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Let's Get Medieval by Jardonn Smith

It's not simple to write something on this book as a whole since it's not a whole; they are two completely different stories, not only on the setting, but also on the emotional impact they had on him.

The Tortured Secutor is setting in Rome in 270 A.D.; Artimos Traius is the doctor who tends to the gladiators in the Colosseum. Of Greek origins, his great-grand father was personal  physician to Emperor Trajan, but also a slave. He was freed by the Emperor at his death, and now Artimos' family is leaving a respectable life in Rome. Artimos is the last of his family, has a comfortable house near the Colosseum and indulges in his love for the men among a strict circle of friends. He doesn't flaunt his homosexuality, but who is near him knows.

During the execution of his duty, to examine the new slaves to become gladiators, he meets Philokrates. Philo was a freeman from Macedonia, but he was unfairly framed of a crime and sold as a slave; despite all the things he has suffered, Philo maintains a proud behavior that attracts Artimos. Even if Philo is proud, and strong, he is of a lower class than Artimos, and this difference will characterize their relationship: Artimos takes care of Philo, he tends his injuries, worships Philo's body as he would do with a wonderful example of human body. Artimos is attract from the strenght and body of Philo, and Philo let him being so. I don't think Philo having a preference between men or women, probably in his mind he has never thought to have a choice, and so when Artimos takes care of him and shows such a love for his body, Philo accepts it without questioning if it's right or wrong, without questioning their difference in social status or in age.

There is a lot of sex, as always in a Jardonn Smith's book, very direct and explicit, almost bared, but it's right like that since reflects the feeling I had of Artimos and Philo's relationship, very based on their physical reactions. Artimos treats Philo like a coveted prize, worrying to have someone to tend him during the day while he is at work, and then worshiping his body by night, with physical therapy and sex, two things that almost mix in one. Even if in a strange way, I think there is a romance between Artimos and Philo, even if it doesn't follow the usual rules; the passion between Artimos and Philo is strong but silent, no many words are needed, the bodies can speak for them.

Amazon: The Tortured Secutor (A Boner Book)

The Bishop of Grunewald is for me very much more difficult to like than The Tortured Secutor. First of all is not a single story between two, or even three men, but it's a intertwined story of different couple in different stage of relationship. At first we meet William and Jonathan, living in a medieval small village. Best friends for many years, William comforts Jonathan when he is forced to marry Helena; Jonathan wasn't even interested in the woman, but he was deceived. What is the relationship between William and Jonathan? At first it's not clear, and the jealousy of Helena seems unjustified. Both William and Jonathan are handsome and good-looking men, but maybe Jonathan is neglecting his wife, or maybe Helena is only a very greedy woman... in a way or the other Helena decides that she is bored by his husband, and when she is rebutted by William, she sets her eyes, on William's younger brother, Tobias, an innocent soul William is trying to protect from everything and everyone.

The village where they live is ruled by Peter Sion with the help of the Bishop of Bethune, Frederick. Helena frames William of raping her with the help of Jonathan, and has both men arrested. Bishop Frederick seems not really interested in making William and Jonathan confess their sins, and leaves the men in the hand of Peter. Peter is a sadist who is leaving in an open menages with Otto, called the little bull, and his two cousins; Peter is fascinated by William and Jonathan, by their strong bodies and even stronger wills. Peter doesn't want to break them, he wants to play and drive them to the edge of sanity. He knows, or at least hopes, that both men are strong enough to bear all he will bestow to them and being even stronger at the end. Peter is not even interested in having William and Jonathan as his for ever, he is quite content with his little bull, Otto. Meanwhile William and Jonathan are going through their unfair torture (unfair since they are not guilty of what Helena accused them, but are they really innocent?), another true comes ashore: Helena's obsession, young Tobias, is not only her. Bishop Frederick has his own plans on the young blacksmith, and now he has the chance he was waiting to reach for the innocent soul. It's quite a bad joke that the real sinners, at least at the eyes of God, are of no interest for the Bishop, and instead he is obsessed by the only innocent soul of this book, Tobias.

All right, at this point you have understood that The Bishop of Grunewald is a saraband of stories and all of them centered around one only emotion, Lust. There is again a lot of sex, this time even more explicit, almost raw and painful, more pain than pleasure aimed to force men to admit their true nature. It pushed a bit my boundaries, and if I'm true, I liked more the first story than this one, maybe also since The Tortured Secutor has a full setting even outside the relationship between the main characters, the Roman Empire and its corrupted society, where connections and money make the difference between being a man or a slave; instead the Bishop of Grunewald has almost a claustrophobic setting, the dungeon and the private chambers of the manor, it seems like there is no life outside.

