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Strength of Will Paperback – March 13, 2013
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About the Author
Sword carrying Buddhist author of transgressive homoerotic fiction, Sessha turned to writing full time after a twenty year stint in video production editing, scripting and creating motion graphics. Her novels include Strength of Will and the Shinobi Saga - Geisha, Shadow Wolf and the soon to be released Ripples. Her short stories will soon be released in the anthology Sex Ray Specs. Her Celtic fairy tale Amadan na Briona is part of eightcuts gallery's Once Upon a Time in a Gallery exhibit. Her short story The Poetry Game is included in New Sun Rising:Stories for Japan, an anthology for tsumani relief. Originally from Belfast, she lives in the States with her husband, son, a very old cat and too many swords.
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Top customer reviews
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It begins at the beginning, a chance encounter in current times, curiosity about a monument and the question: would you like to hear more? And so begins the story...
Set in a time of war, in a culture different from our own, yet with characters we can relate to and situations as complex as the heart itself, the author takes us on an emotional whirlwind where two men as different as night and day embark on a journey of self-discovery and a joining of spirits.
Ryuu wasn't born into slavery but that's where he ended up and the small choices and fickle hand of fate placed him in a favored position as teacher and scribe. Purchased by Aoshi, a warlord with radical ideas and a plan to unite the warring kingdoms, Oshiro must reconcile his attraction to the man who offers friendship in place of servitude with the expectations of the commander's troops who see him as nothing more than a pleasure slave.
The tension that builds around the two men's growing emotional investment in each other is palpable and cut through with the jealousies, expectations and cultural imperatives of a warrior culture that values strength above weakness.
When Aoshi elevates Ryuu to a status that many in the warlord's orbit find disquieting, if not outright unacceptable, their relationship becomes fuel for the forces acting behind the scenes to remove Aoshi from power and to derail the reforms he has worked so hard to instill.
Politics, social pressure, self-doubts, self-sacrifice, redemption and an all-consuming passion ignite the pages of Strength of Will. It is populated with colorful and unique characters who add scope and depth to the fabric of the story without overwhelming the central tragic tale unfolding on every page.
This is homoerotic literature with the elements of a tragedy and the heart-stopping vibe of a forbidden romance. It is explicit and compelling and sometimes violent. It may not be everyone's cup-of-tea, but if it's yours, then you will appreciate this reviewer giving it 5 stars.
A few notes though, this is written in pure 3rd person omniscient, not the standard 3rd person close many of us are used to. It's done well and the POV is always clear, but it does jump around within chapters. Some people will see this as a huge nono, but it didn't bother me and the style is consistent throughout making it a smooth read.
Also, there are some editing issues with missing words and wrong names. At one point Akemi is refered to as Marc and in the epilogue Shin is sometimes Shin and sometimes Ryuu which is confusing since that's another character's name. Another pass through by a copy editor would fix this right up though.
I received a copy of this book from the author, but will be buying more of her work write after I finish this!