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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Slave

****½ The Slave by Laura Antoniou. Erotica.

I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Marketplace (#5), so I had to look for the second.

The Slave focuses on one slave, Robin, as she undergoes training by the enigmatic Chris Parker, experiences her first sale in the Marketplace, and her life as a slave.

The training includes intensive interviews, in which we learn how Robin learned that she was submissive and her attempts to find a true master.

This is erotica, so it's obviously full of sex, but the sex is almost secondary to Robin's emotional journey. The flashbacks in the interviews provide the emotional background of the early disappointments and confusion, but what's most affecting is the training. By agreeing to the training and formally entering the Marketplace, she has to be certain it's what she wants, and that's challenged quite a bit initially. And she has to decide whether she's after submission or kinky sex--a decision that's brought home to her by the fact that her trainer never has sex with her, and the fact that her first sale is into a household of gay men, where she basically continues her career as an art buyer.

Then there's the emotional journey of settling in to life as a slave, and what happens when things go bad--which they do, quite dramatically.

The sex is unquestionably hot and exciting and creative, but what really sets this book (well, the whole Marketplace series) apart is that it's all plot-driven. It's not just a string-of-pearls (heh) plot, describing one sexual escapade after another--every sex scene marks an emotional milestone or turning point.

I'm doing a poor job of explaining. Suffice to say that it would be a fascinating book even without the sex scenes. The characters are real and intriguing, and I was thrilled to discover that Chris Parker plays a prominent role in the next book in the series, The Trainer.


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