This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Fantasy Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Berkley
Released on July 7, 2015
I honestly didn’t think I could be into this trilogy anymore than I was for the first book. Captivated and engrossed just don’t quite cover it, but I. Was. Wrong. I read this in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I tried three times and each time there was no way I could wait to see what happened next. If things weren’t at the height of danger then they were at a huge moment in this edge of the knife master and slave relationship that has so many layers to it that the description is simplistic.
Do you need to read them in order? By golly YES!
The story opens where the last segment left off. Prince Laurent, a small contingent of troops, and Damen make their way toward the border where the Regent has ordered them. It’s a set up and almost certain death and everyone knows it. The Regent is finally making his play to wrest the Kingdom of Vere from Laurent. But as Damen has learned, Laurent can’t be counted out because deep strategy is his game. Damen has come to an understanding with Laurent. He will help Laurent as best as he is able since the goal is to keep the peace and when they are near the closest border fort, Laurent will free Damen to return to his own people.
The Regent is cunning and several deadly traps are set and sprung. Betrayal is in the air and nobody can be trusted. Damen works at Laurent’s side and at his back doing more than his part. Laurent plays a deep game and Damen can’t even keep up with Laurent’s moves and counter-moves on the real live playing field. But as enigmatic as Laurent seems to Damen, Damen stymies Laurent many times too. Damen’s powerful secret about his real persona looms close as he has to play things on the edge of the knife because he can’t let Laurent figure out who he really is. Akielos, the mountain tribes, the neighboring lands are like a powder keg and it is Laurent’s work that is holding the peace.
Well as I made clear, this was one exciting, tension-filled installment in the trilogy. This bridge between the two outside books was strong. It wasn’t stagnant and so much went down. I think the big thing that had me captivated was that the hints of attraction and a relationship that peeked out in the first book finally came out of the shadows. Oh, it wasn’t anything full-blown or anything that could be labeled as romance, but what was there was gripping. Damen and Laurent’s relationship is in actuality something immeasurably more and yet less than that. This book also finally got the fight out in the open even though stealth is still very much the key. There were brutal moments, but the captor/slave dynamic is not there in this one. The grittier moments involve the fighting with Laurent’s uncle and his allies. Damen is more a close body servant and guard. That ending was just wow. High note and cliffhanger. I am salivating for the final volume.
In summary, intrigue, gritty battle action, sensual fleeting moments, tension between the major players and a steady march toward a huge finale make this one big rush from cover to cover. This series would appeal to M/M Fantasy Romance fans who like a spy or military flavor to their reading.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #240 FR
Cliché Klatch #149 ‘another layer peeled away’
Historical Romance #61
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