Genre: Fantasy, Crime Investigation, Gay Romance
LGBTQ+ Category: Gay, MM, MMM
About The Book
“I have great responsibilities, but my path ahead is as foggy and blurred as the path behind me.”
With forester Taruif freed, Kelnaht has claimed him openly at Solstice before tribe and Ma’terra as his partner, but with their third, Ianys, bound by an old promise, their triad is still incomplete. Sneaking around puts the most strain on Ianys. He and Kelnaht must keep their relationship a secret or he will lose his daughter, Atèn.
When several children fall ill with more than a summer bug, truth seeker Kelnaht is assigned once more to investigate. What he finds is deadly and threatens the life of every underage child in the tribe, including Atèn. Then a wounded traveller is found in the forest, left to die after a vicious attack.
With Taruif and his apprentice on the hunt for a cure, Kelnaht focusses on the attacks, but the clues are few and more children are infected. Nothing seems to connect until both the traveller and Atèn dream of the same grey-haired elf. Driven by fear for his daughter, Ianys pulls away from his lovers. Kelnaht can only pray Ma’terra will guide him to a solution that brings them all together and keeps Atèn safe from harm.
I’m reviewing each of the three parts of this collection as stand-alones – they’re available as individual novellas, and also in this three-story omnibus. I’ll let Blaine give you the overall series description (which I shorthand as CSI Elftown):
Kelnaht, Taruif, and Ianys are meant to be together, but old promises and the decree of the elders prevent them from claiming each other openly at Solstice. Kelnaht can investigate murder and foul play, but he can’t see how he can keep both his lovers without breaking the rules. But if he believes in the guide’s words and trusts his faith in Ma’terra, they will find a way to clear the fog and puddles from their paths.
Now on to the review.
This was my favorite of the three. It’s also the longest. The village faces an existential threat – a poison that’s killing its children. Once again, Kelnaht‘s skills as a Truth Seeker are called into action, as he first tries to divine what’s happening to the children, and then figure out who is responsible.
Complicating matters is the discovery of a foreign cloud elf in the forest who has been beaten near to death. Kelnaht is sure this event is related to the illness coursing through the village, but has no idea how. The arrival of his new assistant from another village provides a fresh perspective to help Kelnaht solve the crime.
This time around, the threat to Ianys’s daughter threatens to drive a wedge between him and Kelnaht and Taruif in a painful but believable way.
The tension builds as secrets from the past come to light, and clues point to a suitably wicked villain. Taruif and Kelnaht are now free to be a couple, but they long for their third. There are still a few obstacles in true love’s path. You’ll be rooting for all three as the book draws to a close, providing some surprising revelations that may change everything.
I love these three characters together. The sex scenes are beautifully rendered, both exciting and exquisitely crafted to show the love and regard these three men have for one another, even if it’s strained at times by circumstance.
I loved reading about with Kelnaht and the others, and the unique CSI fantasy world Arden has created here. If you enjoy fantasy and/or gay romance, this one (and the other two before it) are well worth your time.
Scott is the founder of Queer Sci Fi, and a fantasy and sci fi writer in his own right, with more than 30 published short stories, novellas and novels to his credit, including two trilogies.