Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sovereign's Gladiator

Title: Sovereign's Gladiator
Author: Jez Morrow
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publisher URL:
ISBN: 9781419930812
Genre: {M/M} Historical
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Mystical Nymph

Devon is only twenty-eight but he rules as Sovereign in a rich province in the powerful Raenthe Empire. As the ruler of his section of the empire, he’s expected to be strong, assertive and dominant in all aspects of his life; except in the privacy of his dreams where he desires to surrender to the power of an even stronger man.

The one man who stars in his dreams and tortures his waking hours is Xan, a champion gladiator who, as a member of a rebellious tribe, was once sentenced to death in the area. After several years, Devon also was the man who granted Xan a pardon and his freedom.

There’s rebellion in an unruly outer region of the province and Devon is determined to discover its cause, and he needs a personal first guardsman for the dangerous journey. Its while on this expedition into the wilds that passion and desire explode between Devon and Xan, except betrayal and long held prejudices threaten to destroy any chance they have of happiness.

Sovereign’s Gladiator is the first non-contemporary book by Jez Morrow that I’ve read, and as a history buff, I really liked the quasi-Roman setting. The first thing that stands out for me is the rich world-building. Despite the story’s shorter novella length, the vivid details of the buildings, dress, different peoples and customs makes the story setting come alive as if of a much greater length.

While the story brims with romance, desire and passion, there’s a lot more going on here for Xan and Devon to deal with--namely uncertainty, unrest, deceit and betrayal. All these and maneuvering through a minefield of misunderstandings between class and culture endangers their lives and threatens their new relationship. It’s here that Ms. Morrow excelled. She took all these different aspects and, with flair and creativity, came out with a well paced plot that made historical sense and two main characters her readers could care about. Read and enjoy.

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