Masters and Mages: Book 1
In a world ruled by tyrannical kings and fickle gods, the young monk M'lan finds himself at the center of royal intrigue as his healing powers attract the attention of his superiors. When he learns the handsome warrior whose body he’s tending to is not only a noble, but a king's assassin, any attachment to him might prove fatal. Despite the danger, he can't stop himself from falling in love. Can he risk the abandon of passion when a slip of the tongue might force his lover to execute him?
Major Jamil Jarka comes to the temple with one intention—heal his wounds so he can return to the fight against the rebellion. When the monk assigned to him turns out to be stunningly attractive, he sees this as a pleasant distraction, no more. But soon he finds himself becoming obsessed with M'lan and is torn between the fear of betrayal and the lure of love.
Sinister forces strive to turn the monk and the warrior against each other—a conflict neither will survive if they cannot trust their lives to love and the healing power of Salar.
Publisher: Loose Id
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Forbidden Love, Love Can Heal / Redemption
Word Count: 32000
Setting: Salar, High Fantasy world
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
I really enjoyed this haunting tale of a forbidden love between M’lan, a healer monk, and Jamil, an assassin warrior. Reminiscent of Astrid Amara’s ‘The Archer’s Tale’ with the barbaric edge of a David Gemmell fantasy, this evocative tale shines with originality because of its wonderful balance of atmospheric world building, charismatic lead characters, and a suspense-ridden plot.
Gifted monk M’lan serves at the mountain temple of Ka’alar, healing the noble classes of the kingdom of Rakkan. Those that come to the temple come in anonymity and hold their secrets close. And M’lan’s gift comes at a price: in relieving the source of his clients’ ills he not only experiences their painful traumas, but he is privy to visions of his patients’ lives. Knowing his life would be forfeit if the latter were known, M’lan never reveals the extent to which he can “see” to anyone, especially the elders of the temple, who forced him to this life after discovering his gift. One day a warrior like no other comes under M’lan’s care. With each healing session more of his patient’s tormented and dangerous life is revealed and M’lan finds his attraction to the handsome assassin growing. The warrior too feels the possessive bond between them and both are drawn into a forbidden affair. The burden of their secret love brings to light darker secrets within the temple. A dangerous plot threatens not only M’lan and Jamil, but also the entire kingdom of Rakkan. Can M’lan’s spiritual healing powers defeat an evil so dark it could snuff out the light of Salar? And if he succeeds will he and Jamil be fated to be apart forever?
Sorcery, spiritualism, and political intrigue are interwoven with passion and romance in this tantalizing tale of two very different, but highly appealing men. The chemistry between these two lead characters is extraordinary and as they grow to trust one another, the passion between them simply ignites. M’lan’s exquisite bearing is matched by his inner beauty, but angst and loneliness dampen his spirit. His love for the god Salar fortifies him and he selflessly transfers that love to heal his patients’ wounds. With each challenge he faces, M’lan digs deeper into the well of his faith, sacrificing his needs for the wholeness of others. It is Jamil’s gift of love that allows M’lan’s spirit to shine unfettered and provides him the strength necessary to save a kingdom.
Dazzling glimpses of a brutal past hint at intriguing reasons for Jamil’s curt, suspicious attitude and I would love to hear more of his story. When Jamil falls in love with M’lan’s gentle, but fierce spirit, he slowly opens himself to the possibility a life beyond that of an assassin. Jamil’s willingness to surrender his suspicion to learn M’lan’s way of faith only adds to his courageous soul and his immense appeal as a regal warrior.
Equal attention is given to the alluring, but dangerous world that these two attractive men inhabit. Drawn into a sensual dreamlike land of exotic foliage, deadly animals, misty hot springs, and dark glittering caverns, I was held captive, watching the two lovers relish each other as a danger crept ever closer. Excellent malicious villains add to the sinister atmosphere of threat that permeates the second half of the story. I was surprised to discover the book is only ninety-eight pages long; it is very detailed. It reads fairly quickly, but I found myself savoring the language of each lyrical passage and know that I will reread this book again and again. I look forward to the next book in this mystical, magical series.
Thank you, Alexis Duran, for this captivating gem of a tale.
“Bewitching, Exotic, Sensual!”