Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Blacksmith Prince from Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus

Title: The Blacksmith Prince
Authors: Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus
Cover artist: Anna Tiferet Sikorska
Genre: Fantasy romance
Buy at Amazon
Length: 260 pages
Formats available: mobi, print, epub

17th century Perigord is a county of sun-drenched villages and dark forests, languid rivers and moonlit lakes. It is a corner of France teeming with spirits, dryads and nymphs, and like everywhere else, witches are burned at the stake.

Born with the second sight, young fisherman Jehan wants nothing but to keep his head down, work hard, and stay out of trouble. Which works well enough until a suspicious string of bad luck befalls the village smith and his wife. Their adoptive son Giraud is everybody’s dashing darling, who behind his sooty smile and swashbuckling manners has buried a painful connection to the supernatural himself. Fearing that some evil is afoot, Giraud turns to the only other man in town who knows about the hidden world around them - Jehan.

Before long, they are embroiled in a quest involving brigands, witches and noble fey, while their friendship and attraction gradually shifts into something deeper. If they manage to survive ancient feuds and everyday prejudice, they might even have a chance to forge a Happily Ever After all of their own...


Lauded with a 2017 Rainbow Book Award for Best Gay Fantasy Romance, ‘The Blacksmith Prince’ is an old-fashioned, swoon-worthy historical fantasy romance about tender love in a time when history and fairy-tales were one and the same.

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I expect great characterizations and superb storytelling from the this writing pair, and the Blacksmith Prince was exactly that. Once a book wins a Rainbow Award I don’t know what else I can tell you besides I loved this book. And why.

Sense of place: the story sucks you right back in time. It’s vivid and immersive: but thankfully without the true slog of preindustrial life (with the occasional anachronism). The language makes you believe in the small magics and the large ones: Fey belong here.

“Like the afterimage of a lightning bolt, Jehan now saw antlers over his head in ghostly shapes, leaves on his shoulders and storm in his hair.” 

Sense of character: Jehan has magic and no desire to take on the duties his wisewoman grandmother is about to leave behind. We get to watch his understanding of how he is needed grow, and how he rises to the need. Even in the face of angry foes, he manages to parlay his small but growing skills into triumph, and the occasional punch in the nose.

Giraud too grows in his power and acceptance of power. He's willing to bust heads and take names doing it, even when it wars with his sense of fitting in. 

Sense of story: what started as a small quest becomes a large one, even as the characters grow into themselves.

What started as a lark and a way to enlist Jehan’s help, becomes much more than that for Giraud: you can feel the bond growing between the two young men. They aren’t taking much time for romance: they have grave matters to unravel, and they meet magical creatures along the way, whose help they must have in their quest, or that they must somehow defeat.

The history here is woven into the fantasy, just as boldness is woven into healthy caution, and magic into the everyday. It’s a lovely tale, with the sweetness of love to leaven the adventure.

If you're looking for sexytimes, this is the wrong place to look: it's all adventure and love, and I promise, you won't feel anything is missing. Because nothing is.  5 marbles

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