Title ~ The Borders War Volume One
Author ~ S.A. McAuley
Publisher ~ Totally Bound
Published ~ 17th January 2014
Genre ~ M/M Post Apocolyptic/Dystopian Romance
One Breath, One Bullet
Face to face, and rifle to rifle. The time and location change, but never the circumstance. Merq Grayson and Armise Darcan are enemies. And neither will be considered successful until the other is dead.
It is the year 2558. A mere decade has passed since the signing of the treaty which ended the three hundred year long Borders War. In the midst of an uneasy peace, the world gathers for the first Olympic games since the war began.
The Rifle competition showcases the very soldiers who fought in the war, pitting former enemies against one another again. Continental States Peacemaker Merq Grayson will once again battle the Dark Ops officer from the People's Republic of Singapore, Armise Darcan, this time under the flag of their own uneasy truce. The relationship between Merq and Armise is one of violence, secrecy, and a growing intimacy that could have them both branded as traitors.
But there is more at stake than pride or medals in these games. And neither Merq nor Armise may be able to make it out alive before the fires of revolution are set ablaze again.
A relationship is the least of Merq and Armise's concerns...
With one bullet Merq Grayson set the wealthiest citizens of the world on a collision course with the poorest-with those fighting for their freedom. As the Borders War reignites, the Revolution faces heavy losses. They scramble to maintain their advantage, to strike at the Opposition and crumble their power structure before they are able to rally.
But Merq is in the midst of an internal battle that shakes him to the core. For the first time in his life Merq will have to reconcile the inherent tragedy of war and decide just how much vengeance can be justified by spilt blood. How much can he trust the men and women around him? The President, Neveed, his former soldiers, his parents...and Armise.
Merq and Armise find themselves off grid and on the hunt for Committee members. Merq is just as unsettled with Armise at his side as he was with Armise as an enemy, but they will have to learn how to fight together-or they may just die together.
Warning! Do not try to read this book if there's even the slightest chance of anything distracting you... If Real Life threatens to intrude then I advise that you tell your friends and family that you have contracted an infectious disease and will be locking yourself away for as long as it takes! Do not go anywhere near a laptop, phone or PC, shutdown your router, step away from Facebook and Goodreads, keep plenty drinks close to hand and just make sure you have snacks so you don't need to move from where you've planted yourself away to read!
OMG! That was what I call an intense trip, but I'm so glad I took the plunge into Sam McAuley's amazing futuristic, gritty world. I've looked at this series before but for some reason I've just bypassed it each time for something else.
And now I'm left with the burning question....WHY???
I was given the chance to read this in its newest form, so I jumped at it.
Volume one contains the first two books from the series: One Breath One Bullet & Dominant Predator and I'm so glad I had the two to read back to back, because I think if I'd had to wait for the second book I'd have been climbing the walls. As it stands, by the time I'd got to the halfway mark, I had to make sure book three, 'Powerless', was waiting on my kindle because this is like a drug....you need to know you have the next fix waiting!
Now the reason for the warning at the beginning is because the plotting of this story is so intricate and interwoven that I have to be honest, you do need your wits about you. Not that these are overly long books, not at all, but this is world building that isn't just shallow top show, it's planned down to the finest detail and it's twisty, elaborate and complex. More so in book one because of course it contains the introduction to what's going on and the catalysts for what’s to come. This is where we learn about the complicated relationship between the two heroes of the story...Merq and Armise, and its origins. Two elite soldiers...enemies whose loyalties lie with the states that they represent. Merq Grayson is a Peacemaker who fights for The Continental States and Armise Darcan, a Dark Ops officer for the People's Republic of Singapore. Sworn enemies, but also two men inexplicably drawn to each other in an uneasy, volatile relationship that on the surface, for 14 years, just appears to be 'fight and fuck'..... but is it?
" He sighed deeply, and my chest pressed to his wide back muscles, moved with him. I didn't know how to disengage myself from him. Just like every other time I'd found myself in that position my body wrapped around his, shuddering with the brutal release only his body could give me, a thought flashed through my mind—this man will be the death of me."
What you see in this book is definitely not always what you get and that's what makes it one hell of a ride, complicated more, in a way, because the story is only told from Merqs point of view, so you only see coming what he does, but like him, just when you think you know what's happening the plot takes a major shift, and the shocks and surprises come thick and fast. Questions you thought had been answered and addressed, are suddenly thrown back in your face and you're left thinking WTF!!!! more than once.
