Sandals and Sodomy (An anthology)
A erotic romp through ancient Greek and Roman history
Blurb: Greeks Bearing Gifts by D. G. Parker Young Antenor of fallen Troy faces violation and death, only to be rescued and enslaved by a gruff, older Greek, a hard-bitten soldier in the king’s good graces. What Antenor does not expect is Calchas’s good heart that sees him through shipwreck, marooning, and rescue. Troy Cycle by Dar Mavison When the gods abandoned men during the battle of Troy, the greatest of those men – Hector, Odysseus, Paris, Achilles – schemed to end the war. Amongst themselves they waged war both vicious and tender in a desperate attempt to achieve peace, a peace that for some would only be found in death, leaving others to discover it in new life. But no one would ever be forgotten by the other three. Undefeated Love by John Simpson The men of the Sacred Band of Thebes are remembered for their valor, their honor, their devotion to duty, and their great love for their partners. Alexandros and Agapitos found a place amongst them, but little did they know their love and sacrifice would face the test of war – and survive to shine eternally. Hadrian by Remmy Duchene Roman Emperor Hadrian is all-powerful . and alone. But when Antinous trespasses into Hadrian’s bath, the ruler’s eyes are opened to a whole new world of love. After the Games by Connie Bailey When the Emperor sends a beautiful concubine, Valerius, to the slave pens to slake the hunger of his fiercest beast, the fighter Alaric, he doesn’t anticipate that Alaric just isn’t interested. But to keep Valerius from being punished, the fighter keeps him close for one night, a night that turns from talkative to passionate. The Vow by Ariel Tachna Adrastos still mourns his dead partner and lover, and he has hardened his heart and spirit to any other. Knowing his duty to bond and train a soldier, he reviews a trio of Army recruits, but he insists he will not choose one. Eager to prove himself worthy to serve the Army and Aphrodite alike, Erasmos presents himself for the final test.and finds that he, the petitioner, is the savior rather than the saved.
Dreamspinner Press (July 15, 2008). 268p. Also available in eBook format.
Review by Gerry Burnie
“Greeks Bearing Gifts” by D. G. Parker
This is a look at the aftermath of the fall of Troy from a young Trojan’s point of view. Antenor is saved from a cruel fate by a high-ranking Greek officer, Calchas, and thereby becomes his slave. However, in a twist that I thought was somewhat contrived, Calchas treats Antenor more like a son (or an eromenos) than a slave.
Antenor gets a chance to repay this kindness when the two are shipwrecked on a deserted island, and Antenor saves Chalchas’ life with a suddenly revealed knowledge of healing herbs.
I found the ending equally implausible as well, so I will reserve my recommendation.
“Troy Cycle” by Dar Mavison
There have been many versions of the fall of Troy–an event shrouded in myth–as well as the exploits of Achilles, Hector, Paris and the legendary Helen of Troy. However, this version takes it well over the top with its dark interpretation of all these characters, plus Odysseus, King of Ithaca.
An ‘over the top’ interpretation is fair enough when dealing with a myth, but when revisiting the fall of Troy anything less than heroic is just too much of a departure to be credible—even in a ‘let’s pretend’ sort of way.
“Undefeated Love” by John Simpson
Alexandros and Agapitos are two noble-born youths who decide to dedicate themselves to each other, and are therefore invited to join the Sacred Band of Thebes–150 couples dedicated to one another to the death.
There are some good things to say about this story, including references to known historical facts. However, the two protagonists didn’t put me in mind of warriors of the period. Rather, they are lovers who fight as aposed to fighters who love. That, I think, is the essence of King Philip’s famous comment.
“Hadrian” by Remmy Duchene
For those who are looking for a one-handed read, Hadrian should do the trick for you. To its credit, however, it makes no pretence about being anything else.
“After the Games” by Connie Bailey
This is by far my favourite. Here is plot and character development that has some depth and sophistication even though it is essentially erotic. Alaric, a gladiator, has taken a vow of celibacy following the death of his lover, but is finally seduced by a young “pleasure slave’s” cleverly spun tales; somewhat reminiscent of Scheherazade.
“The Vow” by Ariel Tachna
This is a well developed story that pits a grief-burdened older man against a younger man’s determined desire to be his lover. Both characters are credible in their roles, and there is enough tension to make it more than just a romp to the sack. It’s a good read.
Over all I found most of the stories disappointing. Mind you I judge a book by its plot, and erotica just doesn’t compensate for the lack thereof. However, not everyone feels this way, and so I will leave it up to the readers to decide. Two and one-half bees.
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