Title: Hector and Anatolius (Trojan Men: Book One)
Author: Vanessa Mulberry
Publisher: Brasyer Press
Pages/Word Count: 98 Pages
At a Glance: A sweet and angsty twist on the legend of Hector.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Hector has been a dutiful son and prince his whole life until his father orders him to marry. The Trojan was meant for no woman, and when he meets a handsome youth named Anatolius, he is more determined than ever to rule one day with a man at his side. However, after he is betrayed by his brother Paris his fate seems unavoidable. Hector needs all the courage he has learned in battle, and the assistance of a goddess, to win the hand of the man he loves.
This is a gay (MM) romance novel set prior to the events of the Trojan War. It depicts romantic and sexual love between two men in a broadly tolerant society.
Review: In her debut novella, Hector and Anatolius, Vanessa Mulberry gives an M/M twist to the legend of Hector, Trojan prince and Troy’s fiercest warrior. In Greek mythology, he was married to Andromache, a woman, so my reasons for choosing to read this book owe a lot to my curiosity for how the author would spin the relationship between Hector and Anatolius without dismissing Homer’s canon.
Hector’s characterization as considerate and noble is true to his legend, but tempering that he also comes off as petulant at times, especially in his relationship with Paris—the antagonist in the story—which is also true to legend but for reasons that fit this storyline in particular. There is a prophecy at work here, and fate will have her way whether the humans in her path wish to fulfill it or not. And it’s Paris who stands directly in the way of Hector getting what—or whom, rather—he wants.
Anatolius is our outlier here, the new player in this romantic legend. Prophesied to marry a prince of the Trojan royal family, Anatolius threw the fates a curveball by being born male. He and Hector meet under rather inauspicious circumstances, but their attraction to each other is immediate. There are some obvious and insurmountable obstacles to their being together, however. Not the least of which is that they are both men, which means what has been prophesied must be a mistake.
The gods are the background players in the story, though their actions and the consequences of their influence are felt, and are far reaching, especially that of the goddess Aphrodite who has gifted Paris with some bewitching qualities that wreak havoc on Hector and Anatolius’s budding relationship. This is the dramatic arc in the storyline—the effects of Paris’s machinations on Anatolius, and the sibling rivalry displayed in the ever present resentment Hector feels for Paris, the favored son.
Because this is a novella, there are time leaps used to get to the story’s resolution, and along the way there is a fair amount of emotional anguish—there’s lots of angst, in particular, when it comes down to the way in which the conundrum of the prophecy and its fulfillment plays out, but mixed in are also some sweet moments that help to lighten the overall tone of the story. I liked the way the author resolved things and feel it worked within the rules of its own mythology, which in turn made it an enjoyable little read.
You can buy Hector and Anatolius here: