Review - A Winter Fox by J.C. Owens

book cover

A Winter Fox

by J.C. Owens

My rating:

Tags: Fantasy

Posted in Book Reviews on September 6, 2023

Beware that this review contains some minor spoilers about the plot. The book is very hard to review without revealing a few things.

Albion has been such a cunning general that his people, and even his enemies, have nicknamed him the “Winter Fox.” The thing is, Albion didn't want war. He tried to prevent it, but even killing his uncle, the king, proved to be too little, too late. Now, after four long years of fighting, his forces have dwindled and spend more time on the run than in battle. Albion orders his remaining men to find someplace safe and rides out to surrender to the attackers, led by Prince Trey and his half-brother Draven. He expects to be killed, but Trey takes him prisoner and returns home, where the king gives Albion to Trey as a slave to do with as he pleases. The only hope is Draven, who looked up to Albion as a young man and still retains his humanity after years of war, unlike Trey.

This is a rather unusual story, even for this author. It's almost as much a psychological thriller as a romance. The romance is a very slow burn, in a way, and I thought for a while that it might turn out very differently, along the lines of the author's Anrodnes Chronicles series. Instead, the charming, if manipulative, Trey is quickly revealed to be a sociopath with a very unhealthy attachment to Draven. The younger man's attempts to exorcise the demon from the man he has always loved as a brother don't seem to be having any effect.

The narration switches points of view between Draven, Trey, and Albion. Trey shows an extreme attachment to Draven from almost the start, but as the story progresses, that brotherly affection turns increasingly darker. There are times when you believe that Draven will pull Trey back from the edge. As we learn more about Albion and Draven, we see how much they have in common. Albion sees what Trey is doing to Draven better than anyone else because it's exactly what was done to him by his uncle. The two have a shared experience that draws them to each other before they even realize what it is.

If you've read other books by this author, “A Winter Fox” has a lot of common themes with their earlier work. However, this tale has a wider scope and a different pace than a lot of their work. It's quite a change of pace and a meticulously constructed story that will keep you reading to see which way it goes.

“A Winter Fox” is available from Smashwords and Amazon.