Monday, November 03, 2014

The Knife of Narcissus Part 7 by Carolyne Chand ~ Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

The Knife of Narcissus 7

WOOHOO! ~ The final part and I’m so relieved. It has been a long journey but at last Lucius and Trio get their act sorted out and now nothing can stand in the way of their happiness. Check out my review below and reflection on the whole series.

Carolyne is also with us today and talking about Saturnalia. Don’t know what that is? then check out the guest post and cover reveal

To celebrate the release of the final part in the series there is a mega-giveaway! Carolyne will be giving one lucky winner ALL seven parts to The Knife of Narcisuss

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Put on Your Party Toga ~ It’s Saturnalia Season and The End of the Serial.

Well, it’s not quite Saturnalia yet. That Roman holiday doesn’t fall until the winter solstice. Saturnalia is the week leading up to December 25 on the Julian Calendar, a date that might ring a bell for some readers. But a little bit of celebration seems in order today, to mark the end of the seven-part serial journey.

My very first guest post here talked about why I’d tell the story in parts rather than in a single book, if I only meant to put them all together in one volume later. Sending The Knife of Narcissus into the world as a serial let me tell the story the way that felt most natural—as an ongoing summer in someone’s life with many highs and valleys and detours and surprises—rather than squeezing it into a typical novel arc. Along the way, I like to think I grew as a writer, and that the characters grew with me. They changed as the storytelling went on; they spoke up, made demands on the writer, became themselves. It wasn’t a static piece broken into parts, but a story that swelled into more and more life as it went along. I hope readers enjoyed the process as much as I did!

(And I’m pretty sure I’m not done with these guys yet.)

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to have a party.

It’s no surprise that deep December is when the Roman festival of light and merriment occurred. Many cultures have a holiday for the shortest day of the year, the longest and darkest night. Although it’s called by many names, and although its origin story has many different forms, and although the darkness may be taken literally or figuratively, the end result is the same: humans gather to call back the light. Romans, in typically Roman style, did it raucously, outrageously, and madly.

It wasn’t all drunken revelry—a religious element capped each end of the seven-day festival. Saturnalia was named for Saturn, god of the fields (with a nod to his consort Ops, personification of the land’s fertility and abundance). During the rest of the year, the ancient god in his ancient temple was wrapped with woolen cloth. He was set free for his festival, just as the people of Rome were set free from propriety. On the first day there were sacrifices and a public banquet, at the end of which the participants shouted the call of the season—Io, Saturnalia!—and took off to party themselves into the ground.

Candles burned, houses were draped with greenery and glittering decorations. Families gathered, gifts were exchanged, people wore their party clothes all day (except for when they were stripping them off and running around naked). For one holiday, slaves were treated as equals. For a few days, slaves could dare to make demands of their masters.

Which made Saturnalia the perfect name for a sequel novella for The Knife of Narcissus. It’s a present to readers who’ve been on the seven-part journey. And I’m very excited to reveal the cover here for the first time! It should tell you who the main point of view of the novella is (but a couple of other voices get to speak, too). Warning: the novella gets a little raunchy. With naughty language, carousing, and people who simply cannot stay in their tunics. But after all, it’s Saturnalia.

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Title: The Knife of Narcissus ~ Part 7

Author: Carolyne Chand

Publisher: Self-Published

Release: 3rd November 2014

Genre: M/M (Historical)

Rating:

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Synopsis

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...

Includes a preview of the sequel novella: Saturnalia. The final part of a serial novel in 7 parts. The Knife of Narcissus will be released in an omnibus edition of all 7 parts in December 2014

Mark’s Review

YEAH!! Looks like after all the trials and tribulations Lucius and Trio get their act together and get it sorted. I was so relieved as I was beginning to think there was seriously no hope for these guys and they should just give it up as a bad job. But thanks to Lucius, his patience and a bit of plain talking Trios defences come tumbling down and he can longer deny his true feelings anymore.

These two are so opposite it’s painful. Lucius so at home with his sexuality and his Olympic style sexcapades, but Trio still needed all this time to get his head around the fact that he really does truly love Lucius and now he as come to terms with that fact he also will not stand for second best. Trio I feel is still quite skittish and Lucius will only have to put one foot wrong and he’ll have problems with Trio again, but as long as he behaves himself than it should all work out. In this final part there is some pretty hot sexin going on between these two and what I liked was it was only between these two. This I think was necessary to cement their relationship and I don’t think it would have been appropriate to have Lucius shagging half of Rome if he’s going to win Trio over, the trusting soul that he actually is if not a little idealistic for this time.

