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Wow, my favorite pirates are back! Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires by author Bey Deckard is a beautiful tale of love and adventure that takes us through dangerous waters and new lands. To fully appreciate this story readers definitely need to have read, or listened to, Caged: Love and Treachery on the High Seas, the first book in the amazing Baal’s Heart series. Narrator Michael Ferraiuolo propels us yet again on this latest fantastic journey with his very impressive and sincere delivery of this historical fiction romance.<br/> <br/>Author Bey Deckard has written quite a tale. I can say with much confidence that it is just as good as Caged, and quite possibly my favorite so far in the Baal’s Heart series.<br/> <br/>The story begins with flashbacks of what’s happening now and over the past six weeks since we’ve last seen Captain Baltsaros and his crew. Baal’s Heart is set to sail to the Devil’s Isles and the crew quickly obey and gets things ready. Tom and the Captain’s relationship is still strained while Tom and Jon seem to grow closer.<br/> <br/>The author gives us a world with so many intriguing characters that the audience is privy to all of their thoughts and emotions as the story flows around them.<br/> <br/>Each complex and compelling in their own way, Bey has such a way with words that you can’t help but be pulled into their world. Told from Jon, Tom and the Captain’s points of view the reader/listener gets the thrill of reacting and feeling right along with them.<br/> <br/>Captain Baltsaros has a reason for wanting to sail to the Devil’s Isles, one that isn’t revealed until they are deeply entrenched in a dangerous land. The Captain has many layers and many secrets and in this installment the audience is privy to the feelings and emotions going on in his head. He’s frustrated over Tom’s numerous refusals, he’s jealous of the closeness developing between his first mate and Jon, and he’s frightened of his feelings for Jon. He also has to deal with the darkness that lives within him. The author gives us glimpses of these feelings throughout the tale, and with Mr. Ferraiuolo’s narration the story simply flows.<br/> <br/>I’ve always been fascinated by Captain Baltsaros and the way the Bey has written him. He’s a captivating man with many personalities, some of them good and some of them very questionable. I believe it’s a testament to an author’s talent when they can create a character and somehow make the reader feel for them even though they may not be such a good person. I must say, readers are in for a real treat when they get to the chapter titled The Menagerie. <br/> <br/>Bey Deckard has written some all-time creepy characters that you can’t help but be intrigued with and the Emperor in The Menagerie is definitely one of them. This chapter is chilling in the way Captain Baltsaros and the Emperor both talk about human life. This is the darkness that is inside the Captain and he eats it up. <br/> <br/>Tom’s character has always been special to me. He’s brash, sexy and has an air of danger about him. And underneath all of that is a big man who loves fiercely.<br/> <br/>In Caged Jon is all timid shyness but in this edition we see another side of him. Being around pirates, and his two lovers, has changed Jon. He’s stronger, more confident, and more comfortable in his skin. Although it still bothers him that the crew think of him as a “cabin boy” to both Tom and the Captain, Jon’s character grows so much in this story and he really comes into his own.<br/> <br/>Right from the start Jon displays a level of dominance over Tom that is all kinds of sexy.<br/> <br/>I personally love the progression of Jon’s feelings for Tom and Tom’s growing feelings for Jon. It’s a very sweet romance between these two and Deckard writes such excellent dialogue for his leading men that their interactions are always stimulating…in “every way”.<br/> <br/>Michael Ferraiuolo’s portrayals of Jon and Tom are spot on in my opinion. Bey Deckard pens an erotically charged sex scene with amazing chemistry and Ferraiuolo channels every bit of that energy, becoming each man so expertly. He captures their nuances so perfectly: Making Jon’s timid and dominant personalities so delicious - Jon, who can at once be very sweet and in the next breath is tying Tom up and pouring hot wax on his chest; while Tom is stunningly portrayed as playful, confident, rude, and brash.<br/> <br/>Between the way Mr. Deckard has written Tom, and Ferraiuolo’s narration, I fell in love with Tom all over again. <br/> <br/>There is a scene in the story that I had to rewind a time or two. Tom is speaking to Jon and he says, “’You once said you’d kiss me better after a beatin. Can I hold that to ya luv?’” Oh my God! My heart was beating so fast. Good Lord that accent! I absolutely love Tom, and the way the narrator delivers that line had me literally melting!<br/> <br/>Mr. Ferraiuolo is perfect for this series and it is attestation of his talent that he can give each character a voice and personality by his narration.<br/> <br/>The accents alone fit each man so perfectly, as well as all of the secondary characters; he truly captures the essence of them, making it seem so effortless. From his chilling translation of the Emperor in The Menagerie chapter to the silky smooth and then frighteningly distant voice of the Captain, Ferraiuolo takes Bey’s story and makes it come alive!<br/> <br/>One of the many things I love about this tale is all of the action, new faces and the inner workings of a ménage. Bey Deckard has written a lush tale of love, sex, and adventure. It’s a hard book to put down and I was tempted time and time again to keep listening and forget real life tasks for a while.<br/> <br/>It is such an engrossing, heart stopping narrative of epic proportions, with danger around every corner and secrets exposed that cause a devastating fallout. <br/> <br/>Jon, Tom and the Captain go through different feelings and emotions during Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires, on their own and in their triad, while dealing with outside forces and many other challenges. Ferraiuolo brings all of them to life in a way that captivates you from beginning to end. Same can be said for Bey Deckard with his talent for giving us another adventurously wild ride into the lives of three beautifully complicated men. <br/> <br/>Great writing and great storytelling translates into magic!
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What made the experience of listening to Sacrificed: Heart Beyond the Spires the most enjoyable?
Michael Ferraiuolo's gift of infusing each character with a unique voice ramped an already compelling tale to another level. This is a strongly character-driven story of betrayal and redemption amidst the backdrop of a mind-bending fantasy landscape that is both familiar and alien.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Jon is still my favorite character: his growth amidst the breaking down of his moral center, tapping into latent sadistic tendencies that strongly conflict with Jon's world view, sets up a powerful Sturm und Drang that drives the plot and provides the glue holding the disparate personalities together.
What about Michael Ferraiuolo’s performance did you like?
In a word: incredible. His ability to switch seamlessly between and among all the characters' voices is truly awesome. This is far more than just a "reading"... it is performance art.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
When Jon is finally confronted with the ultimate moral choice toward the end of the book, his reality fractures and releases the man he will become. All truly excellent books have that one defining moment: for me, it was that scene with Jon.
Any additional comments?
If you love alternate universe, historical fantasy tales of adventure that are character-driven, intensely sensual and morally conflicted, then the Baal's Heart series is just what you are looking for.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful