Lion's Legacy

By L. C. Rosen (Author)

Series Tennessee Russo


Pub Date 3/5/2024

ISBN 9781454948070

Format Paperback


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Seventeen-year-old Tennessee Russo’s life is imploding. His boyfriend has been cheating on him, and all his friends know about it. Worse, they expect him to just accept his ex’s new relationship and make nice. So when his father, a famous archaeologist and reality show celebrity whom he hasn’t seen in two years, shows up unexpectedly and offers to take him on an adventure, Tennessee only has a few choices:
1. Stay, mope, regret it forever.
2. Go, try to reconcile with Dad, become his sidekick again.
3. Go, but make it his adventure, and Dad will be the sidekick.

The object of his father’s latest quest, the Rings of the Sacred Band of Thebes, is too enticing to say no to. Finding artifacts related to the troop of ancient Greek soldiers, composed of 150 gay couples, means navigating ruins, deciphering ancient mysteries, and maybe meeting a cute boy.

But will his dad let Tennessee do the right thing with the rings if they find them? And what is the right thing? Who does queer history belong to?

Against the backdrop of a sunlit Greek landscape, author L. C. Rosen masterfully weaves together adventure, romance, and magic in a celebration of the power of claiming your queer legacy.
A New York Public Library Best Book of 2023

Booklist Editors' Choice 2023: Books for Youth 

“Flirtatious friendships and a fun summer romance, Indiana Jones-esque booby traps, and the logistics of filming reality TV mesh seamlessly with heavier discussions of rightful ownership of historical artifacts, erasure of queer history, and the power of an actual apology. Rosen emphasizes the importance between connecting the historical existence and contributions of queer people to the queer community in the present and includes many small tidbits of queer history throughout . . . . [A]ction-packed and illuminative.” —Booklist, starred review

“Lion’s Legacy by L.C. Rosen is a heart-pumping adventure filled with tributes to queer history and community as well as thoughtful discussions about the ethics of archeology. This series opener is reminiscent of an Indiana Jones caper, with its near-death escapes, almost impossible puzzles, and dangerous bad guys. Rosen elevates his version with deft discussions about straight-washing, and encourages LGBTQ+ people to ‘take back our history’ and ‘control the story.’ Rosen delivers a mesmerizing mix of adrenaline-inducing escapades and queer legacy.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review

“This action-packed adventure inspired by history and legend engages in a conflict-driven exploration of the ethics of archaeology. Tennessee grapples with tangled emotions about his relationship with his father, his longing for community, and what it means to be in love . . . . An entertaining, emotional rush tackling critical subjects.” —Kirkus Reviews

“[G]ripping series kickoff from Rosen (Lavender House) that’s both thrilling escapade and simmering romance . . . . Through Ten and Leo’s visits to a museum of queer history and culture, and the meticulous detail with which the author recounts underreported events in Grecian history, Rosen makes an insistent case for recognizing and teaching LGBTQ history and understanding legacy.” —Publishers Weekly

“L.C. Rosen’s Lion’s Legacy is an entertaining queer adventure reminiscent of classic movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Mummy. Firelit hidden chambers, puzzles with deadly stakes and a fun, casual romance hit all the essential blockbuster buttons in Lion’s Legacy! However, Rosen’s take on the genre actively interrogates the ethics of treasure hunting, posing questions about the ownership of history and the responsible way to handle historical artifacts . . . . Lion’s Legacy is a celebration of the strength of queer community, whether felt by two queer people passing on the street, or resounding through the uncountable queer lives that have intersected throughout history. Ten knows queer history can be fun, weird, tragic and beautiful, but above all he knows it’s a history worth protecting.” —Bookpage

“Rosen’s delightfully adventurous romp puts a clever spin on Indiana Jones.” —Buzzfeed

“Step aside, Harrison Ford. There’s a new Indiana Jones in town, and his name is Tennessee Russo.” —Nerd Daily

“Rosen’s books are a treasure for teens who may feel like they have to placate others by toning down their identity.”—Kveller

“Rosen really embraces the best parts of pulp adventure, with fantastic puzzles, bad guys you love to hate, a dash of romance, and artifacts full of both wonder and hidden dangers. The narrative is also unabashedly queer: it frequently refers to how much queer history has been hidden or erased . . . . Ten doesn’t have time for any of that revisionism—and neither does Rosen.”—PASTE Magazine


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L. C. Rosen writes books for people of all ages, most recently Lavender House, which the New York Times says “movingly explores the strain of trying to pass as straight at a time when living an authentic life could be deadly” and was a best book of the year from Buzzfeed, Library Journal, Amazon, and Bookpage, among others. His prior novel, Camp, was also a best book of the year from places such as Forbes, Elle, and the Today show. He lives in New York City with his husband and a very small cat. You can find him online at and @LevACRosen.

Title Details

Pages 304 pages

Trim 5.5 x 8.25 x 0 Inches

Territories World

Category Young Adult

Age Range 12 to 17

Lion's Legacy

Lion's Legacy