The story is very long, and at the beginning it runs separately for the two main characters: Yveni is the heir of the duchy of Sardelsa, but when his father dies, he is too young to take the throne, and the regent decides to get rid of him; before the plan takes out, Yveni runs away, disguising himself as the poor son of a trader. At the same time, in a near kingdom, Paole is assisting his dying master; Paole is a slave and before arriving under the protection of his Master, he has seen many owners, and not all of them were good. Paole has developed an hard shell around him, and not even the gentle behavior of his last Master helped him to trust again. Even the fact to discover that his Master has freed him and made him his heir is for him another proof that he was only a slave, since his Master didn't trust him to be enough faithful to remain with him as a free man.
Spending his first year alone allows Paole to understand the need of company that his Master had, and Paole, that was taught as an healer decides to take an apprentice; and instead he finds himself with a slave. In his flight from the man who wants him dead, Yveni was kidnapped and sold as a slave. Even if he is almost 18 years old, Yveni seems younger and when Paole buys him, he thinks to have a little brat in his hands, not a young duke. Paole is not a noble man, but he has his principles; he likes men, and I have the impression that he like very young men, but he accepts their attentions only when they are given freely: being Paole an handsome man, and having very useful knowledge, when he is travelling from town to town, he is not against the idea to accept a different sort of payment for his services from the young men he meets.
Yveni doesn't know what to think of Paole; at first he sees him like a profiter, but more time he spends with him, more he is attracted by the older man. Yveni is very young, and he is very innocent, he was never awaken to sexual desires before; maybe he is attracted by Paole only due to the fact that Paole is there when Yveni starts to wonder about his sexuality, or maybe Yveni starts to feel something since Paole is the right object of his desires, and he has never before met someone else he was attracted to. Anyway there is a bit of sex in the story, but not so much, it's more a question of feelings and how to deal with them. The problem is not much that Yveni is attracted by Paole (it's not exactly explained, but I believe that in this fantasy world homosexuality is not common but not illegal), but more that Yveni is a Duke and he needs to marry to have an heir. And maybe another problem is that Paole, in their relationship, is the top dog, and being only a "consort" to Yveni is not enough for him: Paole is tired to be a "slave", he finally has the freedom he always wished, and now it's not simple to loose it to be again the "property" of someone else, if if this time it's a love bond.
I like how both characters change during the story, at first both of them are quite the imperfect heroes, one, Yveni, a spoiled brat, the other, Paole, a man who seems unable to have real feelings. The story is very long, also in a time space parameter, it lasts two years in the life of the characters, and so it's only right that they change during it. For Yveni it's also a natural change, he passes from being a teenager to being a man, and instead for Paole it's more a thing to understand what is really important in life.
Amazon: Many Roads Home
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