Book Reviews

Dominant Predator (The Borders War 2) by S.A. McAuley

Genre Gay / Science Fiction / Soldiers/Mercenaries / Future Earth / Erotic Romance / Action/Adventure
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 14-April-2018

Book Blurb

A relationship is the least of Merq's and Armise's concerns...

With one bullet Merq Grayson set the wealthiest citizens of the world on a collision course with the poorest--those fighting for their freedom. As the Borders War reignites, the Revolution faces heavy losses. They scramble to maintain their advantage, to strike at the Opposition and crumble their power structure before they are able to rally.

But Merq is in the midst of an internal battle that shakes him to the core. For the first time in his life Merq will have to reconcile the inherent tragedy of war and decide just how much vengeance can be justified by spilt blood. How much can he trust the people around him? The president, Neveed, his former soldiers, his parents...and Armise.

Merq and Armise find themselves off grid and on the hunt for Committee members. Merq is just as unsettled with Armise at his side as he was with Armise as an enemy, but they will have to learn how to fight together--or they just might die together.


Second Edition published by Pride Publishing, January 2016.

First Edition published by Total E-Bound, September 2013.

Book Review

No less disquieting than the first book, even on my second reading, this second volume picks up where the last one ended: right after Merq shot the Premiere of Singapore, leader of the Opposition. As a consequence, the Borders War flares up again, those who fight for individual freedom have new hope, and Merq is now the "face of the Revolution". He is suddenly well-known and officially reports to the president. Armise has become "the traitor", since he saved Merq's life, but is quite happy to be with Merq. The real differences between these two men are at the center of this book: what they know, how they react, and how they figure out what's next becomes far more important than whether or not they have a relationship and what they may want out of it.

Merq is still a soldier, but the sudden absence of a clear mission in the aftermath of his successfully assassinating the leader of the Opposition is hard on him. He knows following orders is easy, and he has no problem with any of them. But he discovers that it matters a great deal to him who gives them to him. Blind obedience is no longer an option. Merq now has a loyalty he never had to deal with before - Armise. He doesn’t admit it, but it affects his actions. The fact that Armise openly admits he wants to stay with Merq only makes it more difficult for Merq to deny that he does have feelings for the man. His "solution" is to word it slightly differently, making their relationship about trust. Which is as true as anything else, I guess, since the political maneuvering only intensifies, and the question of how to win this war is as dependent on military power as it is on Merq and Armise's new mission: kill all members of the Opposition council.

Armise remains as interesting a conundrum as he was in the first book. And since Merq tells the story, I have no idea what goes on in Armise's head. Interestingly, his external loyalty, for the time being, is clearly with Merq. Armise has switched sides in the war, and supports what Merq does, working with him to fulfill their assassination mission. But additional information about his past emerges, and it makes it much less clear who he really is. Genetic modification will mess with anyone's self-image, as well as, potentially, with their fundamental loyalties. I had no doubts that he will do anything to protect Merq, but as for the bigger picture and how he fits in? That remains to be seen.

As in the first book, loyalties are fierce, and the battle lines clearly drawn. The five remaining powers on Earth in this version of the 26th century are still somewhat difficult to comprehend - having been involved in 300 years of war, unsurprisingly, has changed everyone. I think this is fascinating, and puts me right in the same spot as Merq: the instinctive tendency is to side with the party he is fighting for, the Revolution, but there are too many questions about their methods for me to be completely certain I want them to win. So, I ended up with Armise: I am siding with Merq as a man, and can’t wait to see what else he learns as he begins to question the stories he has always been told by the political leaders of "his side".

If you don’t like books about war, extreme violence, and torture stay away from this one. If you're curious to find out what might happen to humanity in a future where fighting for dominance with weapons has become a reality again, this series is an increasingly fascinating look at what might happen. If you're wondering about the power of propaganda and how someone who grew up believing what he was told might begin to question the truth of it all, this is the right series for you. This second story is moving, brutally honest, and very powerful. I suspect it will grab your attention and not let go once you start reading – it certainly held me in its grip from beginning to end!





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 201 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 25-August-2017
Price $0.99 ebook
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