A brutal war left Volos Perun with physical and emotional scars and with a reputation as a hero. Now he's a soldier stationed at the palace, desiring Prince Berhanu while receiving only loathing in return. But when Berhanu foolishly refuses the king's request to let Volos accompany him on a peace mission to the neighboring country, Berhanu is kidnapped and brutalized. Now Volos must risk his life as he works to save Berhanu and help his country avoid another devastating war.
©2014 Kim Fielding (P)2016 Kim Fielding
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"A story of love, honour, and bravery"
This story was written as a part of the Goodreads M/M Romance Group’s Love’s Landscapes event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors selected a photo/prompt that spoke to them and wrote an accompanying short story.
I enjoyed this beautiful tale of honour, bravery and love. It is set in an alternate world, the Kingdom of Weydata, which is sort of a mix of medieval and Georgian times with fantasy. There are stage coaches and inns, fortified castles and sword fights, kings and princes, mention of wars and political intrigue. There’s no magic or fantasy creatures, so the world Kim Fielding created almost appears historical. I particularly liked that a person’s sexuality and partner were not an issue in this reality. Any relationship was accepted without question and seen as commonplace. The sights and sounds of this kingdom ooze from the tale, painting a clear picture of life for these people. There's plenty of details about the culture and costumes woven into the story, which we see as events unfold.
This enemies-to-lovers story follows Volos, a war hero and guard in the king’s castle, who willingly risks his life to rescue Berhanu—the rude prince who apparently despises him—after he is kidnapped while on a secret peace/trade mission to a neighbouring country.
The journey and search for the prince culminates in a tense and exciting rescue. There’s a gang rape scene during this time that Volos’ witnesses. I’ve wondered about the purpose of this plot point because Berhanu appeared to suffer only from the physical after-effects of this ordeal. I think it helped the two men connect because Volos had received similar brutal treatment previously while in prison. Perhaps it was also there to justify Volos’ slaughter of the captors.
Volos ensures Prince Berhanu succeeds in his original peace mission and gradually the prince moves from treating Volos with cruelty and contempt to showing him love. Their early sexual encounters are very much like their relationship—rough and desperate. Yet as they become friends they gradually grow closer. There’s more tension when the two men return to the castle. But we are treated to a happy ending which includes a beautifully romantic scene. I liked Volos’ noble character from the start and gradually came to like the prince as he showed his more tender and compassionate side. I did wonder early on if Mato, the innkeeper, would win Volos’ affections. Mato now has his own separate love story.
With all the unusual names and places, this was one of those stories where I was glad that I’d read the story first and seen the words before listening. Not that the story was difficult to follow. Greg Tremblay gives a steady and professional performance as always. His voice is generally clear and easy to listen to, with plenty of emotion where needed, which helped me picture the characters, events, and places. I found one or two of his character voices were a little inconsistent at times, though, which threw me. Some had a cross between an Irish and a Scottish accent, although it varied. Overall, it was a very enjoyable audiobook and one I will listen to again.
"Short but so poignant"
This is short, but oh, so poignant. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy this than as an audiobook. Greg Tremblay turns Kim Fielding’s powerful story into a living breathing piece of life.
Greg gives us each powerful emotion, uses appropriate and consistent accents, paces his voice to match the current tenor of the scene and presents us with a work of art.
The world building is delightful, with feisty women, evil, evil villains, a hero – who at first isn’t much of one – finding his redemption and then there’s Volos. He’s the perfect hero. Humble, unassuming, loyal and dedicated. He loves Berhanu without pause, no matter the circumstances or how he’s treated.
It’s a wonderful story – vaguely historical but in unknown lands – and has a HEA that is absolutely perfect.
Highly recommended – with a caution about a potential rape trigger – 5 of 5 stars.
"Not for the faint of heart"
This story is filled with ghastly, horrific tortures and evil intent. It is not for those who like their romances light and fluffy. There are few scenes that are wholly comfortable in the ways of traditional M/M romance tropes. The writing is outstanding. The characters are fresh and not the usual images we see in M/M writing. In fact this is more of a gay love story hidden in a fantasy historical book. Excellent narration and a happily ever after ending.
