Servant of the Seasons 2: Winter by Lee Benoit – review

Rating: 8/10 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ Title: Servant of the Seasons 2: Winter
Author: Lee Benoit
Genre: Fantasy
URL: Torquere Press
Price: US $2.49
Other Information/warnings:explicit m/m, some violence
Summary [from the publisher]:
Edor and his new friends, former slaves Tywyll and Lys, are still making the most of the land. Every day the two norvigi bring changes, improving Edor’s way of life. As is their way, Tywyll is growing stronger with the winter equinox, while Lys is growing weaker.
When Lys goes into his sleep, Edor finally gives into his attraction to his two friends with Tywyll, knowing Lys would give them his blessing if he were awake. When Lys finally wakes, the three men find their home in danger, and they must band together even closer to save their newfound happiness. Can they solve the mystery that their attackers leave behind, and stay safe at the same time?

My review:This is the second in the Servant of the Seasons series, and makes no concessions to a reader who hasn’t read the first story. Having said that, returning to the world Benoit has created is simply a joy. It’s rich, magical and highly erotic, every action and description charged with sensuality. The setting is more intimate, cosy, largely taking place in the increasingly well provided ‘turvy’ (house) that Edor’s two amichus have helped him set up, so the feel is like being tucked up on a bitterly cold winter’s day, in a warm, comfortable bed with cocoa and reading matter on tap, while the weather rages outside where it can’t touch you.

The scenes where the author takes us outside this little nest are sharp in their contrast, with a chilly, stark beauty of their own – the scene where Tywyll runs with the navdi (wolf-like creatures) is breathtakingly sexy and gorgeous, while another, where the three encounter a group of water-travelling human, makes you feel the depth of the cruelty and coldness not only of the landscape, but in the souls of some people as well.

We learn more about the mythology of this world, and of the characters, and we experience for ourselves, Edor finally breaking through the dome’s chemically-imposed celibacy and allowing himself to experience the full joys of loving companionship, physically and emotionally. The slow arousal of his feelings, and the growth of his relationship with Tywyll and Lys, make for a very satisfying and lovely romance.

The writing, as always with this amazing author, is clean, exquisite and poetic, though, I thought, perhaps not quite as tightly edited as it might be, though it’s still finer than ninety-five percent of writers you’ll find anywhere.

The story ends on a cliff-hanger, to make you hungry for more. Whether you’re reading this in a northern heatwave, when the thoughts of snow and cold winds are refreshing, or in a southern winter, looking for something to snuggle up with, this novella is highly recommended. I can’t wait for Spring.