Kindly note: This is the second volume in a tightly linked series. If you haven't read the first book, you may find a few spoilers in this review of the second.
Damen and Laurent lead a rather rag-tag group of soldiers towards the border, where they know Laurent's uncle the Regent has something in store to get rid of the troublesome prince. As their fate draws nearer, the two men gain a new respect for each other, and their feelings for each seem to be harder and harder to contain.
“Prince’s Gambit” continues the same intricate plot of the first book, Captive Prince. There are even more twists and turns along the way, but without revealing too much it's fair to say it feels like the pieces are all in place by the end of this installment. Yet, with all the damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't choices laid before them, it's impossible to be sure just how the story will play out for our two protagonists in the final installment.
Just as the plot become more complex, so do the characters. Laurent in particular becomes less of a one-dimensional sadistic bastard. We begin to understand some of what made him the way he is and what the end game may be. However, some of the big surprises come from the group of men around Laurent and Damen. Chances are you'll have at least one “wow I didn't see that coming” moment reading this installment.
This is definitely an intriguing series. Although like most reviews I've classified it as fantasy, that's really only because the story is set in cultural milieu that never existed. There is no magic or mythical beasts, and the characters are decidedly human without any super powers. Without the imaginary setting you might well describe this as a mystery or psychological thriller.
“Prince’s Gambit” is available from Amazon.