Reviewed by Elizabetta
TITLE: A Taste of Copper
AUTHOR: Elin Gregory
PUBLISHER: Love Lane Books
LENGTH: 71 pages
Your master has the field for today, but his name, whatever it might be, is without honour.
Olivier the squire worships the Black Knight and takes a fierce joy in his prowess as he defends a bridge against all comers. Olivier only wishes that his master loved him as much in return instead of treating him as a servant and occasional plaything.
Then word comes that the King desires to cross the bridge. With an army approaching, a bright eyed archer enticing him to desert and the first cracks beginning to show in the Black Knight’s gruff demeanour, Olivier is left wondering if his honour is worth more than a chance for happiness.
This is my first book by this author and I have to say I was happily impressed.
The writing is solid and descriptive, with historical detail that serves the story and doesn’t overwhelm it.
It’s the days of knights and chivalry– a time of conflict and warring over control of territory. The story title is apt, there’s a lot of blood…
It opens with a fierce duel about a bridge.
“Olivier’s gelding shuddered at the scent of blood… Fifty yards away, two stallions strained, shoulder to shoulder and wreathed in steam, as their riders hacked at each other.”
Olivier is squire to Sir Maheris, his knight and master, and they have sworn an oath to guard a bridge between feuding lands. The only river crossing for miles and miles, they’ve promised to keep back anyone wanting to venture into their territory.
An unfortunate oath, because a lot of people need to cross that bridge… farmers, tradesmen, neighboring townspeople… When a rival, King Johannes, marches his army into their boggy field, Maheris is tested against three of the best jousters in the land. It’s a test of will and endurance. But, what is one man against an army?
It’s wet and cold and miserable, and poor Olivier is lovesick and worried for his brave knight. He yearns for a gentle touch, especially while he’s giving the quick, obligatory blowjob (’cause a knight has to unwind after a hard day of slashing and hacking and jousting). But, wounded and weary, Maheris is focused on that bridge, he has no time to spare for softness.
The place, the action, and sweet Olivier… all of it pulls you into a small sliver of time… a couple of days, only, seen through the young squire’s eyes. There is some great jousting action and the characters are surprisingly well-sketched given the story length. Not so much Maheris, though. We really don’t have much backstory about him and Olivier.
When Olivier meets Hywel, the dashing head archer in King Johannes’ army, he’s tempted to stray. Hywel is every bit as honorable. He’s a seductive, playful tease, too. Finally, someone who’s interested in giving Olivier the attention he craves. But there’s that loyalty thing again– who will Olivier choose? Will it be his brawny knight or the dishy archer?
Some very nice storytelling here. Olivier and Maheris’ romance doesn’t run terribly hot for me, though. Honestly, I think the real romance is embodied in the Knight’s Code. Olivier works so hard, aspiring to be knighthood, himself. He’s so starry-eyed for that man on the charging stallion, bound to his oath and duty. I think that is really what Olivier is in love with. There’s the romance.
The story ending leaves me wondering, too. Olivier is faced with a big decision, and we really don’t know what is in store for him, Maheris and Hywel after the last page. Being left wanting more, while not completely a bad thing, has affected my rating. But, I encourage giving A Taste of Copper a try. It’s good fun.