Signet, $15.00, ISBN 978-0-451-22683-9
Historical Erotica, 2009
A major spoiler is hinted at in this review. I don’t go into detail when it comes to this spoiler, but you can easily read between the lines and guess correctly what I am talking about, heh. Do be a dear and stop reading this review if you still want to read the book. Seriously, I mean it. Knowing the spoiler will very likely decrease your appreciation of this book.
Bound by Honor sees Colette Gale giving the story of Maid Marian and Robin Hood a boost in the eroticism department. In this one, Marian of Morlaix is a widow. Arriving at Prince John’s Ludlow Keep under orders from Eleanor of Aquitaine to spy on the Prince’s activities in his Court of Pleasure, she is to keep an eye out for any naughty political intrigues that the Prince may be involved in. She also finds herself embroiled in a potential love triangle between William of Wendeval, the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, and Robin of Locksley, now an outlaw. How will a woman choose between two men, especially two men who are now sworn enemies of each other?
This story suffers from the same problem as the author’s debut effort, Unmasqued, in that for a long time, there is an overwhelming feeling of having read this story so many times before. The author uses every opportunity available to plug in a sex scene or two, with Prince John’s court turned into a den of debased debauchery. However, most of these sex scenes are portrayed in a manner that is… not very sexy, let’s just say. Prince John is a cartoon sex pig, indulging in rape and rough sex, so much so that the whole thing seems like an advertisement on the joys of vanilla sex.
One thing I really like, however, is how the author cheerfully switches things up later in the story so that things aren’t so predictable after all. Still, as much as I like how the author prods me out of my autopilot reading mode with this twist, I still wish that she has stirred things up a little bit more throughout the story. The erotic scenes don’t particularly stand out to me, the characters are pretty bland and forgettable, and, as much as I don’t want to, I find myself comparing this book to another erotic retelling of the Robin Hood and Maid Marian saga, Gayle Feyrer’s The Thief’s Mistress. I like this book’s ending better, but I find Gayle Feyrer’s book a much more superior erotic interpretation of the story.