Series: Captive Prince #1
Published by Berkley on February 4, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Romance, M/M Romance
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From global phenomenon C. S. Pacat comes the first in her critically acclaimed trilogy—with a bonus story.
Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.
Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.
For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…
Erin: Captive Prince Volume I by C.S. Pascat is a story that is part fantasy and part historical (I think). Set in the city of Vere, the book begins with a military coup the ends up with Damen otherwise known as Prince Damianos of Akielos being given to neighboring and enemy Prince Laurent of Vere as a slave. To say that it feels like you’ve been dropped mid scene with the opening words is an understatement. From the very beginning the aura of political intrigue is present, if not overwhelming at times.
Through the interaction of the first characters we’re introduced to, we understand that Damen’s brother has killed their father, the king, and ascended to the throne as the rightful heir … now that Damen has been disposed of. Drugged and abused, and also chained and imprisoned, Damen arrives in enemy territory confused and intent on escape.
There is much world building that needs to be established in order to give the reader a real feel for the setting, building that leaves a bit to be desired. I found myself often confused and had to continually flip the pages to figure out who was who. With little to no backstory at the beginning, it was difficult to follow they why’s and how’s of what was going on. As the story progressed, I was able to get a feel for the motivations of the main characters as well as the plot of the book.
If you are looking for romance, or even some erotic romance, this is not the book for you. Laurent is cold, calculating, and almost evil, and Damen is definitely not at all interested in pleasure, forced or otherwise. These two can barely stand to be in the same room with one another, let alone have any chemistry whatsoever. This is only Book One of a trilogy so maybe the relationship will progress into something romantic, but as this book ends, I don’t see how. I don’t always have to, or even enjoy, sex in the books I read, but I do need to see a connection at the very least and in this book, I just didn’t feel it.
I did enjoy the political intrigue … to a point. Once I was able to discern who was who and belonged to which kingdom, I was engaged. C.S. Pacat’s writing is solid, and I found myself not wanting to stop until I knew how the book would end because I was interested to see how things played out. If you enjoy worlds full of palaces and kingdoms and battles and servants, then give Captive Prince a try.
I wanted to write the book that I wanted to read. I love high stakes and books that sweep you away– adventure, swordfights, chases, escapes, true love, intrigue, and homoerotica, themes of sex, power and sexuality.
Princes fascinate me, not in the fairytale sense of the glittering Prince in his palace. I like princes because they must displace someone else in order to become king, they are in a constant state of becoming, they are liminal. Displacement is at the heart of a prince’s story to me, and I was immediately caught up by the idea of a prince who becomes a slave.
The scene in book one that I most enjoyed writing was the scene in chapter three, in which Laurent calls Damen into the baths, and orders Damen to strip and to bathe him.
The main challenge of that scene was that it was the first time Laurent would have to go toe-to-toe with Damen and stay on top. He had no guards or chains or weapons. He and Damen were just two men alone together, literally naked before each other. And Damen was by far the more physically powerful. Yet Laurent had to hold his own, and dominate, with nothing but his mind. That is quintessential Laurent but it was the first time that I was writing it, and the first time that the reader was seeing it.
Damen is a warrior hero and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. He is a born leader and protector, but he can see things only in black and white. He’s like Alexander, cutting through the Gordian Knot. Don’t mention the war.
Laurent is the Prince of Vere and Damen’s deadliest enemy. Cool, intellectual and manipulative, he is beautiful and dangerous. An “ice prince” and a Machiavel.
What’s sexy is highly subjective, but I think it’s important that if you are writing content that is darker, more graphic or more disturbing in nature, that you face it unflinchingly, and without trying to elide over what is difficult about it.
Orbis non sufficit.
I like characters who wear their damage as strength, even if it alienates them from people around them, Lymond from Dunnett’s series, Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica, Faith from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
I have an up-and-coming mini-project that I can’t announce yet -but it is Captive Prince adjacent, and I’m ridiculously excited about it. Stay tuned!
Rather than a specific question, I know that some readers can feel shy especially at events, so my wish is that they feel free to ask me anything, since I love talking with them.
***About C.S. Pacat***
C.S. Pacat is a Melbourne writer. Her first series, the Captive Prince trilogy, began its life as an original web serial. Self-published in 2013 to critical and commercial success and acclaim, the Captive Prince trilogy was acquired by Penguin and will be published worldwide in 2015.
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