While his father the king lays on his deathbed, Crown Prince Damen is seized by troops loyal to his half brother Kastor, who seizes the throne. Rather than simply kill Damen, Kastor packs him off to be a pleasure slave at the court of Vere, traditional enemies of Damen's people, with whom Kastor has made peace, for now. If anyone in Vere realizes who he is, Damen will be dead. Until then, he has the humiliation of being a slave to deal with.
“Captive Prince” is primarily a tale of complex palace intrigue. Damen is thrust into a world where almost nobody is what they seem to be, and everyone seems to be scheming to find some advantage over everyone else. Damen's primary nemesis at court is his new owner, Laurent, a man who has more reason than most to kill Damen if he ever found out his true identity.
This first book in a trilogy focuses on building the world that Damen inhabits and setting up the complex relationships of the main characters. In reality, not a lot happens in this book, but by the end you'll have enough to start guessing about what might really be going on, and there's definitely things put in motion by the end to signal more action in the second book.
The story is not quite what I was expecting. It doesn't quite fit into the typical forced enslavement fantasy. However, the characters are quite interesting and figuring out the various motivations becomes as engrossing as a good mystery. Damen is the epitome of the “good and honorable” would-be king, while his new “owner” Prince Laurent seems at first to be the classic dissolute evil nemesis and his uncle the Regent a potential ally. Yet, by the end of this first book you may feel that none of the characters is quite what they at first seem to be.
“Captive Prince” is available from Amazon.