Genre: Sci-Fi, Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay
Reviewer: Linda, PRG
About The Book
The war with the Daranii, instigated by Earth, was short and brutal.
Outgunned by superior weapons, the obliteration of the military outpost on Jupiter’s moon, Io, ended with Earth’s unconditional surrender.
Captain Jonathan Thomsin of the warship Excalibur was the only Captain of Earth’s combined forces to successfully destroy Daranii ships, not by confronting them, but with guerilla warfare. Outraged by Thomsin’s dishonorable tactics, the Daranii demand the captain as part of Earth’s reparations to Daran.
Captain Thomsin was given to Daran to protect Earth from Daranii vengeance.
He expected to be tormented by loss and grief.
He expected to be tortured and die on Daran.
He never expected to fall in love.
PLEASE NOTE: This is a slow burn, male/male romance with on-page torture scenes, health issues, and adult sexual situations.
Earth instigated a war with Daran, a war they soon discovered they couldn’t win. Earth surrendered, but Daran wanted reparations in the form of Captain Jonathan Thomsin, whose warship was responsible for the only victory Earth achieved. Jonathan was to be taken prisoner by Daran, and he had no doubt that his death wouldn’t come until he had suffered extreme torture. To save Earth, Jonathan agreed, and he was not wrong about the treatment he would receive.
Unfortunately, the convoy that Jonathan destroyed was filled with life mates and children, and his actions were not easily forgiven. His first day of torture is unbearable, but a member of the Order of Artisans named Dulan is assigned to assist him to ensure that Jonathan will not die too quickly. Dulan helps him clean up and gives him water, and comes to feel a friendship towards the prisoner, who shows nothing but dignity and kindness in his captivity.
Then Jonathan has to face the most excruciating torture imaginable – the “pain-giver” is tied to a metal table, with a band wrapped around his neck and something put into his mouth. He is unable to even scream. The torture device usually brings death to any subjected to it. The law states that if Jonathan survives for three days of this torture, he will not be subject to any more pain, and would live out the rest of his life on Daran. After three days, nearing death, Jonathan survives, and with the help of Dulan and Doctor Calal he is finally free from any more torture.
Talin from the Order of Warriors wanted to see Jonathan die, since his parents were on the ship Jonathan destroyed. Now that Jonathan has survived, Talin is responsible for him, and he is not a happy camper. Jonathan is given a house and is guarded all the time and unable to go outside. The one saving grace is his friendship with Dulan and Calal, who look after him and have grown to respect and love him. On Daran, Jonathan is known as “The Sacrifice,” a prisoner still but freed from torture.
It doesn’t take long before Talin realizes he was wrong about Jonathan, a man who sacrificed himself to save his own planet, a man who saved a Daranii child by risking his own life, and a man who underwent unimaginable torture with dignity, giving his torturer respect.
Talin apologizes to Jonathan, who readily accepts it and welcomes Talin as a friend. The friendship leads to much more, but Jonathan is still hated by many Daranii, especially the Council. Despite the promise of no more torture, the Council orders Jonathan to return to the “pain-giver” and promises that more torture will be coming.
Enemies become friends and lovers and fight to have a life together. But it seems like an impossible dream, because torture and death are Jonathan’s future. Extreme torture, sex, romance and wonderful characters made this book wonderful, even though Sci-Fi is usually my least favorite genre.
I am an avid reader the mother of 3 sons and grandmother to seven grandchildren. Since retiring I have been doing more reading while volunteering as a CASA worker. CASA is an organization that works with the family court system to ensure that children are in the best living situation. There are way too many children that get overlooked in the foster care system and I visit homes and make visits to the parents. I was born and raised in New York and my husband of 50 years and I live in Upstate New York.