Kai and Jericho. Two exiles from the Eternal Empire. Their paths cross in a non-descript Borderland moonbase, far from Imperial civilization. On the surface, it's an ideal situation. Kai needs a bodyguard, Jericho has all the necessary skills and then some, and they get along well in their initial meeting.
But then reality intrudes. Because Kai is a hunted man, pursued throughout the Borderlands by mercenaries and assassins. And Jericho is held captive and docile by a vicious restraining collar, sold into slavery years ago by his own father and exiled for a crime committed against a free man. So it's a cash transaction, not friendship, that brings the two young men together.
A close relationship springs up almost instantly between them, deepened and cemented by the adventures they share. Bounty hunters, pirates, and renegades keep the two exiles stepping lively about the Borderlands. The slave collar makes certain neither man does anything about the growing attraction between them.
Then Kai's mysterious past catches up to him in a way he just can't ignore. Because the Imperial Legions are out in force, hell-bent on catching the elusive exile for reasons of their own. And then he makes a decision which might just destroy everything.
Welcome to a world in which the Rome never fell. Instead, it conquered its home planet and grew into the interstellar Eternal Empire, a vast civilization powered by magic and slavery, where life can be mighty good for some citizens. Meet dragons, demons, and necromancers. See the repercussions of Kai and Jericho's actions. And above all, hold on, because it's going to be a wild ride.
Publisher: Independently Published
Pairings: M-F, M-M
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 3
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Big Character / Little Character, Class Differences, Forbidden Love, Friends to Lovers
Word Count: 235660
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Kai clutched the controls of the Chaos Rider far tighter than needful, as
the space schooner darted towards the upper atmosphere and his home burned
beneath him. Some of the smoke had gotten into the gondola, before the
containment fields abruptly sprang to life. Jericho. Good. He’d been half
afraid the mage would fall off the swaying rope ladder, rather than make
it safely aboard. That sort of accident would fit perfectly with the
disastrous turn the day had taken. If he were superstitious, he’d count
this as reprisal for last night.
At least they’d gotten away. The beautiful villa was nothing but flames,
he’d spotted at least three of his former staff laying dead inside, and he
felt like someone had ripped his heart right out of him, but both he and
Jer were safely away.
For the first time in years, he felt unsafe in the completely unarmed
civilian luxury craft. Understandable, perhaps, but rather disorienting.
He’d never been one to rely on big guns for survival. True, there were
guns present on the schooner, but only of the handheld variety. The ship
itself mounted no defenses against any kind of attack. What if the
bastards in the armed racing boat decided to come after them? They likely
had weapons other than bombs aboard, and the space schooner was nothing
but a big, fat, defenseless target waddling through the atmosphere.
But maybe they’d make it. No sign of pursuit so far, and slow though it
was, at least compared to Legion craft, the schooner had already reached
the upper atmosphere.
Only to run straight into a trap.
A single craft, sleek and deadly, came streaking in from out of nowhere,
energy weapons blazing. Caught completely by surprise, in an unarmed
pleasure boat, Kai could do nothing except try to keep control of the helm
as the antique schooner shuddered under the merciless fire of the attack
craft marked with red and gold. The colors of the Imperial Legion.
Someone really wants you dead this time, Kai thought, struggling grimly to
control his heaving ship. Laser blasts tore through spell and wood alike.
He should’ve known there’d be a highrider, aloft to guard any possible
escape route. But how could he know? There’d been no indication that the
Legion was involved in this attack. None. Not even a hint.
Three passes the attacker made, firing on each run. Kai had never, ever
even once considered he might be on the receiving end of Legion fire.
Do you even know who I am, you fuckers?
The thought was ludicrous. He knew it, even as it happened. Of course they
knew who he was, who he had been. That was the whole point of this deadly
I want to start with a warning…this is one seriously long book! In my humble opinion, I think it really could have been a trilogy instead of being all bound into one book, but it made up for it because it was soooo worth reading!
A little background. I had originally asked the author for a different book to review on Love Bytes, but she instead asked if we would do this one. I was at first daunted by the page count, and honestly dragged my heels a little bit before starting. I started it on Saturday afternoon, and had to put it down to go to a dinner party, but when I got home I picked it right back up and read until 5 something the next morning. Then I slept for a couple hours and kept going…reading last night until nearly 2 and then leaving the final hour and a half for today. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I loved it, and couldn’t stop!
Now, what is the story about you ask? That would be a logical comment since the Blurb on this one tells you absolutely nothing about the story if you look at it on Amazon. If you look at the Blurb I’ve used above, only the first line is on Amazon, and even with the additional section on Goodreads, I have to say I might not grab it as an impulse buy. I’ve seen Blurbs that go way overboard and give too many details, but this one errs to the opposite extreme! So I’m going to try to give you a little bit of the story, without doing any spoilers.
Imagine a future world, roughly five thousand years from now. But this world isn’t exactly ours. Imagine a world where the Roman Empire never fell…where instead they went on to conquer and rule the rest of the globe. Imagine a world where magic actually does work, but so does science. A vast civilization of 200 plus worlds, all ruled by an Emperor.
Ms. Brown did an excellent job of world building on this one. I felt like it was actually a possibility that with a few changes in history, Rome could have ruled the world. In the world she created, women are second place citizens, slavery is still a driving force in the economy, and homosexuality is punishable by death.
Enter Jericho. Jericho was sold into slavery by his own father for monetary gain when he was a child. Jericho had Mage potential and was worth more than his siblings, so he was the one sold. He has had a hard life since then, being collared with a high tech collar which suppresses emotions, sexual urges, and basically anything that is fun. Now Jericho is again up for sale. He has proved to be a “difficult” slave and has been “returned” for resale.
A mysterious man shows up and buys him. The man has tons of money, but tons of secrets as well. Who is Kai?
There begins the story of Jericho and Kai. A richly told tale that will span the known universe, pitting them against a whole chain of enemies…dragging them to the depths…but also raising them to unexpected heights. Along the way they will encounter slaves, dragons, demons, necromancy, and lots of adventure.
OK, no more spoilers. If you are a sci-fi fan, and you like long books, this one is for you. After just finishing 662 pages, I still want more. I’m so hoping that we get more of the story, especially the interaction with the dragons that was hinted at in the end of this book. I think there is a lot more story to come, and I really want to know what happens with little Julian!
I highly recommend this book. It was very well written. This is definitely an author I will be following in the future.