Formats available: ebook
Genre: paranormal romance, M/M romance, fantasy
Series: Demons of Elysium #2
Length: 386 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Date Released: April 29, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Belphagor can seduce demons with a look and bring angels to their knees with a single motion, but when it comes to being in love, the Prince of Tricks is out of his element.
At every turn, Vasily rebels against the discipline he claims to want, even refusing to use his safe word. But when Belphagor uses a scheme to shut down an underage brothel to test Vasily s limits, he loses Vasily s trust along with the boys he intended to set free.
Uncovering a smuggling ring that spans two worlds, Belphagor calls on a team of Nephilim mercenaries to rescue the Lost Boys from earthly gangsters. But his relationship seems beyond repair and a heartbroken Vasily beyond his reach in the arms of a sensual demon named Silk.
Belphagor has more than enough grand schemes up his sleeve to bring down the smuggling ring for good. But when it comes to putting things right with Vasily, his bag of tricks is empty. Except for trust and a plan to teach his boy a lesson neither will soon forget.
Warning: Contains two strong-willed lovers who will test the theory that without air, there can be no fire. Expect plenty of smoke, more than a few mirrors, and an old-fashioned Russian duel. You may need a shot of vodka when you re done reading this one!
King of Thieves continues the emotionally explosive prequel to Jane Kindred’s amazing House of Ark’hangelsk trilogy. I don’t think it is possible to read King of Thieves, or you certainly lose the emotional impact, if you haven’t read Prince of Tricks. It’s even better, although not strictly necessary, to read the fall of the House of Ark’hangelsk, as told in The Fallen Queen, The Midnight Court and The Armies of Heaven.
But if you enjoy fantasy romance, particularly on the erotic side, why ever would you deny yourself such a marvelous treat?
The story that underlies King of Thieves is in the concept that nobility can be found in the darkest of places, and that evil can be discovered where there should be nothing but light. A grand game of not judging the book by its cover.
Belphagor is the demon whose heart lies at the center of all the books in this series so far. Prince of Tricks and King of Thieves, along with the forthcoming Master of the Game, are the story of how the demon becomes the person who saves the House of Ark’hangelsk, and with it, the supernal realms.
By the time of King of Thieves, we have someone who uses everyone and everything around him to achieve his ends. But those ends are not as selfish as they often appear to be.
He is also not used to having anyone he cares about enough to worry about their opinion of him or feelings about him. Even though in Prince of Tricks, he admits that he loves the firespirit Vasily, Bel has no understanding that loving someone means considering their feelings and letting them in.
A lot of the time that the story of King of Thieves is taken up with the mess that Bel makes of his relationship with Vasily, and vice versa. They both work together and against each other as they tug violently at the intensity of the bond between them, something that neither of them has ever experienced before and that they can’t seem to find a good way of working out.
And sometimes Bel really is an ass.
But there are much bigger fish to fry, and in a way that forcibly reminds the readers that the supernal realms are not the world we know, and the morals and prohibitions that hedge the human world do not exist in Raqia.
The sex trade is quite legal, as long as all the parties are of the age of consent. It is also quite legal for demons to sell their children. But those two things are not supposed to work together. Someone is selling children into sexual slavery, and Bel is determined to put a stop to the traffic.
No matter what it costs him in reputation, money or even Vasily’s trust. Something that he doesn’t realize he can lose, or that it’s a price that will be much too high to pay.
Escape Rating A: Belphagor says in the story that “There are worse things to lose than one’s good name.” Not that he has much of a good name, but there are some things he will not consider. Leaving demon children in slavery is one of those things.
The plot to expose the ring of slavers and the angelic purchasers who support the trade is long, convoluted and utterly fascinating. Even though Bel only reveals his inner self in very tiny bits, we see that the core is utterly protective of those he considers as under his protection–something that seems to include more of the demon enclave of Raqia than anyone who knows him would imagine.
He lies, manipulates, steals and nearly gets himself killed in order to save those children. But he’s so busy with his plots that he almost loses the love that makes life worth living.
What fascinates about Bel’s relationship with Vasily isn’t necessarily the sex, although that is plenty hot and laced with a kind of exchange of loving punishment that both consumes them both. It’s watching the way that trust, and the lack of it, drives them to both excesses of pride and intense doubt. The many variations of the ways that they love and hurt each other is riveting, but it’s the exchange of trust that turns out to be everything.
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