Series: Prince and Trader 01
Author: R.G. Green
Genre: High Fantasy
Length: Novel (240pgs)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (24th June 2013)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Blurb: For hundreds of years, the kingdom of Llarien has maintained a defense against the barbarians. Now, activity at the border draws attention from Kherin Rhylle, the less-favored younger son of the king. Kherin suspects a deeper purpose behind the attacks, but his father refuses to grant permission to travel to the border, despite Kherin’s obligated tenure as a Defender. Not even unprecedented deaths or the serious injury of Kherin’s brother, the crown prince, can change the king’s mind.
Then Derek Resh, kingdom trader and Kherin’s closest friend, convinces the king to allow Kherin to travel with him, and an unexpected journey to the border proves the threat real—while an unexpected intimacy with Derek makes Kherin realize that his feelings go deeper than the friendship they have shared for most of his life. But even that turns devastating, as Derek won’t pursue anything more intimate when the king’s disapproval is certain.
Grasping at straws, Kherin is caught between a danger he doesn’t understand and the desire for a deeper relationship he can’t have. And then there’s the magic that threatens to return after being banished hundreds of years ago….
Review: Kherin is the second son of the King of Llarien. His relationship with his father is tenuous and filled with anger. Kherin was injured just before he was to take his tenure as a Defender of the kingdom and now he is nearly recovered. He is itching to head out, but when Kherin’s older brother, Adrien, is injured by Northerners during his tenure as a Defender Kherin’s father refuses to let him go. Derek is a kingdom trader and Kherin’s closest friend. He knows that Kherin will fall into a cycle of self-destruction because of resentment and angel. He convinces the king to allow Kherin to travel with him. On the journey, Kherin realizes that his feelings for Derek go much deeper than friendship, but Derek refuses to act on his own feelings for Kherin knowing the disapproval both will face from the king. Arriving at the border, they discover Adrien’s injuries are puzzling and the threat from the Northerners is very real and they both decide to act.
This is a great beginning to what looks like a very involved high-fantasy story. There is a lot of world building and background information being built into this story. We get an incredible feeling for what Kherin’s life is like including his non-relationship with his father, although we are left wondering just why they seem to hate each other so much. Kherin’s relationship with his brother is incredibly strong and his fear for his brother is clear to see. Kherin’s relationship with Derek is one that will cause them both great difficulties in the future, even though being together is what they want; thwarting a king is never easy.
The emerging story involving the Northerners and the Akhael keeps you on your toes as the information we receive is given to us in trickles and we begin to see the danger that Llarien is heading towards because of the ignorance of its people. Although this story is mainly from Kherin’s perspective, we do also get brief views from others who will be playing important parts in future books; a scholar with an expertise in Akhael history and a stable-hand who is bitter and resentful of his treatment by the royals. Derek’s and Kherin’s relationship is nicely done throughout the story and there are one or two intense scenes between them with some incredible hot sex. But, just remember this is a relationship that will be far from easy, especially if the king finds out.
This isn’t a story that you will be able to read and say ‘that was wrapped up nicely’ because this is only just the beginning of this story. We have a long way to go until we are truly satisfied with everything that is going on in Llarien. We still have a lot to learn about what is really going on with the Northerners, the Akhael and between the king and his youngest son. And then we have Adrien’s mysterious injury and I have to admit that I really want to know what is really going on in Llarien.
I recommend this if you want a high-fantasy story that is only just beginning, great characters, great world building, some hot sex, a difficult relationship, and lots more of this story to come.