Author: Star Noble
Genre: M/M Historical
Length: 193 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/ Timeless Dreams (February 13th, 2013)
Heat Level: Mild
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts
Blurb: At the edge of the Roman Empire, Cheruscans Kjeld and Dafried forged the bonds of childhood friendship, playing and hunting together along the mighty Rhine—until Romans ripped Kjeld away from his idyllic life and best friend to live as a Roman soldier.
That was ten years ago. Kjeld, now a Roman general, returns to his foster parents to prepare for a glorious celebration: a battle in the Coliseum. What he doesn’t know is that Dafried, after being captured during an assault on Roman military post, now trains as a gladiator in preparation for the upcoming competition. When the childhood friends reunite in the sands, it could spell death for one of them.
A Timeless Dreams title: While reaction to same-sex relationships throughout time and across cultures has not always been positive, these stories celebrate M/M love in a manner that may address, minimize, or ignore historical stigma.
Review: The story starts out about two boys and their friendship. Kjeld and Dafried’s world seem to revolve around each other and you can feel their closeness and know they have a deep bond. They are also boys who want to help fight for their families against the Romans. Then one day the Romans come and take Kjeld away. They say they will not bother the clan if they let them have him; he will be taken to Rome and taken care of. The boys’ worlds are shattered. Then it moves ten years later and tells of how Kjeld was raised in a wealthy environment. He finally had to put his past behind thinking his family and Dafried had been killed. One night his servant was administering to him and was especially endearing and he remembered Dafried. Marcus misinterprets Kjeld’s reaction and kisses him. Kjeld is shocked and doesn’t return his feelings, so he knows he has to let him go. But, now he can’t stop thinking of Dafried. To his surprise he finds Dafried is a gladiator and is in a death match against his step- father’s best gladiator.
I thought this story was beautifully written and I wasn’t able to put it down once I started. I thought the characters well-developed, inspiring and the story fast paced and intriguing.
Recommendation: I recommend this book to anyone that loves a story of friends to lovers, a well- developed historical setting, love lost then found again, Soldiers, Gladiators, and sensual and beautiful lovemaking.