Author: S.L. Armstrong and K. Piet
Reviewed by: Don
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Genre: M/M Fantasy
Summary: Generation after generation, an unattached male is plucked from the same family line and sent to the home of the man they only know as Dhakir. It is a duty all men in the line are brought up knowing, but none can know which male will be called or when.
Twenty-six-year-old Hadi Rahal is plucked from his fast-paced life among the brilliant lights and shallow vanity of Milan’s fashion world when he is told his uncle has passed on and he is the next Keeper. Knowing only vague legend, Hadi travels to Sétif, Algeria where his heritage waits in the form of an ancient name and sorrowful eyes he cannot turn from, even as he prays to God for the fortitude to resist.
Review: For thousands of years the eldest son of the Rahal bloodline has been sent to Algeria to be the keeper of the mysterious Dhakir when the old keeper dies. This time it is Hadi Rahal’s turn to leave behind his life in Milan as fashion assistant and take up the role of the keeper. Hadi does not want to go but the shame that he would bring upon his family overrides his own desires and life for Hadi will never be the same.
This story was good but it really did not ring any bells and whistles for me. The religious overtones did not bother me but I can see some bible fans having an aneurysm. I thought that the bloodline of Jesus’ brother being the ones to service Judas was a nice twist. I found both Judas and Hadi to be fairly flat and mechanical. There was no heavy emotional upheaval or tension between the two men. Hadi just automatically accepted his role as keeper without any fight. I did feel sorry for Judas for having eternal life and having to watch everyone that he loved or cared for die. It would have been interesting if he and the female Rahal had a baby. The other thing that I found hard to swallow was that in two thousand years Judas had never fallen for a man. The odds are distinctly against that never happening but I guess then Hadi would not have been special. The story flowed well and the writing was good. Perhaps other readers will enjoy the two men. Read this short novella with an open mind and you’ll find that it was worth your time.