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