Having said all that, once you embark on the journey, things start to coalesce in your head, becoming more fathomable as you start to drink in the information that's sort of drip fed to you in both present day and flashback, and before you know it you're hooked! Merq and Armise begin to burrow themselves under your skin and you start to really care what happens to these two dangerous, tough, enigmatic guys. Their relationship is nothing like the romances we generally see in m/m. It's visceral, raw, dirty and tenuous because of the distrust that simmers between the two of them, but at the same time it's also strong because of the inexplicable bond that has kept them tied together over the years that this story covers. The sex is hard and needy, no lovey dovey moments between these men, but still you feel their passion is far more than just a quick fuck to satisfy a momentary itch because death is around the corner. Getting your sex with who you can, when you can. They say love and hate tread a fine line and this is the path that Merq and Armise follow as they fight viciously against each other as enemies one moment but come together as lovers the next! Such a complicated couple, Merq in particular, but I challenge anyone not to fall hard and fast for them both. I did, so in my eyes this is still a love story, just one that you can't pigeonhole because their rocky relationship constantly plays mind games with you as it shifts and switches, and for me that's what makes it so bloody good!
'....Armise chuckled. Low and derisive. "Are you telling me there's not even a part of you that's beginning to trust me? A part of you that wonders why you're so fucking smart and capable yet it took so long for you to figure out what was actually going on? Open your eyes for once Merq, and focus on something besides yourself. This 'whatever' between us changes everything. And if you're too self-absorbed and petulant to see it then I've wasted the last fourteen years of my life."
In a world of genetically modified soldiers who wield sonic weaponry in violent, bloodless wars where millions have died, One Breath One Bullet (#1) sets the scene, leaving you on the edge wanting more, then Dominant Predator (#2) grabs you by the balls and seals your fate! You will end this volume panting for more and you'll want to see this through to the very end!
It might seem I'm being a bit of a meany, but I don't want to give you any info on the plot at all. The blurbs are enough to give you a general idea and I would have HATED to have been told anything about what happens in this, so I'm not doing it to any other reader. What I will say is that Ms McAuley is a classy, compelling writer. This is the second time I've been blown away by her skill as an author and her writing style is just amazing. I love what I've read up to now. I'm converted and I want to read more of her books. I've rated this as one book overall because that's what it felt like to me as I read it, reading each book without a break, but even if I'd been asked to rate each of them separately I don't think there would have been much in it. Perhaps 'One Breath' would have been slightly under 'Dominant' but that's only because it took me a little while to settle in...once the plot took flight it became a five star read all the way and if it stays at this level that won't be dropping. Epic dystopian saga with political intrigue, mistrust, multi faceted characters, dark romance, dangerous love, and twists and turns aplenty, if this was made into a mini series I'd be glued to the screen as it is I'm now glued to my kindle! Just awesome!
The Borders War
Countries of the World in 2558 (year of One Breath, One Bullet)
The Continental States (The States) - Currently North America, Greenland and half of India.
Name: Wensen Kersch
Color associated with the country: vermillion and yellow
The People’s Continent of Singapore (Singapore)- Currently South Asia, Polynesia and Australia.
Name: Jarrah Jae (former, assassinated), Shio Pearce (current)
Color associated with the country: cobalt blue and silver.
The United Union (UU) - Currently Europe, Middle East and Russia
Leader: Prime Minister Name: Franx Heseltine
Color associated with the country: royal purple and black
American Federation (AF) - Currently South America, Pacific Islands, New Zealand and Antarctica.
Name: Isida Agri
Color associated with the country: emerald green and peacock blue
The Dark Continental Republic (DCR) - Currently Africa, Caribbean and half of India
Name: Kariabba Tivy
Color associated with the country: gold amber, white, and earth brown.
Series Reading Order
Book #3 ~ Powerless
Released tomorrow 25th April, and you can find it right here on SSBR, where we will be revisiting Powerless and those delicious men, Merq & Armise!!
Book #4 ~ TBC ~ Expected June 2014
Book #5 ~ TBC ~ Expected November 2014
About S.A. McAuley
Sam sleeps little, reads a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. Send her a picture and a song and she's bound to write a story about it. And yes, that's an invitation.
Other Books Available From S.A. McAuley
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the release day of Powerless, book three in the Borders War series… where we will be revisiting Powerless and finding out a little bit more about two characters that have without a doubt stolen my heart AND Macky’s… Merq & Armise… Book boyfriends, these two are at the TOP of our list!!!
We will be gifting to TWO lucky readers, a kindle eBook of One Breath, One Bullet and Dominant Predator, the two books that make up Volume One of the Borders War series. So 2 winners, 2 books. All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win.