Amazon: The Bishop of Grunewald: A Tale From the Dungeon (A Boner Book)

Amazon: Let's Get Medieval: Jardonn's Erotic Tales - Two Books In One - The Tortured Secutor - The Bishop Of Grunewald

Reading List:

http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
elisa_rolle
Apr. 11th, 2009 06:44 pm (UTC)
Actually you can ;-) This book is a self published collection by the author, both book were previously published are single titles by Boner Books. This is the link of the The Tortured Secutor:

http://www.amazon.com/Tortured-Secutor-Boner-Book/dp/1934625337
erastes
Apr. 11th, 2009 07:34 pm (UTC)
I found it so awful I haven't been able to actually publish a review on it yet.

*glum*
elisa_rolle
Apr. 11th, 2009 07:45 pm (UTC)
As I said, the second story pushed a bit too much my boundaries, but the first one was more simple for me to like, as I said I managed to find a some sort of romance between the two main characters. Maybe if the second story was splitted in more books, and every couple was more developed...

And probably, as always in this type of novels, I faced them in the wrong way, since I try to find romance where maybe there isn't. Or at least where romance is not the main aspect.

Elisa

Edited at 2009-04-11 07:46 pm (UTC)
whereisrikki.blogspot.com
Apr. 11th, 2009 08:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this review. The first story sounds ok, but I'm always for full-blown romance, so I don't think this is my kind of story. The second one sounds plain awful and mind-boggling. So I think I'll give this one a pass. Rikki
elisa_rolle
Apr. 11th, 2009 08:34 pm (UTC)
No Rikki, if you are for a full-blown romance, I don't believe that this book from Jardonn is for you. But for me Jardonn is able to write romance (even if a hard edged romance), I remember with pleasure his story in the Hard Working Men Anthology, and the anthology is also a LAMBDA Award finalist. Elisa
jardonnsmith
Apr. 11th, 2009 10:10 pm (UTC)
Brutally Priceless
Elisa, you've done it again. Your honest impressions are invaluable to readers and writers alike. And with your honesty you captured the gist of my Bishop story -- the bad joke -- Bishop Bethune busy making his play for Tobias while his best friend Peter tortures people in the dungeon below.

It seems my fantasy men don't dwell on romance outside the bedroom, and in the bedroom they speak more with actions than words. I like it, so I write it, and thanks to your review people can decide whether or not my men are for them.

Thank you, Elisa!



elisa_rolle
Apr. 11th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
Re: Brutally Priceless
Actually I believe you can write romance Jardonn, if you want ;-) As I said, the first story has a taste of romance, maybe the type of romance of the era in which it's setting.

The second one... no, I believe it's not romance, but you are right, readers have the right to know, for understand if the book is for them or not. For some that say no, I believe there are others who don't say anything, but buy the book!

Elisa
jardonnsmith
Apr. 12th, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Re: Brutally Priceless
I know you know I can and have, example being your review of Hard Working Men. This proves you cannot be tricked, Elisa.
elisa_rolle
Apr. 12th, 2009 08:14 am (UTC)
Re: Brutally Priceless
You make me feel like an old clever fox LOL I'm more of a Leo, impulsive and stubborn ;-) Elisa
(Anonymous)
Apr. 12th, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
Someone's horrible, someone else's wonderful
You are to be commended, for not the first time, Elisa, for being willing to introduce writers of different styles and genres to your readers. Jardonn's work always has been a favorite of mine, even before he joined me at MLR Press (where our anthology, HARD WORKING MEN, with J.P Bowie and Victor Banis is on this year's short-list for a Lammy). --If his books are no more for everyone than some of mine are, they do have a loyal following. And everyone, except for readers stuck in a rut, would do well to give his writing at least a try, somewhere down the road (variety, after all, the spice of life). Who knows but that someone, with enough daring, may -- gasp! -- like it! --Always lovin' you, of course! William Maltese.
elisa_rolle
Apr. 12th, 2009 08:17 am (UTC)
Re: Someone's horrible, someone else's wonderful
Yes I know William, as I said I really believe that, for someone who comments saying that they are not up for the book, there are others, and maybe more, who buy the book without saying nothing.

With my review I tried to convey what I like and feel of this book, but I believe that Jardonn, and you, well know that the second story is very hard edged; instead The Tortured Secutor was more of my like.

Love you back, Elisa
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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