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They find Ciso and return to Rome. When Valleia is reunited with her slave Ciso this was seriously one heart warming moment to behold. Now Lucius can breath knowing that Velleia has her lover and now they are quit so to speak.

As for what happens now, is there a HEA? Well, Trio manages to come with an idea that will mean they will at least be able to live together and that way still put up a respectable front when it comes to their respective businesses. As far as I’m concerned, yes all quite plausible for that time.

So lets take a look back and try to get the big picture so to speak. As I said I have no problems with serials if they are not released to far apart from each other as was the case here. If I had read this in an omnibus addition would I maybe have  viewed it differently? I believe that is really the main question. Well, to be very honest I don’t think so. I have given each part a steady four stars and when looking back for me personally this was the right decision as I feel that the whole book if read as one would still get a solid four stars from me.

Carolyne creates a wonderful Roman backdrop with great characters. There may have been a few points which I wished were developed a little more as I personally felt that they weren’t really concluded and left hanging in the air a little. How did things pay out between Aulus and Titus? How was his wealth really put to use in the end and with what consequences? Also Lucius’s position between the two Roman princes is left a little open. I also felt we could have had a little bit more about maybe the hurt and / or jealously that Arpalycus must surely be feeling now that Lucius is with Trio and he has been pushed firmly into the background again, slave or not. These are of course just a few personal point I felt I would like to have had just a little more closure on or development on.

However, I loved the way things played out with Velleia, at the beginning I didn’t trust her one bit and then when she starts to open up you realise that all this was just a screen to protect her emotions and that Lucius was vital to her HEA. As for Lucius and Trio it was a long journey but when they got their act together it was all the more beautiful and  sweeter for it. Lucius and Trio are very different in many respect which made for a captivating read, full of passion but also moments of real angst as to whether these two would even have a chance. I loved Lucius the most though, although with all his sexual adventures he still remains naive for me in certain departments, always meaning well but landing himself in tricky situations all the time. The characters are well developed, vibrant and all have their own personalities, no generic characters here for sure.

I loved this whole adventure from beginning to end and if the saga should continue then I for one will be definitely be tagging along for the ride.

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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.

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Release: 24th August

Guest Post: Why a Serial?

Mark’s Review

Synopsis

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.

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Release: 8th September

Guest Post: Digging Out the Details ~ Delicious and Dangerous Roman Cookery (with a recipe for ancient cookies)

Mark’s Review

Synopsis

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....

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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?

Mark’s Review

Synopsis

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.

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Release: 6th October

Guest Post: Dub-con, Non-con, and Writing About Slaves in Historical Fiction

Mark’s Review

Synopsis

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.

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Release: 20th October

Mark’s Review

Synopsis

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.

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Release: 3rd November

Guest Post: Put on Your Party Toga ~ It’s Saturnalia Season and The End of the Serial.

Synopsis

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...

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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

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | GOODREADS | TWITTER

 

Buy Links

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

All Romance Ebooks

Smash Words

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Giveaway

To mark the end of this great series with a bang then Carolyne has will giving one lucky winner ALL 7 parts to the knife of Narcissus. Just enter the draw below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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11 comments:

  1. I hadn't heard of this series before but it sounds great - thank you for sharing. Hopefully I win :)

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  2. I definitely need to check this out. Thanks for the giveaway :)

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  3. This is a new to me series and author! But i do love me some series! Thank you for the great post with the synopsis of each book. Will be checking this out.

    juliesmall2016(at)gmail(dot)com

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  4. Fingers crossed! I'd really love to be a winner and dive into this serial... Thanks for the chance.

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  5. this serial sounds awesome...so good that you've finally done the last part :)

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  6. sounds good and thanks for the giveaway

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  7. Thanks so much for the review...sounds like an excellent series!

    --Trix

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  8. Sounds awesome! Thanks for the amazing giveaway! anamaribelcardenas@yahoo.com

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  9. book sounds great and love the cover

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  10. Sounds like a interesting read. Thank you for the review.

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  11. Really excited to see read this, seen so many great reviews. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.

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