Title : Scorpion
Series : Memory of Scorpions, Book #1
Author : Voinov
Publisher : Riptide (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Fantasy
Length : 268 pages (e-book)
Published : May 27, 2013
Never stop fighting.
Kendras is a casualty of war: injured, penniless, and quite possibly the last surviving member of the only family he’s ever had—the elite fighting force known as the Scorpions. When a steel-eyed mercenary offers him medicine and shelter in exchange for submission and a secret task, Kendras has no choice but to accept. He is a Scorpion; he’ll do whatever it takes to survive.
But his true goal is to rebuild the Scorpions. Neither Steel’s possessive nature nor Kendras’s shattered foot can keep him from finding the last of his brothers, or the mysterious leader of the Scorpions, the man who held Kendras’s heart long before Steel tried to take it for himself.
The goal is simple, the situation anything but. To rescue his leader and escape from Steel for good, Kendras must fight through a morass of politics and intrigue where enemies may be allies and even allies have hidden agendas. But Kendras isn’t only fighting for his lost lover and tribe—he soon realizes that nothing less than the birth of an Empire is at stake.
(Note: This is a revised edition of Scorpion, originally released in May, 2011.)
In the interest of full disclosure I will state for the record I have grey eyes.
Kendras is wounded and separated from his comrades in arms. He finds himself willing to accept prostitution to stay alive. The grey eyed man who bought Kendras is getting him medical attention and wants to take him to a place he can rest and get better. Grey Eyes, whose name is actually Steel, also wants Kendras for sex. Kendras is most concerned with what happened to the rest of his fighting unit and their Officer. He leaves his newfound safe harbor and goes to Fetin, the site of the battle, to find his comrades and superior. Some of the men from his unit, the Scorpions, are dead, but Kendras does find some still alive and being taken care of by one of their own. He is distraught at being unable to find the Officer. Kendras rapidly gets over being distraught and gets pissed off when he notices Widow, one of the men from Steel’s band of mercenaries, has been sent to fetch him. Well, that’s certainly not all Widow is doing. Widow only appears to work for Steel. He’s actually working for the government of Fetin who have employed him to find the Officer. Okay, there are certainly plans within plans.
Kendras is willing to go back with Widow so he can help the Officer escape. He returns to find a righteously pissed off Steel. Steel appears to have taken Kendras’ defection personally. Kendras is beaten then allowed to heal. Eventually he begins to train again as he is needed for something. He continues to have a sexual relationship with Steel. Steel and his band of mercenaries are heavily involved in the politics of Dalman. They’re involved in the succession of kings. Kendras was recruited because of his physical similarity to someone able to get close to the king of Dalman. When close, Kendras is easily able to kill the king. The Officer was being held prisoner in Dalman as the Sacred Warrior. There is an interesting plot point about why they couldn’t kill him. After Kendras assassinates the king, he escapes with both Widow and the Officer. They make their way to Fetin where Kendras learns the Officer is actually Adrastes, the leader of Fetin. Kendras’ world is rocked. He’s in the middle of a war between Dalman and Fetin, he’s lost his Officer, the only man he’s truly loved, and he’s having to build the Scorpions back to fighting strength. It appears the only thing he has to help him is the written Memory of the Scorpions. With the weight of the world on his shoulders Kendras has to figure out how to keep his beloved Scorpions in his life while staying at Adrastes side.
This book was long and chockablock with information. The three societies had distinct social customs although all were feudal governments. The court intrigue and politics were excellent. I always enjoy political machinations in a book, even in a small group which this book also had. I liked the concept that Kendras was a witness to most of the events but not actually a primary actor in them. Consequently, it easily allowed him to be someone fully able to downplay his own role in the lives of others. This was especially important in his relationship with Steel. I found Steel to be a heartbreaking character. He was marginalized for having grey eyes, forced into a life of nefarious actions by a corrupt religious system, and fell completely in love with Kendras. Kendras came to the conclusion he couldn’t respect Steel as he didn’t have the same moral certitude as the Officer/Adrastes. Steel never had a chance to be perfect! He didn’t grow up as Fetinye royalty! Anyway, I would like to see Kendras deal with at least some of that in future books.
I’m certainly hoping for the sequel to this soon. It ticked off all the boxes for what I consider to be an excellent book. All the boxes but the one that bumps it up to five stars. I don’t get that; I should have loved it more. I feel weird saying that. Whatever. It’s fantastic world building, good political intrigue, and a good romance. I’d also like to stress I barely described this book in my synopsis. So much happens. To say it’s information dense is almost understatement. If you’re looking for a read you can immerse yourself in with some angst but primarily military overtones this is certainly it.
Rated 4 stars by Faye