Title: The Knife of Narcissus ~ Part 6
Author: Carolyne Chand
Release: 20th October2014
Genre: M/M (Historical)
The cargo Lucius has smuggled into Rome for his brother-in-law Aulus is enough wealth to power an army, bringing them both to the attention of the imperial family. Now Lucius stands in a precarious position between two dangerous princes, poised to be either a favored courtier or an inconvenience marked for disposal—and forced to navigate his way through the same sexual intrigues Aulus has hinted that Trio, the man Lucius loves, has joined.
Trio is still a Gordian Knot Lucius intends to cut open. Knowing now that Trio is caught in more than an unmanly, un-Roman love for a friend, Lucius sets out with him and their two attendants on the search to find Velleia’s missing slave.
In the remoteness of the Campanian countryside, under looming, smoke-shrouded Mount Vesuvius that commands the skyline, Lucius intends to devote himself to refueling the flame he knows still burns between him and Trio. Nothing will stand in the way...except perhaps Arpalycus, the handsome and tempting slave who has become for Lucius much more than servant, far more than confidante.
I don’t know much about crazy Roman Emperors apart from the fact that several of them were all a little lala, but their sons are definitely one sandwich short of a picnic that’s for sure and dangerous to say the least.
Lucius and Aulus have to go and meet Titus Flavian Vespasian eldest son of Ceasar, due to Aulus and his wealth that could possibly be seen as a threat to the imperial family. What a game of cat and mouse this was, it really felt like two mice being eyed up for lunch by a big predatory cat. Carolyne brings across this thin line between life and death that such a prince would hold in his hands and it didn’t help that they all seemed to be a little on the crazy side. Every word would be analysed and weighed, you would have to choose your words very carefully. This was esepcially the case when Lucius was called to meet Domitian the younger son of Ceaser that due to his position is even a more dangerous snake than Titus. In the meeting with Domitian I must admit that I broke out in a sweat for Lucius as he tried to circumnavigate the traps that Domitian set for him. He is caught between a rock and a hard place and has to be careful to balance out two competitive factions. A dangerous game indeed, let alone the sexual escapes of the younger prince. As to where all this will lead I guess we’ll find out.
He also sets out to find Valleia’s slave and takes Trio with him. Trio tries to get out of it but is given no option by his parents. I loved this part of the book, Trio is hurting, so confused and conflicted within himself it’s going to take a very patient Lucius to get Trio to accept the love that he is offering let alone try and make a go of some kind of relationship. It was excruciating to read how Lucius would do anything for Trio in trying to make Trio understand how much he cares for him. So is there light at the end of the tunnel? Well, in this part Lucius at least manages to get closer to Trio and they at least begin to talk to each other, but as skittish as Trio is I feel Lucius still has a very long way to go before Trio feels comfortable with the whole idea if at all. Well, off to the final part and keeping my fingers crossed.
Series Reading Order and Release Dates
In keeping with the serial flavour of the story, I will be reading the series and reviewing the following books in the series on their respective release day. Also Carolyne will be accompanying each release with a guest post on some aspect of Roman life – can’t wait! I’m sure it’ll be absolutely fascinating.
Release: 24th August
Guest Post: Why a Serial?
Lucius Sentius, along with most people in the city of Rome, assumes that the debauched and chaotic days of Nero are behind them now that Rome has settled down under a sober new ruler, Vespasian. Lucius may be only the son of a merchant, but his newly arranged marriage to an older widow will bring powerful connections and an enviable life. If he keeps himself on a respectable path.
That seems impossible when he discovers that his heart lies somewhere not at all respectable: his lifelong friend Trio, the reserved and serious son of one of the most reserved and pious families in the city.
As Lucius is pushed along the course of duty to family, to his promised spouse, and to Rome itself, he begins to see under the surface of his city, into a net of intrigues, manipulation, and corruption that can carry him upward in status and and bring him what he most wants...or destroy both him and the people he loves.
Release: 8th September
Guest Post: Digging Out the Details ~ Delicious and Dangerous Roman Cookery (with a recipe for ancient cookies)
Lucius Sentius had always assumed the debauched and corrupt days of Nero were over. He was wrong. Being celibate and sober may be good for the reputation, but it’s a dead-end path for an ambitious Roman looking to rise to wealth and power in the city.
His friendship with the man he loves has been broken by the flare of passion between them, his wife has a better command of his household than he does, and gossip around the city about his hedonistic lifestyle is growing faster than any actual attempt to be wanton. When his new brother-in-law hires him to take on a mysterious task for a powerful, unidentified patron that requires someone willing to set aside all scruples, Lucius throws himself into a chance to prove his worth.
