Author: Joan Kayse
Genre: Historical Fiction, Rome
Release Date: December 1, 2012
Reviewed by: Jasmyn
Rating - 4
Sexual - 3
Book Two: The Patrician's Fortune - Review
Jared of Alexandria shuns both his Roman and Hebrew blood, a curse that’s kept him on
the fringes of society, to become a powerful and successful merchant prince. When his trading empire is threatened by an unknown enemy who not only wants to see him ruined but dead as well, he uses every means to put an end to it. He turns to a beautiful barbarian seer, a slave with hair the color of firelight and eyes that shine like emeralds only to be betrayed into a fate worse than death—slavery.
Bryna of Eire lives each day burdened by the yoke of Rome and her own guilt for leading her beloved brother and clansmen into Rome’s clutches. She curses the gift of sight which her master exploits, keeping her under lock and key, telling fortunes and fattening his purse. When an opportunity to be freed of her confinement comes, Bryna takes it, though her instincts warn that lying to the sensual, golden-eyed man that plagues her visions risks her very soul.
Betrayed into slavery, Jared labors under the lash envisioning revenge on the seer who sent him into this hell. But when fate throws Bryna into his arms, he finds exacting vengeance a different matter. As they escape, evade bounty hunters and face their pasts, Jared must battle not only his enemy but his heart. Can the differences that separate them draw them together to save their lives and their love?
This series does not need to be read in order to enjoy them. However, Jared and Bryna do play a fairly important role in The Patrician's Fortune and it was great to see their story.
Bryna is a slave. Her "barbarian tribe" was captured and sold in the slave markets of Rome. A beautiful woman doesn't usually last long there, but her brother had the fore sight to brag about her powerful visions - ones that would disappear if she were violated. So instead of entering a brothel as a prostitute, she enters one as an oracle with services for sale. I love how Joan Kayse set up the back story. It became a seamless part of the current story, revealed in small ways that led to a great understanding of the position Bryna found herself in.
Jared, on the other hand, was not a slave. At least not at first. He was a customer - and the lies Bryna tells him lead to his capture. Through a series of events and sales, they find themselves working for the same master on a secluded estate. This is where the story hit a little hiccup for me. I know the Roman empire was vast, but I would have thought someone, somewhere in one of the markets would have recognized one of Alexandria's most prominent merchants. This thought popped up several times in their journey. But putting that aside, the way they were brought together was brilliant.
Jared and Bryna both have the same basic goal - escape. Each with their own motives. I love how their relationship grew so gradually that neither one even realized it at first. They are torn apart several times, but somehow always managed to find themselves together again. The end of the story ends with several fantastically moving scenes between them and with the "bad guys". I just wish Jared's history had been a little bit easier for me to believe.