• The Traitor's Mercy

  • An M/M Dark Fantasy Romance (Starian Cycle, Book 1)
  • By: Iris Foxglove
  • Narrated by: Kris Antham
  • Length: 8 hrs and 51 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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The Traitor's Mercy

By: Iris Foxglove
Narrated by: Kris Antham
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Publisher's Summary

In the court of Staria, mercy is rarely a blessing....

Sabre de Valois is the last of his line. Saved from the gallows while his family hangs for treason, Sabre is given the chance to pay off their debt and clear his family name. To do so, he must serve as a courtesan in the pleasure district, but the only House willing to take him in and risk the disfavor of the king is the House of Onyx, which caters to the darker desires of the Starian noble elite. There, he finds his masochism is an asset, the courtesans are kinder than the nobles of the Starian court, and that he cannot help but be inexorably drawn to the owner of the House of Onyx, Laurent de Rue. 

Lord Laurent de Rue knows that love is dangerous. Abandoned in the pleasure district with no memory of his past, Laurent clawed his way to notoriety and earned his title through cunning and skill. He has seen love ruin the lives and ambitions of those he passed on his way to the top, and he has no intention of letting himself fall prey to the same mistakes. Yet he can’t stop himself from growing closer to Sabre de Valois, who loves so earnestly and so completely that even Laurent’s steel will is starting to break. 

But Sabre has secrets of his own, and when the machinations of the court threaten to put Sabre in danger, Laurent will have to decide whether he will risk it all for love, or let Sabre de Valois slip through his fingers. 

Please note: The Traitor’s Mercy is an m/m dark fantasy novel, set in a fictional world where everyone is biologically either a dominant or a submissive, and compelled to satisfy those urges. As such, the biological imperative kink in this story is pure fantasy, and not intended as a representation of real-life BDSM practices or dynamics. 

Please be advised that while this title features a happy ending, it contains darker elements that some listeners may find uncomfortable. It is intended for adult, mature listeners only.

©2021 Iris Foxglove (P)2021 Iris Foxglove

What listeners say about The Traitor's Mercy

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Listener received this title free

Really interesting concept!

This is a strange one? But I knew going into this that it was a dark romance and that is my thing, so I really enjoyed it! The worldbuilding also feels too vague to me at times, but it’s something I think we get more of a sense as the series progresses. This book contains intense BDSM scenes and consent is a grey area.

Trigger warnings include non-con, abuse, graphic violence, mentions of witnessing a suicide, hangings, knife-play, humiliation, gun play(?), and deaths.

The story starts off with a hanging. It’s a festive day for the city, and almost the entire city has turned out for it. On the gallows is Sabre, his mother, and his sister being hanged for being traitors. At the last second, Sabre’s life is spared, but only just. He’s taken in by the Lord who runs a pleasure house called the House of Onyx. The house is for clientele who have darker yearnings than what the other houses can offer. Lord Laurent de Rue was once himself a courtesan. He managed to pay off his debt at the House of Gold. He’s since earned himself a title and runs his own pleasure house, but maybe a bit differently and is a bit fairer to his courtesans than the other houses would.

There is a fair bit of political intrigue in between the sex scenes. I wouldn’t say this book was primarily focused on the sex, but it’s just a natural part of the way the story is told. Consent is definitely a grey area in this book, since Sabre really doesn’t have a choice in whether he wants to be a courtesan, and there’s certainly still the power dynamics at play with Laurent being the head of the brothel. I liked Sabre and Laurent well enough. And I adore the giant Dom and sadist of a man, Charon, who loves dishing out pain, but also loves cuddling with his subs afterwards. I love good aftercare and Charon is a darling. All the courtesans at the a House of Onyx are lovely. There are quite a few of them and I only wish we could have seen Sabre and Onyx interact more with them than we already do. In a very unconventional way, they’re all a little like a found family.

