Friday, November 16, 2012

Review for He Is Worthy by Lisa Henry

Rome, 68 A.D. Novius Senna is one of the most feared men in Rome. He’s part of the emperor’s inner circle at a time when being Nero’s friend is almost as dangerous as being his enemy. Senna knows that better men than he have been sacrificed to Nero’s madness—he’s the one who tells them to fall on their swords. He hates what he’s become to keep his family safe. He hates Nero more.
Aenor is a newly-enslaved Bructeri trader, brutalized and humiliated for Nero’s entertainment. He’s homesick and frightened, but not entirely cowed. He’s also exactly what Senna has been looking for: a slave strong enough to help him assassinate Nero.
It’s suicide, but it’s worth it. Senna yearns to rid Rome of a tyrant, and nothing short of death will bring him peace for his crimes. Aenor hungers for revenge, and dying is his only escape from Rome’s tyranny. They have nothing left to lose, except the one thing they never expected to find—each other.
Since I became obsessed with the TV show Spartacus I've been on the lookout for books featuring gladiators/Roman life and immediately became drawn to He Is Worthy.  There's a lot happening in the shortened length of this book and I became thoroughly immersed in this world and the outcome of its appealing characters.
Novius Senna has grown tired of doing dirty deeds at Nero's request and has luckily stumbled across the one man who can help him end Nero's nightmarish deeds.  Aenor's life took a brutal turn the day he went from trader to slave and after being brutalized by Romans for entertainment is hesitant to trust Senna and the feelings being generated.  Aenor's desire for revenge and a gentle hand have him agreeing to a plan that will result in both of their deaths but will end Nero's tyranny.  
Knowing their lives are quickly coming to an end has them clinging to each other quickly.  Senna was gentle with Aenor during their sexual encounters and it was sad knowing that almost every previous encounter for him was abusive.  Seeing this other side of Senna, being caring instead of killer, was appealing and showed why they needed to be together.  Senna liked himself with Aenor as Aenor drew strength from Senna after being emotionally defeated for so long.
There were many names being bandied about which made it hard to keep track of who was who at times.  Some of the political/war talk became a bit distracting at times as well but the images and language of that time felt very realistic.  It was easy to picture what was happening and helped me immerse myself in the story.  The conclusion of the story was a bit rushed and after the big build-up of the assassination plan there was a bit of a let down.  

All in all though I found much to like about this emotionally engaging m/m read.  The main characters were sympathetic and immensely likable along with the visually descriptive historical scenes which kept me turning the pages with great anticipation.  Lisa Henry's writing is new to me and judging by my enjoyment of this story I look forward to reading more of her works.

My rating for this is a B.

*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

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