had their stories wrapped up with a bow. So if you’re asking for book 2… if you were hoping Zephyrus’s ride would be smoother now that he knows who he is, guess again. Still learning who he is and what he’s supposed to be, he also must contend with who he was and the regrets that spawned from his past choices. Except now, he’s got two armies and a traitorous God coming for him. If you’re asking what’s next now that the trilogy is finished (coming out soon!), I will say this much… I left a few unresolved stitches that COULD be reopened (and yes I use that phrasing intentionally) to make way for a second installment in the aftermath of AVR. But first, I already have projects in the works like Threyna’s origin story, and a story that takes place 400 years earlier that sets the table for the struggles in the divine realm as seen in the first trilogy. Beyond that, one day I may come back to this world and explore it with some of these characters as a sequel trilogy. But endings are important to me; I take too much pride in the world, these characters, and the current ending to reopen it if I can’t wrap it up and deliver an equally cathartic conclusion. 

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