So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Love Slave. Bertrice Small

Sexual slavery is a worldwide problem, even today in the 21st century, with hundreds of thousands of women and children subjected to this horror every year. It has been around for thousands of years and is not a problem to be taken lightly.

In Bertrice Small's The Love Slave, the author paints a picture of a woman whose life was so horrible, and whose slavery was so romantic that it is preferable to her original life. Set in the mid-tenth century, Regan is a Scottish girl whose family has been murdered by a neighboring clan. She is carried off by a Norse slaver to be sold in the slave markets of Dublin. Her outstanding beauty catches the attention of a Dublin trader who buys her as a present for the caliph of Cordoba. He must owe the caliph big time because, he not only fills a ship with goods, he also hires Karim the ship's owner, who is a Master at training love slaves, to train Regan to please the caliph.

In addition to this book being in the Historical Romance genre, it is for mature audiences. The author describes in detail the sexual behavior of her characters. She has also done enough research to create historically accurate settings and characters. The caliph of Cordoba is based on the real Abd ar-Rahman III (891-961), the greatest and the most successful of the princes of his dynasty in Spain. He is accused of having sunk in his later years into the self-indulgent habits of the harem. Which is where we find him with Regan, whose name has been changed to Zaynab, "the beautiful one."

Of course, Zaynab and Karim had fallen deeply into eternal love during her training. Their parting in Cordoba breaks both their hearts and the reader spends the rest of the book wondering if they can ever be reunited. If you can stand the sexual heat, this is a great example of historical romance.

The last words of the caliph Abd ar-Rahman III are said to have been "I have known only fourteen happy days in my life." After reading The Love Slave, you will have a good idea how those days were spent.


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