All is fair in love and war. Or is it?
On the world called Ana-Darasa, the gods of war engage in a desperate search for their lost hearts while waging a battle against the Good Mother for supremacy. But theirs is not the only struggle as dominant men, powerful rulers, and demigods clash, fiery passion erupts, and destinies are shaped on the battlefield and in the bedroom. In a war between pride and love, no victory is ever simple.
All is fair in love and war. Renaldo has lived happily by that proverb his entire life. But he has finally met his match, and he’s about to discover how unfair love and war can be.
When demigod and warlord Lord Renaldo takes a beautiful stranger captive during an ambush, he is delighted to have found a distraction that will keep him entertained during the upcoming siege. Little does he know, Casto is keeping more than just one secret from him. Slowly, Renaldo gets sucked into a turbulent roller-coaster relationship with his mysterious prisoner, one that begins with hatred and soon spirals into a whirlwind of conflicting emotions. And when it seems that things can get no worse, an old enemy stirs right in the heart of his home.
Determined to keep Casto by his side, Renaldo has to find a balance between the capricious young man and his own destiny as a ruler and god to his people.
- 1 To Be Read list
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Publisher: DSP Publications
Pairings: M-F, M-M, M-M-M
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Protagonist 3 Age: Ageless/Immortal
Tropes: Alpha Character, Badass Hero, Enemies to Lovers, Fated Mates / Soul Mates
Word Count: 100000
Languages Available: English, German
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
“Renaldo, you won’t believe what we just found!”
The desert brothers, Kalad and Aegid, approached
their god with broad smiles on their faces. He looked at
“If I won’t believe it, then you better hurry up and
tell me before I run out of patience.”
“A caravan! And right now it’s taking a break at the
oasis we discovered yesterday. You know, it’s not even an
hour from here. We could go there, get the quarry, and be
back before anybody misses us.”
Lost in thought, Renaldo observed their camp that
was set up in a dip beneath the hill where he had waited
for Kalad and Aegid. Renaldo’s brother, the powerful
Wolf of War, had sent them on patrol to make sure the area
was entirely safe. So far, they had not come across any
danger, which meant that it was all right for them to haveREAD MORE
some fun. His brothers-in-arms looked at him eagerly.
“Well, there’s no harm in having a look, is there?”
Kalad’s lively brown eyes overflowed in happy
anticipation. “No, definitely not. We’ll show you the way.”
The other members of the patrol led by Noran—like
Aegid and Kalad, he was an Emeris, a chosen counselor
of Renaldo and Canubis—were ten of the best and most
experienced mercenaries in the service of the warrior
gods, and they lined up behind the desert brothers. The
group rode sharply toward the oasis that had quenched
their thirst only a day ago.
Between the trees there was indeed a caravan with
thirty camels, every beast burdened high with
merchandise. It was not only the traders who delighted in
the fresh water from the spring; the warriors also spied
some heavily armored men patrolling the goods. Renaldo
shot Kalad a slightly poisonous look. Kalad had obviously
forgotten to mention this small detail, but the desert
warrior just shrugged. There weren’t enough enemies to
get them into any serious trouble.
At that moment the people at the waterhole stirred.
A man wearing a floor-length cloak led a pitch-black
stallion to the spring. Although the stranger was clothed in
white, as was sensible in the heat, he radiated an
intimidating arrogance that surrounded him and the steed
like a shield. The traders, as well as the mercenaries,
hastened to make room for the exceptional pair. Renaldo’s
eyes lit up. Never before in his long life had he seen a
horse like that: its mane and tail sparkled in the sunlight
like polished blackwood; the noble head with the big,
intelligent eyes sat on a muscular, proudly held neck; the
long, clean legs with hooves as hard as flint carried the
powerful body with elegant, elastic movements despite its
mass. The long silky tail trailed like a banner behind the
proud beast. Then the stallion bent down to drink, and the
man leading him followed his example.
Renaldo watched this scene in fascination,
purposely ignoring his fighters’ imploring looks. He had to
have that horse, no matter the cost.