It’s enough to make a man turn to the gods for help. In Lucius’s case, the one goddess who seems to listen—to the right sort of worship—is Venus....
Release: 22nd September
Guest Post: Digging Out the Details ~ Clothing, What Does a Roman Wear Under his Toga or How Do You Get Him Out of It?
Lucius Sentius, son of a prominent merchant, ambitious young Roman himself, and exemplar of the new generation in a newly strengthened Empire, is building a reputation. Mostly a terrible one, and mostly thanks to a possibly insane poet who has taken an interest in elegizing his allegedly wild ways in graffiti on toilet-house walls.
Notoriety will only keep the man Lucius loves away from him. Trio has fled the city, leaving a tangle of half-truths between them, sending baffling missives. The answers the gods seem to be making to Lucius’s prayers are only more knots to unravel.
Lucius is determined to set at least one part of his life and reputation right—his marriage bed. A few rehearsals first with appropriate teachers seems to be the obvious solution to get past his hesitation. But life and love are never as simple as he would hope. And his wife, Velleia, has plans and secrets of her own.
Release: 6th October
Guest Post: Dub-con, Non-con, and Writing About Slaves in Historical Fiction
The quest to find his wife’s lover has embroiled Lucius Sentius in corruption and debauchery at a high level. The men he must confront are tied to the emperor, and the price of their help involves a strange game of humiliation. The corruption of a city that shrugged off mad emperor Nero, and replaced him with a new brand of decadence, fits Lucius like a well-draped toga. If he’s willing to wear his new guise.
Velleia has been carrying a secret not so different than Lucius’s own: love lost to distance and circumstance. To help the wife he now respects, he will have to take the risk of becoming the man his reputation claims him to be.
His brother-in-law Aulus’s secrets are just business: a shipment of smuggled goods that is drawing Lucius ever more deeply into dangerous intrigues. And looming over it all, Trio is due to return to the city of Rome.
Whatever secrets Trio is carrying have built a wall of thorns between him and Lucius, a wall Lucius is no long sure he has the means to tear down. Lucius may already be what Trio feared he would become. Revealing the truth of their lives could be too painful for both of them.
Release: 20th October
The cargo Lucius has smuggled into Rome for his brother-in-law Aulus is enough wealth to power an army, bringing them both to the attention of the imperial family. Now Lucius stands in a precarious position between two dangerous princes, poised to be either a favored courtier or an inconvenience marked for disposal—and forced to navigate his way through the same sexual intrigues Aulus has hinted that Trio, the man Lucius loves, is also a part of.
Trio is still a Gordian Knot Lucius intends to cut open. Knowing now that Trio is caught in more than the guilt of unmanly, un-Roman love for a friend, Lucius sets out with him and their two attendants on the search to find Velleia’s missing slave. In the remoteness of the Campanian countryside, under the looming, smoke-shrouded mountain that commands the skyline, Lucius intends to devote himself to refueling the flame he knows still burns between him and Trio.
Nothing will stand in the way...except perhaps Arpalycus, the handsome and tempting slave who has become for Lucius much more than servant, far more than confidante.
Release: 3rd November
Guest Post: Put on Your Party Toga ~ It’s Saturnalia Season and The End of the Serial.
Lucius Sentius, along with most people in the city of Rome, assumed that the debauched days of Nero were long behind them. He was wrong.
Swept into the sexual games of powerful men, he has had to navigate intrigues, lies, and rumour on his path to status and respectability. Torn between reputation and love, ambition and obligation, his heart still lies somewhere not at all respectable: a very un-Roman love for his very Roman friend Trio, the sort of relationship that only the most powerful—or the most ignored—may have.
In the course of a summer Lucius has gone from curious innocent to devoted worshipper of Venus, following both his heart and other instincts. But his dedication to the goddess stands between him and what he truly hopes to win. In the remoteness of the Campanian countryside, Lucius tries to refuel the flame between Trio and himself.
He is no longer the person who fell in love. But neither is Trio...
About the Author
I write things. Strange things. A few short stories have been published under other names. I’m working on a choose-your-own-darned-path adventure set in ancient Rome, because I just can’t get enough of that setting for some reason. I’m tiptoeing around self-publishing a Rome-based naughty novel called Knife of Narcissus. Two other stories set in the same world, but with different characters and at different places on the timeline, are mostly written.
Against everyone’s better judgement, I spend a lot of time writing about swords and sandals. Sometimes I write about Revolutionary War vampires, cross-dressing girl pirates, and elves in spaceships, too.
Connect with the Author
Carolyne will be giving away one ebook copy of The Knife of Narcissus Part 6. Just enter the Rafflecopter draw below. Good luck X
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