Rangers, by Nate Tanner
An imaginative adventure reminiscent of Lord of the Rings meets Harry Potter…
Story blurb: When the notorious ranger Kjartan Torncloak turns up wounded on the doorstep, Skinker betrays his hated master and helps him escape. Before the ex-slave knows it, he and the ranger are on the run together. Now, Skinker’s only hope of survival lies in a man with a thousand dark secrets — and a thousand kinds of bad luck.
Skinker soon finds himself desperately attracted to the older man. But how can a shy, useless ex-slave impress a cold, stern hero who only respects strength? And what about the mysterious, undead evil that hounds Kjartan’s footsteps, plotting its cruel revenge…?
A grim, haunted wanderer. An ex-slave struggling to believe in himself. To win their desperate battle against darkness, these two men — one proud, one humble — must learn to fall in love as equals.
About the Author: Nate Tanner was born in Iowa in 1980. His Zodiac sign is Gemini. He realized he was gay on the day he turned 18.
After living a freewheeling lifestyle in his 20s, Nate decided to share his experiences with the world by becoming an erotic fiction author. He writes in spare moments at his day job, while by night he can be found prowling the Midwest for cute boys.
Review by Gerry Burnie
I was in the mood for a gay adventure story this week (not an easy genre to find) when I came across Rangers, by Nate Tanner [Nate Turner, 2013]. Now, to begin, I don’t generally read fantasy novels, but there was something about this novel that caught my eye. Perhaps it was the zany names, like “Kjartan Torncloak” or “Skinker,”—I find authors don’t tend to give enough attention to the names of their characters; or maybe it was the adventure element of being on the run through a mystical land with a handsome, rakish outlaw, but once I read the story blurb I was in.
I mean, who wouldn’t be?
I am also happy to say that I was not disappointed. Once the character of Skinker was established—that of a defeated slave in the hands of a villainous master—his unexpected meeting with the roguish Norse ranger seems almost heaven sent. It is likewise where the novel is concerned, too, for it is this their meeting that begins an adventure reminiscent of Lord of the Rings meets Harry Potter.
In this regard the authors certainly doesn’t lack imagination, for along the way they encounter all manner of elves, dwarves, talking squirrels, ghosts, etc.—haute fantasy with a touch of dark side.
The romance between Skinker and Torncloak is charming enough, though, for it is this that helps Skinker emerge from his shell to become a mature and independent individual.
Altogether, this is a well crafted novel with loads of imagination, albeit bizarre at times, but to the author’s credit he holds it to pieces together remarkably well.
On the minus side, there is some ambiguity regarding whether it is intended to be a young adult or adult novel. Certainly, there are elements that would make it a superb young adult tale, apart from the sexual content; however, if is the latter that places it well within the adult classification.
Otherwise it is a great read, and just the right length to keep the pace crisp. Four solid bees.
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