This novella was originally published under the title Sweet Son and has been significantly revised.
Merchantman Eryn knows something is missing in his life. He has tried dating and he has tried the ladies of the night, but nothing seems to fit for him. Until one evening when he ventures to the back alley near the docks and a whole world of dark and dangerous sex Eryn never knew existed is right there for him. Eryn can’t stay away as his desires are being fulfilled, yet the loathing he feels for wanting to be with men and to be humiliated is more than he can take.
Eryn can no longer stay in the dark when he dreams of the beautiful Prince Wyn claiming to be his true love. The prince is in danger, which leads Eryn on a quest. However, as much as Eryn wants to find and protect his true love, he has been told over and over that he is not worthy and Eryn finds himself drastically unprepared in both mind and body. Captured and then enslaved by a pasha, Eryn must withstand torture at the whims of a man who claims to be able to set Eryn’s heart free. Eryn finds himself in a magical world of part illusion and part truth, but for Eryn it is all his reality. For if Eryn can truly overcome his self-loathing, he just may have a chance at true love.
“Once upon a time in a land far far away….” This is how this dark, erotic fairy tale begins. This is the story of the personal journey that Eryn takes and less about any romantic notion. There are allegories and morals not so subtly placed throughout his quest. Eryn is wrapped up in his sexuality and loathes himself on many levels. He has been told he is “unworthy” and a “deviant” and that has permeated his entire being.
Eryn goes on a literal journey to find his true love, but winds up on a personal journey of finding himself. Eryn wants to be shamed and humiliated and if there is pain involved, so much the better. There is pain for pleasure, there is pain for the sake of pain, and there is pain for the sake of overcoming the pain. He becomes the sex slave of a powerful magician all in the name of finding his true self and his entire self worth is seemingly tied into how he views his sexual needs and wants. There is scene after scene of Eryn submitting publicly, all with a dubious consent angle, and being tortured all in the name of building his self esteem and character. Eryn’s reality was part illusion, so some areas were too abstract, but the overall message was clear. The ending, and Prince Wyn’s story, was not as clear.
I have read a lot of this author’s work and there are several books and characters that are personal favorites. This book was not the best fit for me. However, if you want a story that is dark, twisted, and committed to well written humiliation kink set in a fairy tale and fantasy world where illusion meets reality, The Devil Will Do may then be a good fit for you.