Review - Honey and Pepper by A.J. Demas

book cover

Honey and Pepper

by A.J. Demas

My rating:

Volume 1 of When in Pheme

Tags: Fantasy Ancient Greece

Posted in Book Reviews on July 31, 2022

Nikias is a recently freed slave that's come to the big city to find work. He ends up working in a snack stall that occupies one corner of a grand old house. That's where he first spots Kallion, a man about Nikias's age who seems to work at the mansion. The two meet when Kallion is attacked outside the house, and despite some initial misunderstandings, they become friends. But Kallion harbors a dark secret about his cruel former master that prevents him from fully opening up to Nikias. When events overtake the city and force Kallion to confess his past, will Nikias still want to be with him?

“Honey and Pepper” is set in the same ancient Greco-Roman-like fantasy world as the Sword Dance series. However, the characters in this story are all different, so you don't have to have read the other books before reading this one.

Most of the story is related from Nikias's point of view. He seems to be a pleasant young man, although, at times, he's not sure what to make of his newfound freedom. The full details of his past as an enslaved person are revealed slowly over the course of the story and go a long way to explaining some of his early behavior.

Some of the narrative is from Kallion's point of view. Like Nikias, the man was recently freed. Unlike his friend, Kallion was highly educated as a slave, learning to not only read and write but also gain the skills to work as a law clerk once he was freed. Like Nikias, the complete story of what he did for his former master only comes out in drips and drabs.

If you've read any of the other books by this author set in the same world, then you'll know what to expect. There's a bit of cloak and dagger mystery and a rich set of characters which helps make this ancient fantasy world more real.

“Honey and Pepper” is available from Smashwords or Amazon.