In this rather interesting take on the crusades, will the captive fall for his captor, and will his captor be willing to risk everything for love?
Writer/Artist: Uki Ogasawara
Translation: Leona Wong
Adaptation: Leona Wong
What They Say
Gerun Fortress - a coastal stronghold along the Mediterranean Sea. Here, two-hundred Monastic Knights make their final stand against a league of 20,000 Middle Eastern soldiers led by Gerneal Jamial Jan. Called the "beardless" by som, "shameless" by others, Jamal soon seizes the castle and its acting commander, Prince Leonard de Limbourg. The general's ideas of how to subjugate the enemy do not conform to the typical rules of warfare, however. In quick order, Prince Leonard finds himself stripped naked and forced to perform in front of his own men.
Leonard's humiliation does not end there; now the general's captive slave, he is brought back to a strange land and presented before His Majesty the Sultan. Will Jamal's deviant attentions lead to certain punishment for both he and Prince Leonard? Or can the prince accept the sinful feelings buried within himself that cause him to enjoy Jamal's forceful touch?
To the victor go the spoils of war, and in Black Sun, creator Uki Ogasawara (Chronicle of the Divine Sword) presents an historical look at military (and personal) conquest!
801 books are not exactly cheap, and the high production values have always been one of the justifications for that. Unfortunately, this books seems to be lacking some of what has become standard for them - primarily the dust jacket. It's disappointing to see this left off with no warning or explanation, since every other 801 book I've seen has included it. Happily, there is still a color page included, and the print quality remains high, but other publishers manage that as well for substantially cheaper.
The art is unquestionably the best thing about this book. Lush and detailed, full of elaborate costumes and sometimes lavish backgrounds, it's simply gorgeous. For BL fans sick of mosaics and details more hinted at then seen, this is as graphic as you could hope for. If there's a weakness, it's that panel layouts are sometimes a bit too busy, and action scenes aren't as clear as they could be, but it's a minor complaint.
All sound effects are translated on the page in a font that closely matches the original. The translation had a few rough points where the meaning was slightly obscured, but overall it wasn't too bad.
Leonard is the commander of Gerun Fortress, which has been under seige by the forces of General Jamal for over a month. Despite putting up a strong fight, the fortress is lost. In order to save as many of his men as possible, Leonard sacrifices himself to buy time for his men to escape. But when he's brought to General Jamal, things don't play out quite the way he had anticipated. Rather than being held for ransom or executed outright, Jamal tells Leo to strip down. He's forced to cooperate with his own rape, with the lives of his men at stake.
Jamal ends up entranced by Leonard, and keeps him as a sort of pet. When they return to Jamal's homeland, however, there are political currents that may pull the pair under, with only Jamal's reputation as a powerful warleader protecting them. Determined to drive them apart, the king gives Leonard a choice - he can stay with Jamal as his pet, or he can choose isolated freedom away from Jamal for the rest of his life. When a respected face from his past reappears and makes his thoughts on Leonard's current situation known, the choice should be an easy one. But the connection that's grown up between them is impossible to ignore, despite the humiliation and torment that Leonard has suffered. In the end, what will he choose?
Hello, Stockholm Syndrome. Really, that's what this boils down to, as the "romance" between Leonard and Jamal never feels particularly believable or compelling. To top it off, the plot twists are incredibly contrived, or at least not particularly well integrated, and the political manuverings are weak at best. But, to be perfectly honest, none of those are the primary draw for this book. If you want graphic sex and gorgeous art, you'll find your fill of it here.