Title: Moro’s Price
Author: M.C. Hana
Publisher: Loose Id.
Characters: Moro Dalgleish & Valier Antonian n’Cama
POV: Third Person (limited)
Sub-Genre: Science Fiction
Cheated out of freedom and destined for lifetime servitude, gladiator and sex slave Moro Dalgleish escapes from a brutal arena. Valier Antonin, a lonely student, is tormented by sadomasochistic urges he’s forbidden to indulge. When the two men meet on the skyscraper roof where Moro plans to commit suicide, Valier offers a bargain. Sex with Valier will infect Moro with the sentient symbiont endemic in Valier’s part-human race, with death the likely result.
As one of the infection’s rare survivors, Moro learns he is now a free Camalian citizen. He’s also effectively married to Valier, crown prince of the Camalian Commonwealth. Expecting a shallow encounter with a doomed slave, Valier learns Moro is his Knife, the mate who can stabilize Valier’s undisciplined mind, slake his darkest lusts, and make him fit to rule.
“Moro’s Price” is a fast paced action romance. Emotions and motivations from the main characters are clear and the characters solid but intricate. And the world building is brilliant.
Set in the far distant future when humankind have spread across the stars, this novel features intrigue, desperation, and more than two different societies. Dogleash (Moro) has been a bond slave for nearly a decade, although he was born and raised a free person. Used and abused, he reluctantly fought in blood sports where the winner either gets the loser’s money or body. At the end of his tether, Dogleash takes the opportunity supplied to get to the roof of the casino, intending suicide. Only to find an attractive young man fighting two men bigger and bulkier than himself.
Drawn by the unfairness of the fight, even though his chance to suicide is slipping away, Dogleash rescues the young man and is offered an opportunity that will either make him a free man or ensure he is unable to be resurrected (it has been done after previous suicides). Either way, it is a way out. Expecting to die after a night of pleasure, instead he survives.
I have a lot of favourite bits, but I think the part that sticks out the most for me is when an ultimatum give to humans by the Camalians 2500 years ago is described. I absolutely loved it.
I would recommend this story for anyone who loves action, intrigue, science fiction, or drama. Although there are BDSM elements, I think someone who didn’t really like BDSM would still love it because the harshest BDSM elements are a part of Moro’s slavery and what happens between Moro and Valier is more like kinky play between two equals. Definitely a must read, but be aware there are elements of rape, forced seduction, violence and, on one occasion, a brief (very brief) flyover of hetero intercourse.
I haven’t read anything else by this author, but I want to. Immediately after reading this book, I started my computer and went looking, even though it was three in the morning. I will most definitely be keeping “Moro’s Price” on my ereader and revisiting it regularly. Well done, M.C. Hana! Oh, and could we pretty please have a sequel?
Reviewed by: Alison