Author ~ Kayla Jameth
Publisher ~ Dreamspinner Press
Published ~ 8th December 2014
Genre ~ Historical M/M Romance
Spartan Love: Book One
The Epics of Apollo's Men
Alone, Andreas toils on a remote farmstead for a Spartan overlord. When a kryptes enters his world, Andreas fears for his life. The dread warriors stalk and kill helots—like Andreas' father—as part of their training.
Andreas sees only one way to save himself: he must tame the fearsome warrior.
But what began as self-preservation develops into attraction. Yearning for the company of someone other than his ferret, Ictis, Andreas decides to trust the Spartan warrior and risk the fate that claimed his father.
Born to rule by the sword, Theron sees the world as his and acts accordingly, taking everything Andreas offers and reaching for more. However, love between men in Sparta is considered shameful and requires either exile or suicide to redeem Sparta’s honor. Now, only the gods can save them from the terrible price Sparta extracts from men who desire other men.
In a nutshell, Andreas is a helot (a race of people the Spartans kill for training/sport) who lives on his own. He keeps out of the eyes of the Spartans for fear of being targeted. Theron is the Spartan warrior who has been trained to take what he wants. When they encounter each other, the feelings between them transport them to places laws deem illegal.
When reading this book, for the first few chapters, I found it beneficial to have Google to hand on a separate device. There are reference pages at the back of the novel, but going back and forth between the two was a pain. Alternatively, of course, you could familiarize yourself with the terms before starting the first chapter or go with the confusion and plod on. The rewards are worth the effort as it doesn’t take long to get into the swing of who is who and of what race.
The unusual, yet authentic names are a touch hard to pronounce, even in the head. You won’t find a name like Bill in this story. But, it all adds to an ambiance that will take you back to a world that can now only be found in books and on the big screen. I am a fan of the films 300, Alexander, and the old Hollywood greats, and my home library has a section dedicated to stories of this era. So, when I saw this series, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them.
Reading, A Spartan Love, created a war of its own within me. There were parts of it I loved and parts I got frustrated at.
After the first chapter, I was almost salivating. The scene setting was utterly brilliant and the characters, awesome. Andreas has such a gentle soul; I just wanted to munch him. Ictis – the lovable ferret is a star. He brightened every scene he was in. As for Theron, in character he is almost the opposite of Andreas, but still likable. Charis is... let’s just say, the perfect slappable irritant. The plight of wanting one another but having to keep behind closed doors is a classic and given the era being dealt with, this was sure to be an historical winner.
Coming back to the war aspect. The parts that irritated me were variations on the same phrases that popped up every few pages – like, constantly being told; they could be killed. After about the tenth time of reading it, and not being many chapters in, I got it, and my heart stopped pumping harder when I read it as the familiar words lost their potency. They could never be together, and how careful they needed to be – I got that too. And every time a man touches another, why does the phrase callused fingers have to be used. Please, any authors out there - get a little more inventive. Weather-beaten, seasoned, work- toughened, rough, hardened....
Anyhow, gripe over.
A Spartan Love expertly dealt with growing up in such an era, and how children were made into warriors. It was a brutal life. So, given how Andreas and Theron were raised it was no wonder that when they were apart, they did a lot of soul-searching and examination of their situation – almost to the point of obsession. Though, no matter what, they couldn’t stay apart – an element I found endearing.
I am in awe at the depth of research that has gone into this book, it is phenomenal, and while I believe a few parts should have been different, it is still a good start to the series. Book one finishes in a way that requires a sequel.