I’m not really all that familiar with A/B/O books, but I think this story kind of incorporates those dynamics into the way Dominants and submissives exist in this world? People in this book are clearly either a Dominant or a submissive by birth, and something they find out in puberty, if not sooner. People are labeled as such in casual conversations and this seems to be very reminiscent of Alpha and omega traits in this book’s story, minus the mpreg.

This is actually my second time reading this book since I read it for the first time in text. I was looking forward to the audio because I thought it could help with some problems I had with the writing. And it does! Kris Anthem is a new to me narrator and he does a really good job bringing this book and the characters to life. I really liked the voices he used for the characters. I thought it was really interesting to see that the sneak peak chapter for The Duke’s Demon (the next book) was included in the audiobook, as well as the author’s bio. That’s not usually something you see in audiobooks.

I guess my only critiques on the audiobook is the pacing? I can listen to audiobooks anywhere between 1.5x and 3x speed, but this one was slightly odd. There are moments where things are spoken too quickly and at other times, too slowly. So it was hard to pick a speed in which to listen to the audiobook and try to actually hear and understand everything that was going on.

One thing that was more of a surprise than anything is discovering how d’Hiver is going to be pronounced? I was definitely not expecting d’Hiver to rhyme with beaver. The audiobook pronounces the name as “dee-ver” and when I read the book, I was definitely thinking more “da-high-ver” so yeah. I had a bit of a time figuring it was Sebastien appearing in the scene when I heard the name the first few times.

The ending is very dramatic and everything is resolved quite quickly. It’s all resolved with a neat little bow as well. I would say this ends in a HEA (even though book 4 is about Sabre and Laurent again). The next book is with Devon and Duke Sebastien (and literally a demon who rides his soul!). Devon is also the villain in this first book. He’s one of many, but he ends this book quite hated, so I can’t wait to listen to the next book in audio since it’s one of my favorites in text!

***Thanks to the author for giving me the audiobook to listen and review!***

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Need more

Omg please let the rest have a audio version soon it was so good to listen too 😍😍😍

1 person found this helpful

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Listener received this title free

Very Unique World

This is a really unique world and story. The characters are amazing and I loved the story of Saber and Laurent. There's a few heavy moments in this one but overall it has a really positive and at times playful vibe. I absolutely adore all the courtesans at the House of Onyx along with Laurent's sister Rose. Everyone has a very unique personality and are really well flushed out. This world is influenced by Dom/sub personalities as they're part of people's biological makeup so there's a lot of kink throughout the series. It's all very well done and Saber definitely blooms under Laurent's skill.

The narrator definitely is amazing at bringing this world to life. I've never heard anything else by Kris Antham but they truly are one of the best narrators I've come across. Voices along with emotions were extremely well portrayed. I highly recommend the audio version and I can't wait to listen to more!

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LOVE

I absolutely love this story and I ADORED the narrator - fantastic job bringing this to life!

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  • Christina Azariadou
  • 01-08-22

What a treat

Story: 5 stars
Narration: 4 stars
Overall: 4 stars

Kris Antham is a new to me narrator and he was a revelation! A multitude of voices for the characters, accents, amazing pacing and sfx touches for things like when Laurent got glimpses of his lost memories and feelings coming through

What it was missing a bit though, and that might be a total ME problem, was the atmosphere, especially in the beginning of the story. Another thing is that as much as sfx was appreciated I could hardly understand what Laurent's mother was telling him together with the accent. Also I was completely flabbergasted with how de Valois was pronounced o_O.

As far as the story goes, this is a romance like no other I had read before. I love BDSM romances and this had all the things I enjoyed but it did push my boundaries, since I usually enjoy them between 2 exclusive partners. But the plot here is full of royal intrigue, betrayals, treason and secrets and it unfolded in such way that things needed to happen before the HFN/HEA was reached (I'm putting HFN because the 4th book is about the same couple).

Anyways, give this a try if you like things a bit on the dark side.