They're willing to kneel in order to climb.
In the world of the Circled Plain, most of humanity lives within walled cities, protected from the monsters outside.
The cities’ walls are nested, circle within circle within circle, and the richest and most powerful live the deepest in the city.
They call the social and economic climb from the outer rings towards the inner the Ladder. The climb is hard, but there are always ways to jump rungs.
Chapters alternate between the two protagonists – Taslin, who has chosen to become a Gladiator to jump up the Ladder, and Valran, who has bent knee as a Servus for the same purpose. Follow their story, starting here.