The horse’s small ears were nervously flicking back
and forth, and then suddenly the noble head reared up and
snorted a warning.
The hooded man jumped into the saddle, drawing
his sword in one strong, fluid movement while his eyes
scanned the oasis, searching for intruders. “Danger!”
His voice echoed through the loosely scattered date
trees like a melody, causing panic among the traders and
priming the mercenaries to fight. Renaldo couldn’t
suppress a satisfied nod. Those men were highly
professional and definitely worthy opponents.
He turned to his men. “Let’s go!”
They left cover in a semicircle, each attacking their
chosen mercenary. Renaldo had planned to go after the
hooded man and his steed, but two of the enemy bore
down on him from the sides. On his periphery he could see
one of his men going against the stranger and being swept
out of the saddle for his trouble. Then Renaldo lost sight
of the man and the horse he so wanted.
PL on Amazon wrote:
I would first like to start off by warning you that this is not a complete story. This is definitely part one of a much longer tale and that is my only negative about this book. It was very long and did not end in a natural place. It was just over and very much to be continued. Now on to all the things I enjoyed about what promises to be an epic series.
Casto was a very great start to this series. The world was rich and everything I could have oped for in a historical fantasy. The characters were vivid and possessed depths that the reader can only begin to understand. The author spent a lot of time describing the lands and battles and setting up the men and women of the Pack and the hierarchy of the goddesses and demigods. Even though this book was very long, I never felt bored and was always eager to learn more about the Valley and it inhabitants.
I loved the way the story began with the folklore of the time. The author established how her world was made and the rules that it followed. I easily understood who was good and who was evil and knew that the story itself was going to be about more than just the demigods finding their missing hearts, but would be a battle for control of the world itself.
I loved that the characters and the Pack were so full of vitality and power. These people were brutal and yet oddly caring and their morality was steadfast no matter what. It was so weird yet fascinating to learn how the Pack behaved because it was so at odds with itself. These people showed no mercy, yet they showed more leniency and love than the non-barbarians outside the valley. For all their brutality, they were fiercely protective and intelligent. I loved them all!
Finally, Renaldo and Casto were amazing characters and their romance, while only one minor point of the story, was so intense it stole the show. I loved knowing more than the two men. I loved knowing their histories and their futures while the men did not. It was kind of fun to watch them struggle and fight and hate and love and question and everything else, when I already know their outcome.
But while I know their ending, I do not know how it will come about and I still do not know all of their personalities and all of their history. There is evil afoot that I need to know more about and there are so many questions I have about Renaldo, Casto, and all the other Emeris. I need more and I cannot wait for Book 2 to be released. I need to find out what will happen next and I need Casto and Renaldo to finally see what everyone else can see.
Xenia Melzer is a new to me author, but I loved reading Casto and I will be keeping this author on my watch list for future works. She shows great imagination and talent and I look forward to more form her in this series and others.
RHreading on Amazon wrote:
I got this book from net gallery for an honest review.
Casto is captured by Lord Renaldo and becomes his slave. Lord Renaldo is awed by Casto's beauty and striking blue eyes and he wants him in his bed. However, he has no idea what he's in for because Casto is arrogant, conceited and defiant and is far from being an obedient slave.
I loved Casto and Renaldo's bantering it was funny and entertaining. I think the author did a great job balancing these two characters because I never found either to be overbearing or frustrating. These two are definitely perfectly matched and they both give each as good as they get. Their anger towards one another ignites the fire of passion between them and they find themselves overwhelmed with confusing emotions.
I really liked Casto: he's feisty, sarcastic, angry yet arrogant but who can blame him under the circumstances. There's a lot of mystery surrounding him and his stallion - he has secrets and terrifying nightmares - but what's he hiding?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the intense yet passionate relationship between the two men. These two share some very hot, intense and steamy moments together. I'm seriously looking forward to reading the next book. Amazing book with a fantastic yet innovative narrative and the characters were striking but never overpowering.
An epic, magical adventure. Loving a warlord and a demigod is not for the faint of heart.