Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute's life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.
Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people's deaths - dreams that come true.
As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.
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Narrated beautifully by K.C. Kelly – this one punched me right in my feels.
Kim Fielding's "Brute" is a fantasy tale told from the perspective of gentle giant, Aric, known as “Brute”, who’s seven and half feet tall and been abused and mistreated since his father was hung for a thief and his mother died soon after. He went to live with an uncle who abused him terribly until he had his growth spurt. Unfortunately his growth spurt made him a bit of a freak among the people around him and he’d been further ostracized leaving him alone in a rather cruel world. Yet, even with all that misery, he does not wallow. Instead he is a thoughtful, kind, wonderful person.
After saving the life of one of the crown princes, and at terrible cost to himself, Brute is given a very important job in the King’s palace taking care of a single prisoner. The twist? He must live in the tower with the prisoner.
Gray Leynham has been harshly imprisoned for over a decade and horribly treated all because he is a seer who can predict death of those close by while he dreams at night. He has a terrible stutter and is only intelligible when he dreams of death at night.
“Your most important task will come at night, actually.”
Brute frowned uneasily, shifting his eyes quickly toward the barred door. “Night?”
“It’s quite simple. If he calls out anything in his sleep—and you’ll know he’s sleeping because the words will actually be intelligible— take note of it, then hurry off and repeat it to the guard at the door. It’d be better if you could write it down, but I suppose there’s no chance of that.”
As Brute spends time with him, treating him with the first care and kindness Gray has seen in all those years, the two develop a bond that will not be broken.
K.C. Kelly gives each character such an incredible voice and tone – it blew me away. I was so impressed with his narration – it was brilliantly done. Bravo, sir! Bravo!
I felt so deeply for the two main characters: Aric and Gray, but K.C. brings ALL of the characters to life so richly. I was woven deeply into the threads of the story, wrapped up in it until the very end.
"Why would you bring something like that on yourself?”
The answer was simple. “Because I love you.”
Though the story drags in the third quarter, it is overall so entertaining and emotional, that can be easily overlooked in my overall enjoyment.
A note for those who like a smuttier read – though they are lovers, this is definitely PG rated, kids. But I didn’t miss the sexy times at all. Kelly brings such a depth to his narration that I was engaged to the end.
Highly recommended for all, but fantasy lovers especially.