Five years after abandoning the Sagrada Acedemy (Lord of the White Hell universe), Elezar Grunito has become infamous in the sanctified circles of noble dueling rings for his brutal temper and lethal blade. Men and women of all ranks gather to cheer and jeer, none of them knowing Elezar’s true purpose. But a violent death outside the ring marks Elezar as a wanted man and sends him into hiding in the far northern wilds of Labara.
There, creatures of myth and witchcraft—long since driven from Cadeleon—lurk in dark woods and prowl the winding streets. Soldiers and priests alike fear the return of witch-queens and even demons. Elezar soon learns that magic takes many forms, some too alluring to resist, others too terrible to endure. But just as he begins to find his place in this strange new country, the past he left behind along with his school days returns to challenge him once again.
So word of warning, this would be a gushing update, through and through and so far I do not anticipate any reason why the final review would be anything less than gushing. You had been sufficiently forewarned :).
I never in my life said a single word to Ginn Hale online or offlist, I have no connection with her whatsoever and still when I think about her works, I come the closest to considering myself a fan of her works. See I usually resist with all my might being called a fan even of a writer whose works I love, because I grew extremely allergic to what the word "fan" often (not always of course) means in mm world.
And still I have to say that as far as I am concerned Ginn Hale had done no wrong in her books yet. Oh I know her first book "Wicked gentlemen" had a weakness as far as being divided in two novellas, and the ending was way too open, but this was my second original m/m book which I have read and I read it either in 2006 or 2007 and I still cannot forget Bellimai and Harper and the world they live in.
And "Lord of the white hell" and "Rifter". Did I wish she would write faster? Oh hell yes. Am I happy that she is not writing faster? Oh definitely. I would rather wait for what I consider a quality work than to become disappointed and leave her works behind and she never disappointed me yet.
And we are finally coming to the book I was planning to write an update about.
Remember Elezar from "Lord of the white hell"? I do not know about you, but I wished with all my might for him to get his happy ending and I am so pleased that it looks as if he will.
Blurb describes the set up perfectly . And look at this cover. Look at it! For me it was perfect because I felt like one of the Dumas' Musketeers was portrayed on it and I love "Three musketeers" and Elezar just fits the type so well. Master duelist, who feels remorse for the fact that his blade killed some innocent people too and for nothing sometimes. And after especially useless and lethal incident where Elezar may have defended a friend but the guy really did not deserve to be killed, their patron offers a diplomatic mission of a sort to smooth the things over with another country and avoid a magical war.
Elezar and his friend go and all kinds of interesting things start to happen and are happening. Magic! Magic! Lots of interesting magic ( have I mentioned how much I love magic?). Magic that shows more and more layers and dimensions as the story progresses. The world from "Lord of white hell" is getting more fleshed out and of course there is a love story in the making, but no, no sex yet. She does not do much sex (which is perfectly fine by me).
This is my favorite type of m/m story - where the main plot holds on its own perfectly without romance but romance is an integral part of the story.
I am engrossed by the story right now and they have not even kissed yet, but there is an understated tension between the men which I love.
'Just for an instant Elezar realized the tender sensation of holding Skelan's hand in his own. He'd felt so close to him for that moment. But that was all it had been, a moment which had passed even before Elezar could rightly understand it. He scowled down at his rough scared hands and made himself uncurl his big fists. The fragment of topaz in his palm bore the symbol of emptiness - nothing".