Erryn reviews Dominus (Dominus #1) by JP Kenwood. The book was released by the author on April 21st, 2014 and is about 272 pages long. The audiobook was narrated by Hannibal Hills and Nick J. Russo. The audio was released January 7, 2020 and is 10hrs and 31mins. A copy was provide in exchange for an honest review.
In AD 107, after a grueling campaign against Rome’s fierce enemy, the kingdom of Dacia, Gaius Fabius returns home in triumph. With the bloody battles over, the commander of the Lucky IV Legion now craves life’s simple pleasures: leisurely soaks in fragrant baths, over-flowing cups of wine, and a long holiday at his seaside villa to savor his pleasure slaves. On a whim, he purchases a spirited young Dacian captive and unwittingly sparks a fresh outbreak of the Dacian war; an intimate struggle between two sworn enemies with love and honor at stake. Allerix survived the wars against Rome, but now he is a sex slave rather than a victor. Worse, the handsome general who led the destruction of his people now commands his body. When escape appears impossible, Alle struggles to find a way to preserve his dignity and exact vengeance upon the hated Romans. Revenge will be his, that is, if he doesn’t lose his heart to his lusty Roman master. Dominus is a plot-packed erotic m/m fantasy that transports readers back to ancient Rome during the reign of the Emperor Trajan (98-117). This is the first book in an alternate history series—a tumultuous journey filled with forbidden love, humor, sex, friendship, political intrigue, deception and murder.
See Marc’s review of Book 1 here.
See Marc’s review of Book 2 here.
See Marc’s review of Book 3 here.
When I read the synopsis for this book, I was interested. When I heard it was coming out on audio I was thrilled. Then I listened to the book and I’ll admit I’ve struggled a bit with writing this review. Some reviews are easy, some are challenging. Some books I finish and I immediately put pen to paper (metaphorically) so I can write down my thoughts and share them right away. Other times I sit back and think about what I’ve listened to. Try to find the right words. This was definitely one of those books.
I’ll start with the narration. I was somewhat surprised to see Nick. J. Russo was one of the narrators. He’s reliable and competent, to be sure. Recently he tackled N.R. Walker’s SIR, which definitely required an accent of sorts. He’s not my first thought when I think of accents, and when I realized his part in this book, it all made sense. His role is minor but important in starting and then tying up this part of the trilogy. Hannibal Hills carries the load of narration in this book and he’s a great choice. This is his first m/m book but he’s done plenty of others audios, including many on the dark side. Since this book has moments of great darkness, he’s perfect for this story.
So on to the story. I’ll start by saying there’s a lot going on. Plenty of characters, tons of intrigue, and several different storylines. This book is the first in a trilogy, so all this world building makes sense. The year is AD 107 in the Roman Empire. Hedonism abounds as does violence. This book has plenty of both. I’ve read other books from this ancient history including Axios by Jaclyn Osborn and Nova Praetorian by N.R. Walker. I enjoyed both of those tremendously, and so had high hopes for this book. Compared to the world we live in today these books tell of a time when survival wasn’t guaranteed. Gladiators and Spartans lived and died by the sword. The level of violence in all these stories matches their times.
I liked Allerix. As a slave he was, of course, sympathetic. I liked that he kept his agency, using his cunning to survive. I am definitely interested in seeing where this plot lines goes as he becomes more entrenched with his captor, Gaius. I am hoping books 2 and 3 will eventually be put out on audio so I can see where thee story winds up. I love a good enemies-to-lovers story and with one whose stakes are this high, I’m excited to see what happens next. The book ends of a cliffhanger so consider yourself forewarned.
8.5/10 Pots of Gold (85% Recommended) – Compares to 4.25/5 Stars
When she doesn’t have her nose stuck in a dusty history tome, JP Kenwood relishes reading and writing plot-packed erotic m/m fiction with strong romantic elements sprinkled with humor and angst. Her alternate history series, Dominus, features an ensemble of memorable characters—masters and slaves, senators and soldiers, lawyers and freedmen, wives and whores—who live, laugh, and lust during the Golden Age of imperial Rome.