During the Civil War, two young soldiers on opposite sides find themselves drawn together. One is a war-weary, scholarly Southerner who has seen too much bloodshed, especially the tortures inflicted upon the enemy by his vicious commanding officer, his uncle. The other is a Herculean Yankee captured by the rag-tag Confederate band and forced to become a martyr for all the sins of General Sheridan's fires.
When these two find themselves admiring more than each other's spirit and demeanor, when passions erupt between captor and captive, will this new romance survive the arduous trek to Purgatory Mountain?
©2012 Jeff Mann (P)2013 Jeff Mann
I think the premise was potentially appealing but the overall story - as executed - left a bad taste in my mouth. I listened to the whole thing and it was no better at the end than it was 1 hour into it.
The reading was the best part - good use of voice and inflection.
It felt a little S/M to me - not quite sure what that brought to the party.
I can't add anything to previous reviews about the quality of the story itself, so I won't even try. Suffice it to say I agree with it all. I'll keep my review to the quality of the narrator. Not only does he get the accents dead right, but I could hear a distinct difference between the voices of the southern characters. There are parts where Naramore is voicing Drew, who has a gag in his mouth, and I swear he can express more emotion through muffled grunts than most people can with their clear voices. (I can't help but wonder if Naramore actually put a gag in his own mouth in the recording studio.) An especially memorable scene is where Ian is tending to Drew after a particularly cruel session of torture, and Drew has lost his short-term memory as a result. I closed my eyes listening to it and could imagine myself in Ian's place, Drew's head in my lap as he described how he felt, his voice slurred and scared.
Part of the quality of the narration is the quality of the writing. This is a book I downloaded without reading it first, and although physical books can easily move me emotionally and drag me bodily into the story through print, it is rare that a narrator can do so without my having read the book first. Mann is definitely an excellent writer, but without an equally excellent narrator the story would definitely lose something just being listened to.
Beautiful, brutal prose
When it was down to Ian and Drew face to face with Sarge and rat-faced George
Ian and Drew's discussions on why Ian needs to see his Goliath controlled, and why Goliath Drew is "just a scared little boy inside".
I only laughed when Drew asked if he was "doing it" right, bless his heart. Otherwise I found myself emotionally invested in both Ian and Drew.
There are no more flattering comments that I could possibly add to the other 4- and 5-star (book) reviews of Mr. Mann's superb writing and his admirable talents with similes; he'd turn one every so often that had me think, "Wow, that was perfect." But I really want to recognize Mikael Naramore's superb narration. He puts you into Ian's mind. His pacing is perfect - slower during Ian's pensive, plotting moments; faster of course during sex scenes; and peaking during life-and-death situations. His drawled pronunciation of "Vuh-GIN-ya" is spot on. His voice characterizations are excellent and stopped short of being over the top: Ian's brusque war-weary tones; Drew's deep baritone; Sarge's downplayed arrogance and haughtiness; sweet but naive Rufus; and rat-faced George... If you didn't already despise George as a character, Naramore's interpretation as a grating, loud-mouthed, abrasive hypocrite should seal the deal.In the end, we're left with some unresolved items on the checklist, most notably Drew's promised reward to Ian, and a long trek offering potential encounters with both "Yanks" and "Rebs"; one only hopes those are part of a sequel.
I'd waited until the last minute to select a few books for a long trip and would probably have passed this by if I'd had more time (not really into pain). The book is so much more than just a story about two guys into BDSM.The story is hauntingly beautiful, intense, provocative, often disturbing, and impossible to put down.
The historical setting & insight we're given into the thoughts and actions of the characters. The unexpected plot twists showing our capacity for hope & kindness even in the face of adversity.
The narrator is incredible! One of my initial concerns after beginning the story was if the deep south, Virginian accent would get annoying after a while. No worries. Mr. Naramore has quite a range of voices for the characters. I'll just come clean and say he has one of the hottest voices I've ever heard.
This book is all about extremes but ends with love and hope.
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