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Liberating Lucius by Bonnie Dee

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Liberating Lucius (novella)

Bonnie Dee
Early Medieval/Erotica
Published in 2010

H/h - Lucius Calpurnius Aquita/Helena
Setting: Somewhere in the Ancient Roman empire.

Read in Apr, 2012.

My rating:

                                                              [spoiler alert]
Liberating Lucius is a short story set in the ancient Roman era. This story tells you about a Thracian woman who is sold to a tribune of war as a slave and how they weather the difficulties to find a deeper meaning to their odd relationship. I loved the idea of the story but was disappointed in some regards. First of all, I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Lucius and Helena. The whole thing went over my head. And then, the ending left me in a doubt about the fate of their relationship.

Helena is a Thracian noblewoman, a widow who has her own lands and all. The Roman ruler of her area wanted to marry her to get her lands. When he couldn’t do it, he kidnapped and sold her to some slave traders. After months of the road, she’s sold to a Roman elderly general, who takes Helena as a gift for the young tribune of the war, Lucius. The whole thing was about as much as to poke some fun and also, to give the young celibate tribune ‘some means’ to focus on his job. It’s not that Lucius is bad in his job and he doesn’t care about acquiring sex slaves like this. But when the general jokingly tells him to pass the woman to the camp full of soldiers, Lucius keeps her just for her safety. He didn’t like the idea of this woman being used like this. Upon looking at her, Lucius sees that she’s beautiful and mad as a hell cat, apparently right now, at him. Lucius’s servant and also childhood friend, Magnus asks him to keep the woman to help him around the tent and do some chores. So, even though Helena hated it, she thinks it’s better than to be used as a sex slave.

Lucius is a nobleman’s son and has lived the life of an indolent life of gambling, drinking and skirt-chasing even sometimes ago. But he had to sudden awakening of his conscience about the people, the wars Rome is fighting and what he can do as a young man aiming to have a career at senate. So, although tribunes do not fight in the war but just report, Lucius broke the rule by taking active participation. He has been celibate ever since but Helena tempts him no doubt. He regales her with his childhood stories and what life is like in Rome while Helena told her about her life, short marriage at a young age to an elderly man and so on. In the meantime, there is call for another fight with the enemies. Lucius joins the others while Helena waits for him anxiously. She knows she’s began to care for him. Lucius returns wounded. She and Magnus take care of his injuries. While he bathes, Helena can’t help notice Lucius’s beautiful body. At night, as Lucius is feverish, Helena goes to check on him. He wants her to sleep with him and of course, this leads to something else. So, I was thinking, hell, didn’t the man had a bad wound on his one of his arms? And, what about Magnus? He sleeps in the same tent FGS!.............. hmmmm.

Pilgrimage in the Roman Campagna (1848) by Francois Joseph Navez
Anyhooo! Helena is totally taken by this new development of their relationship, if you can call it that but she is determined to let Lucius know that this won’t continue. Lucius gets her meaning and doesn’t push her. After sometimes, the troops pull in and march back towards Rome. On the way, as emperor Aurelius is expected to meet the troops, they camp again somewhere near Rome. Throughout their journey, Lucius and Helena don’t see each-other much. One day, while Magnus is out to ‘visit’ a friend, Helena finds sometimes to take a hasty bath. Lucius finds her like that and they end up having sex again. This kinda brings their relationship to a deeper level but I didn’t really feel anything, don’t know why. And as Lucius is busy taking care of the emperor’s visit with the others, their legate- a fat, dumpy man jealous of Lucius’s accomplishments, kidnaps Helena. I wasn’t expecting for Helena to go through what happens next. This reminded me of The Warrior’s Gift, where the heroine also goes through a similar situation. The description wasn’t graphic but a rape is still rape. Somehow, Lucius finds his way to the legate’s tent to find him raping her. Lucius goes berserk and even though he saves Helena, he knows trouble is coming his way. The legate can manipulate the truth, imprison and kill him.

Afterwards, the story goes to tell us how Helena takes a stance to save Lucius this time. All was ok, in a mild sort of way; I liked it but wasn’t really moved by anything. Not even the sex. And in the end, it was implied that Helena is probably staying as Lucius’s mistress. Even though they both are in love, her place in Lucius’s life wasn’t clarified and it definitely disappointed me a bit more. Anyway, it’s a short and sweet story of about 15/16 chapters, if you can ignore Helena’s rape. Told you before, everything kinda went over my head. *makes a face here*

3.5 stars.


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