Author: Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
Reviewed by: Vivian A.
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Genre: M/M Futuristic
ISBN 13: 9781937058500
Dylan Taggert was one of the few people lucky enough to wake up the morning after the world ended. But as humanity picks up the pieces, he quickly learns that there is no place for a gay computer programmer in a subsistence farming community. Hounded out of one settlement and harried out of another, Dylan keeps his wagon packed and his walking boots ready.
All that changes when he is captured on the road by a wildpack. The ferociously masked leader, Lord Barbarossa, sees something in Dylan that he wants and he keeps the programmer as the pack makes its round of the settlements. The wildpack serves as defenders, trade caravan, circuit riding judge and priest, and mail carrier for the settlements. And Dylan, now called Kane, serves Lord Barbarossa.
But Kane wants to be more than just a warlord’s toy and sets about making himself a useful part of the pack. Over the years, he earns himself a place, clothing and his membership marks. But the wheel keeps turning and once again things are changing for the wild pack. The settlements are stronger. The trade routes are secure again. And they are growing older with every winter. They have lived through the end of the old world. Now, they face living through the end of their new world as well.
Surviving the best he can in a post-apocalytic world is one man who serves as a pet to his lord, Barbarossa.
Well that’s one deceptive blurb; the story was significantly different than I expected. So, my depraved non-con friends this story isn’t the terror you’re hoping for and everyone else who read that blurb thinking, “Holy cow–No!” you may be pleasantly surprised. Now that isn’t to say that there aren’t exotic elements to the story: knife play and M/s, but the telling is more action/adventure than erotic. Nonetheless, even with the skimpy time given the knives and torment I was invested in reading it and wondering which direction it was going to head since I got my original markers so wrong from the blurb.
There are plenty of surprises in the characters which are well wrought. Dylan aka Kane is the narrator and his journey to find a place in the After is interesting and the reasoning for the existence of the wild packs are valid. The play between Kane and Barbarossa, who has a few surprises, as well as the rest of the pack is intriguing and definitely kept the plot moving. It’s not easy to cover over a decade in a story at this length and provide enough detail to span the years, but it succeeds.
Personally, I really like stories that delve into societal hierarchies and how power is grasped, maintained and/or subverted. BARBAROSSA’S BITCH really is quite a thoughtful gem in that respect with the realistic portrayal of governance in the After. The one gripe, the thing that drove me nuts is the seemingly random pattern for ordering the scenes. Honestly, I thought about graphing them to see if there was a logic to it, but resisted as that seemed a little OCD and I was enjoying it if aggravated. All it did, beside confuse the heck out of the reader, was slow the pace of the story down which in the beginning wasn’t so bad, but as we approached the climactic scene got frustrating since it all but hobbled it.
Anyway this was a fun motorcycle gang read that has a more heart and brains that I was expecting. It should appeal to UF fans and readers who enjoy a good dystopian tale with some kink tossed in.
Favorite quote: “Love is the spark of God in each one of us.”