"Outstanding Story and Superb Vocal Performance"
Guarded is one of the best audiobooks I've listened to so far, and more than worthy of the highest possible praise.
I would compare this to The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton and Romanus by Mary Calmes. All are historical romances, some with fantasy themes, and all are very well-written with outstanding voice actors performing the narration.
Mr. Tremblay's portrayal of the main characters brought them to life with such vivid detail it evoked deep emotion in me as I listened to the painful journey these two men undertook toward what I kept hoping would be their HEA.
I would take Volos to dinner to speak to him of his worthiness, courage, and strength in the face of insurmountable obstacles, both before and after the rescue he undertakes in this story. I'd also want to help him feel light-hearted for one evening and maybe even see a smile on his face.
Thankfully, there is a happy future for these characters to look forward to, but it's a painful journey to get there. Every moment was attention-getting and memorable. Highly recommended.
"Amazing world building!"
There is some amazing world building here. Kudos, Kim Fielding!
Volos has admired Prince Berhanu for a long time, but Berhanu's obvious loathing keeps Volos at arm's length. When Berhanu is captured it's Volos who saves him, at great risk to himself.
A word of warning - there are some pretty brutal scenes in this story. The first half of this is harsh. I imagine reading it might have been a little more subtle, but Greg Tremblay is a master of his craft, and he infuses such emotion into scenes that it was pretty hard to listen to at times.
Trigger warning: Rape.
I loved listening to this story of two men who have both been through unspeakable horror and pain who learn to open up to each other and share their hearts.
Never fear, though, folks, even though the first half is dark, the second half is all about healing and there is a pretty wonderful HEA waiting on the other side and the best bonus is you get to listen to awesome narration too!
Bottom line? Kim Fielding knows how to spin a yarn and Greg Tremblay knows how to weave it. Really well done, all around.
"Wonderful story and performance"
Loved this in e book format and even more as an audiobook! Volos is a palace guard who is secretly in love with Prince Berhanu. However, Berhanu treats Volos like crap for a reason revealed later in the story. When the Prince is kidnapped while attempting a peace mission, Volos volunteers for a suicide mission to save him. This is not an easy book to listen to as there is a rape scene. Through Volos and Berhanu's shared pain and trauma, their HEA is achieved. It is a wonderful story of love and hope and Greg Tremblay gives a great performance.
"Okay story, fantastic narration."
Somewhere in the middle. It was enjoyable due to great narration, but I can't say I'd listen to it again.
I have and I quite liked them more so than this one. I think I couldn't really follow the story that well, and it took me a while to get over my dislike for the hair apparent.
Volos. My heart broke for him with the continually "come here, no, go away, wait, come here" that Berhanu put him through.
Nah, it was just okay.
"Loved Greg Tremblay's Performance"
This story seemed much longer than just three and a half hours. The story is told in first person POV by a palace guard, Volos. The narrator did a great job of conveying the thoughts and emotions of Volos. Good world building but be warned: there are several rape scenes which, although part of the plot, may be too dark for some readers.
The candence was nice and it was clear. It made the story enjoyable and I could have happily sat and listened to the narrator all day.
The story was interesting. This descrimination Volos experienced and him just living through it showed how strong a person he was. The fact that he never flew off the rail helped build up his character and I kind of grew attached to him because of it. The prince wasn't very likable. That being said his rape was a bit hard to hear about. Volos kind of bearing witness was also a bit harsh to stomach.
Their coping mechanism left a bit to be desired since the two were hurting each other.
I also wished that the innkeeper Mateo (not sure of the spelling because it was in audio) had had a chance. I kind of hope there would be a side story for him.
"I really enjoy this in ebook and audible"
Yes it's very short and easie on the ears , the narration is very well mached to the story.
It reminded me of Pacat's Captive Price
Yes,he is one of my favour narrators and when the story is well mached he shines!
The book was great to read and if you like this book you'll like the audible
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