The Gladiator’s Master by Fae Sutherland and Marguerite Labbe
Historical M/M Romance
September 19, 2011
I have to thank Jen from Red Hot Books for recommending this book to me. When she said the words, male/male gladiator book, I ran to NetGalley as fast as my fingers could type.
Caelius is a Roman politician who after his uncle dies, inherits a ludus, or a stable that houses gladiator slaves. These gladiators though are in no fighting condition. Due to years of neglect and abuse, the men are thin, hurt and barely holding on. Although Caelius recognizes them as slaves, he also wants to treat them as human beings. He gives them medical care, baths, and food. And eventually, gets them into training again.
One of the slaves catches Caelius’s eye. Gaidres was forced into slavery when the Romans came through and decimated his town, and murdered his lover. Gaidres wants revenge – and has his sights set on Caelius. It was Caelius’s uncle who murdered his lover, and now Gaidres wants his entire bloodline wiped out – which means Caelius is next on the list. But Gaidres sees the way Caelius looks at him – and he can’t deny that his lust perks at his glance.
Gaidres decides to bide his time and indulge in pleasure with Caelius, getting closer and closer to him which will give him more of an opportunity to kill him. But as they spend their nights together, Gaidres starts to realize Caelius
The Gladiator’s Master starts off with some very hot sex scenes – and they have a nice twist. Although Gaidres is the slave, Caelius is the one that wants to submit – and much to Gaidres’s surprise, he is allowed to be the dominant in the bedroom. No worries, though because soon Gaidres gets over the initial shock of being asked to be the penetrator, and he realizes Caelius is serious and this is not a trick. Although Gaidres is quite reluctant to pursue these sexual encounters, they start to develop a relationship. And Gaidres makes it no secret that he wants to kill him, but Caelius trusts him enough to realize Gaidres will not carry through with the threat.
Gaidres is the one in this book that really must make a change. Caelius inherently wants to see the good in people, and because of that – this allows him to want to move Gaidres from slave status to lover. Gaidres is so hesitant to trust and has s so much anger inside of him, he is the one that must convince himself he has has a life to live.
I found Gaidres to be a very intriguing character. Caelius didn’t quite enamor me the same way – he sometimes straddled the line of being a slave owner – too graciously. I wanted him to have a little harder edge. I also thought while the beginning is fun, and intense, the story drags a lot through the middle and becomes slow stagnant. By the end I believed in this HEA and the idea of gladiators and this setting make it a fun read, but I think it was a little too long to keep my full attention.