Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Spartan Love by Kayla Jameth

Title: A Spartan Love
Author: Kayla Jameth
Purchase at Amazon 
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Catt Ford
Genre: historical, ancient Greece
Length: 84k
Formats: Mobi, epub, pdf, print

Alone, Andreas toils on a remote farmstead for a Spartan overlord. When a kryptes enters his world, Andreas fears for his life. The dread warriors stalk and kill helots—like Andreas' father—as part of their training.

Andreas sees only one way to save himself: he must tame the fearsome warrior.

But what began as self-preservation develops into attraction. Yearning for the company of someone other than his ferret, Ictis, Andreas decides to trust the Spartan warrior and risk the fate that claimed his father.

Born to rule by the sword, Theron sees the world as his and acts accordingly, taking everything Andreas offers and reaching for more. However, love between men in Sparta is considered shameful and requires either exile or suicide to redeem Sparta’s honor. Now, only the gods can save them from the terrible price Sparta extracts from men who desire other men.

~*~*~*~*

I have met Kayla Jameth with her historian hat on (in Alexios’ Men, currently out of print) and this author knows her stuff. Now Apollo is back, with new men who’ve attracted his attention.

Apollo is quite real, as are the rest of the pantheon, and attracting his attention can be a good thing. Or not. We’ll see how this shakes out long term, since this is a series and this is the first. Book 2 in on the TBR pile.

Right now, the god is paying intermittent attention to Theron, a Spartan warrior, or kryptes, and Andreas, a helot, or peasant. These two come from completely opposite ends of the social spectrum, and Andreas is only too aware that he’s fair game for Theron, who is allowed to kill helots for sport (and terrorism, frankly.) Finding some common ground just for a conversation takes some doing, because just attracting a kryptes’ attention can be fatal. Watching them sneak up on a dinner date is cute but fraught.

This is Sparta, so you need to check your preconceptions about ancient Greece, habits, ideas, and attitudes, especially toward same sex contact at the door. One of these city-states is not like the others, and Sparta absolutely shouldn’t be confused with Athens or Thebes. The author catches you up on the local mores with some front matter, and some longer back matter if you’re interested in such things. I am. I read every scrap.

These two have a lot to overcome in deciphering each other’s motives and desires, and nothing at all is easy for them. Theron has his own set of difficulties with his cohort of fellow warriors, plus the distrust that is nearly automatic between the helots and the warriors. Andreas never forgets that a kryptes killed his father, just because it was allowed, and because his father was the kind of big, strong man who could lead a peasant revolt.

So these two have a lot to overcome, both between each other and for lacking things we take nearly for granted in modern day. It’s nicely done, forward and back, forward, and back, and finally a little more forward, in that they find a way to be together, though their difficulties are probably going to escalate.

Ictis the ferret, companion and hunting helper to Andreas, provides some comic relief. Just don’t step on his tail!

I’m looking forward to Book Two. 4.5 marbles

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