Reviewed by Heather C
Author: Lisa Henry
Heroes: Kynon & Brasius
Genre: M/M Historical
Length: 61,391 words
Publisher: Loose ID
Release Date: July 19, 2011
Available at: Loose ID, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: When the fearsome warlord Brasius chooses Kynon as his tribute, Kynon tells himself it’s the price of peace, and that he can endure anything. If his slavery will save his father’s kingdom, then he will be a slave and submit to every indignity the warlord and the senate of Segasa require of him. He can live with the shame; it’s the mind-blowing pleasure that frightens him.
But the warlord wants more than a tribute who will respond eagerly to whips and bondage. The warlord might just want the man underneath: the prince, the soldier and the tribute, if Kynon can figure out who that is. On an enforced journey of self-discovery, Kynon learns that being the warlord’s tribute isn’t just about submission. And, to be the tribute that Brasius wants him to be, Kynon will have to defy all the traditions of Segasa and risk the wrath of the senate that really holds his chains.
Publisher’s Note: This book is primarily LGBT m/m but contains one or more scenes of m/f sexual interaction. It also contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: strong BDSM theme and elements, dubious consent, violence. Readers with a history of rape or sexual abuse may find elements of this story disturbing.
Before Tribute, my only experience with Lisa Henry was The Island, which I really didn’t think was all that difficult to read since all the “bad stuff” happened off the page. All I had heard about Tribute was that it was WAY more graphic than The Island. And from reading the blurb (yes, I read the blurb), I had a few hints of what I should expect: a little rape…a little torture…how bad could be, right?
“There is no price too high to safeguard the crown.”
Kynon, a young soldier and third son of the king of Caralis is signed away as a tribute to Segasa to ensure the safety of his father’s kingdom. Invading warlord Brasius chooses Kynon and Alysia, as his tributes and they immediately begin their training under the hand of Mistress Hera. Humiliated and violated, Kynon quickly succumbs to the sexual pleasures, but continues to fail at his duties as a tribute. As Kynon fights to keep his identity, he’s caught between Mistress Hera, the Segasa senate and his increasing attachment to his master Brasius.
“To make a man submit,” Brasius said, “you first have to know yourself. The limits of your own cruelty, of your own passions. Your own tolerance for pain. You have to learn to read a man. One day, tribute, you’ll see the look on a man’s face as he fights himself to obey you.”
I really liked this book. The entire concept of taking the tributes really intrigued me. Even though what the people of Segasa were trying to accomplish was completely depraved, I can see where they thought it was the right thing to do. It was ritualistic and based on tradition; there were rules to be followed and lines never to be crossed. Then Kynon comes along and rules get broken and lines get crossed. Someone will have to pay the price.
For me, the romance/relationship fell a tiny bit short, even though there seemed to be a HEA. I recognized and felt a connection between Brasius and Kynon, but all I know is Kynon. I know next to nothing about Brasius. He has a daughter. Who is she? How important is she to him? He is a warlord who overtakes other kingdoms? Why? For his dedication to Segasa and his duty to the senate? Or for his own gain? How did he get to that position? Some of that could have been revealed if there were ever any conversations between Brasius and Kynon that didn’t include “suck my cock, boy”, “come for me, boy” and “yes, Master”. I wanted to see them getting to know each other beyond master/tribute and for longer than just two or so pages at the end.
There was a vagina in this book! Yes, there are girlie bits so all you vagina-phobic people beware. Alysia’s place in the story was crucial to Kynon’s journey. She was his childhood crush, his friend and fellow tribute. She was there with him chained to the bed sharing his shame, keeping him from suffering though his humiliations entirely alone. So blacking out the female parts would have been senseless. Besides, it was kinda hot…
It was brutal. It was graphic. And it didn’t hold anything back. But in the end, I can’t say it pushed too many of my boundaries…except the fisting!! No, that is NO place a fist should ever go!
Recommended…although I’m glad I had a reading buddy!
Overall Impression: I Really Liked It
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*