Title: Red Knight Rising
Author: Alex Ironrod
Cover artist: Deanna C. Jamroz
Publisher: MLR Press
Amazon: Buy Link Red Knight Rising
Genre: historical lite/ BDSM erotica
Length: 292 pages, 94000 words
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: This story about two knights worked for me as erotic read, but did not work as historical
Rousing adventure and fierce BDSM love draw two young English knights together to fight on one of the Crusades in the Middle Ages.
Battling young warriors.BDSM love.Fierce passions.Adventures in exotic lands.
At the time of the Crusades, as young Harry becomes a knight and Earl of Derby, he falls in love – or is it lust – with the brawny, but penniless,Bruce, Lord Berwick.
Wrestling in a relationship forbidden by their church , the two of them join the Crusader army of the sadistic, legendary warrior King Richard The Lionheart. They face challenges to their sexual needs, and adventures that strengthen their fighting skills, as they campaign across Europe and the Holy Land.
Forced to perform BDSM service and then torn apart by their king and the war, can they survive?
Warning of the sorts: the book does not have a traditional romance ending. I did not consider it a romance, so I was not surprised and it is not tragic. I thought it was just sequel bait, but beware if you care.
As some of you may know I love historicals, and the more I read, the more I like well written BDSM themed books, and this book promised adventure in the time of the Crusades, so of course I requested it for review. This is one of the historical periods I always wish I would have learned more about while was in school, so now I pick up nonfictional books here and there and gobble up fictional pieces set at that time.
I am of two minds about this book. I double checked and neither the publisher, no Amazon put it in the historical genre, at least on the webpages I looked at, so please don’t be fooled by the fact that the story is set in the past. I am having a hard time calling it a historical and it looks like both the publisher and Amazon agree, but based on what I am going to write next I am not sure if the author would agree. I put the genre as historical lite, because the author seemed to research the chronology of the events. He even puts the historical note about the Crusades in the end of the book, he talks about Richard the Lionheart, how he could be the way the author portrays him in the book, how he drew his weddings from the chronicles, etc, so it seemed as if the author did his research as to the events.
The problems began for me when I started to feel that the author dressed up modern people in the costumes of that era and made them act at least somewhat as modern people would. Young Harry for example seemed to have very little problem as to being kissed by the man who he only knew for what, a day? He seemed to be very eager to be initiated in the joy of “men sex”. And the year when the story begins is 1189. So yes, I would have loved to see some hesitations, a tiny bit of angst if it was a real historical story? Let’s not forget that butt plugs and leather cocks and other toys featured very prominently in the love making during the story. I was very grateful that the author does not call it BDSM sex in the story, only the blurb does, because as we know it is way too early for this word to be making an appearance. I was not very happy though when the word “homosexuals” makes an appearance (thank goodness a single one) in the story taking place in the twelfth century. Both of our main characters seem to pay lip service a few times to the fact that based on who they are, they should be ten times more careful with them having sex, that the Church does not care for them being together, etc, etc. But their actions and their words in that regard just really did not match for me. Whom do you think our young Harry decides to confide in about his love for Bruce with at some point? Harry thinks that his tutor, who is also the priest would be the one to confide in. The priest chides him a little bit, but then says something along the lines that as a priest he should condemn it, but as a man he understands Harry. In fact there are a lot of men in the story who seem to understand Harry – very fast in fact. But please bear in mind that these criticisms are the criticisms of the story, which wants to be a historical and if this was meant to be a pseudo historical romp, my criticisms really mostly do not apply.
The sex IMO was hot, there was a lot of it, but it seemed to fit the story, the characters were fun and the story moved along quite nicely.
So, yes I am of two minds about this story – it worked and did not work for me, depending on whether the intent was to write a historical or not. As I said in the beginning, I would also probably not call the story a romance, but it does have some romantic elements IMO.
Recommended as BDSM erotica, which is quite hardcore at time, not recommended as historical.