Author: Tali Spencer
Publisher: Resplendence Publishing
Length: 244 Pages
Category: Fantasy, Alt U
At a Glance: I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend this series for those who enjoy both M/M and M/F stories.
Reviewed By: Carrie
Blurb: Imperial captive and former Sebboyan prince Peta Kordeun has one great wish: to meet Darius Arrento, conqueror of his country and a man he has idolized since childhood. That wish comes true the day the Uttoran emperor assigns Peta to assist the artist who will be painting the great general’s official portrait.
General Darius Arrento would rather take a crossbow bolt through his flesh than sit for a portrait, until his friend the emperor forces his hand. The notorious artist, Brazzi, uses semen and other sexual fluids to bind his colors—and Arrento is captivated by the artist’s pretty helper. Before long he is driven to possess the gorgeous young man who draws battle maps and whose naïve charm has won more hearts in Uttor than Arrento has won battles.
When Arrento learns that Peta, the slave he covets and wants for his own, is one of the despised Kordeun princes, he storms from Uttor toward a far corner of the empire—where he quickly finds himself embroiled in a plot to tear Uttor’s empire apart. His emotions and loyalties frayed, the great Arrento is in the battle of his life…and Peta may hold the key to his survival.
Review: The Pride of Uttor series is phenomenal. For anyone who loves fantasy, this series is a must read. Tali Spencer is one of a select few authors who can write M/M and M/F and do both with equal aplomb. There are both kinds of books in this series, and it is refreshing to get the narratives of the characters whose stories need to be written to tell an overarching tale of a kingdom and its subjects.
Peta is a Sebboyan prince. He is also a slave to the King of Uttor. On the day that Peta is condemned to become a mute and blind acolyte for the Prophet Siler—a fate chosen for him by an older brother when his father would have killed him outright for being gay—Sebboy is overthrown by the great general Darius Arrento for the kingdom of Uttor. Chosen with his sister to be a personal slave of the king, Peta finds himself in a precarious situation—with a foot in two worlds, he is royal and yet not. Peta, however, navigates this dichotomy with relative ease, and proves his worth by his innate humbleness and sharp mind. A scholar and student in his former life, he loves maps, especially battle maps and the peculiarities of war and strategic battle plans. He has long studied the marches and battle plans of all the famous generals of his time—notable among them, Darius Arrento. Peta has almost a hero worship for the man who wields such a strategic mind. When the King of Uttor asks him to assist in the making of a portrait of General Arrento, Peta cannot say no, even if the assistance it requires is rather odd.
General Darius Arrento has a particular personal disliking for the Kordeun family. When asked by his king to overthrow the kingdom of Sebboy and the Kordeun family, he is more than happy to do so. In his opinion, all things or people Kordeun should be shot, or at least put in shackles for the rest of their lives. When, after his successful campaign his king asks him to sit for an official portrait, he cannot say no. Little does Arrento know that the minutes sitting for said portrait will become some of the most erotic and sexually challenged moments of his life to date. Oh, those portrait minutes… Tali Spencer does a great job of writing those minutes, which become charged with sexual innuendo and exhibitionism. By the time the portrait is almost done, Arrento is fully in lust with the servant who aides the painter, not knowing that the servant is Peta and he is a Kordeun prince. But the portrait is just the first part of this book, and what follows is how Arrento and Peta dance around each other, learn to trust each other, and ultimately, learn to love each other.
This series is about the Kingdom of Uttor and as such it would be best to start with the first book of the series and read them in order. Then and only then do you get the full scope of the world/kingdoms/empires that Tali Spencer has created. However, each book can stand on its own. If you prefer to read just one, I would say read this one. The relationship that develops between these two men, and the political scheming and storyline, are particularly well written in this installment of the series.
The first part of the book is all erotic foreplay, setting you up for the second half of the book, which really digs deep and gives you the balance you need to believe these men can come together the way they do. There could have been a touch more romance in the second half, but ultimately, you need the background, the setting and history of the country—both topically and societally—to make this pairing work. Neither man is weak, neither are the secondary characters around them, and they all require a strong storyline to give them life. Darius Arrento has to become more than just a general, and Peta has to become more than a beautiful, if royal, slave.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend this series for those who enjoy both M/M and M/F stories. I have found a new go-to author in Tali Spencer to satisfy my fantasy/romance book cravings. Well done!
You can buy Victory Portrait here: