Wednesday, March 16, 2016

ARC #REVIEW: Rebirth (The Eternal Dungeon #1) by Dusk Peterson #mmromance #gayfiction #romhero

Genre: M/M Historical Fantasy, Gay Fiction, part of The Eternal Dungeon series
Release Date: February 21, 2016
Publisher:  Love in Dark Settings Press
Length: unknown

Description: "'This prisoner deserves special treatment.' The hooded man looked over at the young man again."

Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting in the Eternal Dungeon appears certain to bring out the worst in both men.

Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon: Layle's faithful guard, struggling to contain his doubts. A younger guard determined to take any shortcuts necessary to ensure that his life follows the path he has already chosen. An old love from Layle's past, still sorrowing. And most of all, a prisoner who has not yet arrived at the Eternal Dungeon, but whose fate will depend on how Layle handles Elsdon Taylor . . . and on how Elsdon handles Layle Smith.

A winner of the 2011 Rainbow Awards (within the "Eternal Dungeon" omnibus), this tale of love and adventure can be read on its own or as the first volume in The Eternal Dungeon, a speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of alternate history series (Waterman, Life Prison, Commando, Michael's House, The Eternal Dungeon, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

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Rebirth is the dark, fascinating tale of two very different men who come to know and love each other under almost impossible conditions. The writing is detailed and powerful, the story fresh and unpredictable. But this is not a romance in the traditional sense. If anything, I would categorize this story as gay fiction because the Eternal Dungeon, in my opinion, is the main character, comprised of the setting and the myriad people who live and work in the dungeon.
Metal jingled nearby, then scraped. He heard the screech of another pair of door-hinges. Without waiting to be pushed, he walked into the destiny that awaited him. The room was small. He was not sure how he knew this, for his eyes were still shut. Perhaps it had to do with the way his footsteps sounded upon the floor.

The room was warm as well, warmer than the dungeon's entry hall had been and light danced against his eyelids. He tried not to think what the purpose of the fire might be.
I must give kudos to the author for creating such a rich world, filled with detail, and structure. It is easy to believe that the Eternal Dungeon is a real place in the shadows of a relatively modern world.

We learn about our two heroes, Elsdon and Layle, in relation to the the Eternal Dungeon--when and how they arrived there, how their lives were changed by the dungeon, and how they came to know each other through it.
The sound of a step next to him caused him to jerk his head up and open his eyes. The Seeker was only an arm's span from him now, and his hand was still empty of any whip or binding or other instrument. His body looked as relaxed as that of a man in bed with his beloved.
The romance between Elsdon and Layle is not to be underestimated either. Elsdon is the victim of years of abuse, accused of killing his father, while Layle is the sadist assigned to be his Seeker (i.e. torturer). How could two such men ever become friends much less lovers? How can one who is trying to recover from abuse surrender himself to one whose every sexual fantasy revolves around the torture of his partner? 
Eldson sighed. "Layle, what are you going to do, stop thinking about sex for the rest of your life? Whether you're with me the next time you think of sex or whether you're alone by yourself, I know what image is going to come into your mind. I know that what I suffered under Master Aeden will give you pleasure."
Over the course of Rebirthas the truths about the heroes lives prior to their arrival at dungeon are revealed, we see this relationship go through many ups and downs. Can it survive? Can love overcome such incredible psychological hurdles? Read Rebirth and find out!

OUR RATING: 4.5 stars!


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