Lying With Scorpions
Title : Lying With Scorpions
Series : Memory of Scorpions, Book #2
Author : Voinov
Publisher : Riptide (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Fantasy
Length : 268 pages (e-book)
Published : January 20, 2014
Rating : ★★★★★
If you lie with scorpions, you’d better have a taste for poison.
Now that Kendras’s lover Adrastes has claimed the throne of Dalman, Kendras is tangled deeper than ever in politics and intrigue. As the new leader of the Scorpions and Adrastes’s one true friend, he and his men stand between Adrastes and those who wish him dead.
And many do. Adrastes openly challenges the ocean priesthood for power while establishing himself at court and brokering with the realm’s various factions. He means for the Scorpions to become a fearsome legion again, but Kendras must first learn how to be a good officer and recruit to replace the fallen. His choices will determine the future of a group steeped in hundreds of years of history and tradition.
As both Kendras and Adrastes settle old scores, a new enemy arises in Commander Graukar, a war hero loyal to the old order. In his formidable mountain fortress, Graukar may hold the balance of power. But while Adrastes aims to either rule or destroy Graukar, Kendras finds himself doubting Adrastes for the first time, and sharing more with Graukar than he ever thought possible.
“Lying With Scorpions” starts right where “Scorpion” left off. Adrastes is about to become king of Dalman, Kendras is his lover, Kendras is now the Officer of the Scorpions, and the Scorpions are acting as Adrastes’ personal guard. Kendras is content but wary. He has faith in Adrastes built from years following his orders while he was the Officer. Kendras wants to believe all the little things that are bothering him aren’t real or are simply not what he fears. First and foremost he has to protect Adrastes in the time leading up to his coronation. The citizens of Dalman aren’t embracing Adrastes wholeheartedly, nor are they openly rebelling against him. After learning of a possible plot among the generals of Dalman, Kendras decides to take his new recruits up into the mountains for initiation. Adrastes is pressuring Kendras to increase the size of the Scorpions and Kendras will be able to meet one of the military heroes of Dalman, Graukar. When Kendras does finally meet Graukar it’s not as he originally intended. The newest Scorpion had a bad reaction to the scorpion sting that is part of the induction ceremony. Kendras arrives at Eagle’s Test, Graukar’s command, needing medical care. He’s not as easily able to learn about Graukar as he wished. What he does learn when he finally meets the man isn’t what he quite expected. Graukar is a well respected commander because he’s a really great guy. His troops look up to him because he’s worthy of their respect. Kendras finds himself respecting and admiring the man as well.
Kendras and his new Scorpion return for Adrastes’ coronation. All goes well and there is a surprise visit from a Jaishani representative complete with a Jaishani legion. Adrastes is now king and Kendras is finding he wants less and less to do with him. Kendras no longer considers himself Adrastes’ lover and has begun making his way to Graukar who was commanded to attend the coronation. In addition to this change, Kendras receives life altering news from the Jaishani. He also has to reconcile himself to the fact he must stand up to Adrastes who does not seem to respect the fact Kendras is now the Officer. Adrastes attempts to continue to command Kendras and direct the path of the Scorpions in ways the Memory never detailed. Kendras is at a loss and has nowhere to turn but to Graukar. They become secret lovers and confidantes.
Adrastes destroys the Ocean priesthood with the help of the Jaishani. He accomplishes his goal, but he instills fear in the hearts of his own citizens and his neighbors in Vededrin. An attempt on Adrastes’ life has many of the citizens questioning whether or not they want Adrastes to survive. After learning more about Adrastes, Kendras also finds himself questioning his desire to have Adrastes live to be king. Despite Adrastes’ protestations he won’t be a tyrant, he’s shaping up to be exactly that and Kendras may have just sent him medical treatment that may save his life.
This book affected me. It wasn’t unlike complicated jazz music or a Bergman film. It’s not something I would classify as enjoyable, but it was a masterwork of storytelling that left me feeling wasted. I was so hurt by the person Adrastes proved himself to be. Whereas I could easily read a book from his perspective and understand his motivations and love him as a character, the pain he caused Kendras in proving he wasn’t the man Kendras thought was stunning. Kendras fell in love with the Officer and has learned Adrastes is someone else entirely. It hurt and was so appropriate. To add to the depth of the pain, Adrastes seemed hurt at the deterioration of the relationship as much as Kendras. Both men became entranced with someone in a specific position. When that person was no longer in the same position everything was over. It was never love. It was adoration.
As with my review of “Scorpion” I left significant quantities of detail out of my review. So much happened in this book. Kendras is no simple soldier and never really was. His life is becoming more and more complicated and the man who simply wanted to rescue his Officer no longer exists at all. Kendras new problems are still as small as seeing to the men who serve with him in the Scorpions but they are also now as large as familial alliances with a foreign power. In some ways there was very little action in this book but Kendras whole world view was changed. He experienced a seismic shift and has to deal with the changes. I am dying for the next book to see how he does so.
Rated 5 stars by Faye