“For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice...” ~ John Burroughs
Andreas, of 'A Tested Love' by Kayla Jameth, believed Theron when he said he would come back to him. When Theron doesn't keep his promise, Andreas is despondent and feels like a fool for trusting him. At first, he worries that Theron is dying or already dead, but as time goes on, he accepts the harsh truth. Theron probably went back to his men and will soon forget about Andreas altogether. Broken-hearted, Andreas returns to his solitary life and tries to put Theron out of his mind and heart.
Theron tries to resume his former life, convinced that Andreas will soon forget him and is safer without Theron around. No matter how hard he tries, memories of their times together haunt Theron; he misses Andreas with an intensity hardly fathomable, much less for a kryptes. When Theron is given his first mission to 'eliminate' certain Helots who are deemed to be revolutionaries, Theron is shocked to find that Andreas's name is on his list. Apparently, his ploy to keep Andreas safe has not worked. In fact, it's put him directly in the line of fire. Theron accepts his assignment with as little emotional reaction as possible, but inside he is torn apart. Theron wrestles with the situation, going back and forth in his mind, but he sees no other solution; Theron has to kill Andreas. He goes to Andreas's with the intent of doing so as humanely as possible, but when he sees Andreas, he knows that there is no way he can go through with it. Theron knows if he doesn't get Andreas to safety, others will come to finish the job. No longer trusting Theron, but having no choice, Andreas and Ictics, his ferret, begin a journey out of Spartan territory.
During their trip, Andreas and Theron are faced with a multitude of emotional battles as they decide whether or not it's even possible to rebuild trust in each other again, but neither can deny their strong attraction to the other. They second-guess themselves and each other as they struggle not only with their feelings, but their mind-set. What they have always believed to be true suddenly isn't. If they're to remain together, they have to learn to see themselves as men rather than as master and slave like they have always been taught. Since knowing Andreas, Theron can never think of other Helots as anything besides men, therefore making it impossible for him to kill indiscriminately as he did before. Coincidentally Andreas, having tasted the freedom he has with Theron, can never go back to the inferior attitude he had of himself before knowing Theron. They are changed men no longer fitting into their preconceived notions of who they were and what they believed in the past. As Theron and Andreas adapt to their new ways of thinking, they also have to alter the way they look at one another and how to respond to each other if they have any chance of creating a true bond of love, trust, and forgiveness.
There's a lot more to this epic story, but I can't fit it all in the review. Andreas and Theron have an enormous amount of work to do on their relationship. The men need to decide if they are capable of altering their entire life paths and forge one together. Itcis, the ferret, creates a good bridge between Andreas and Theron, bringing them together when needed and adding some comic relief, because if anything, ferrets know how to mix things up. There's also a very useful and informative section after the story that provides histories of gods’ and goddesses’ genealogy, adventures, and celebrations, along with definitions and customs of ancient Greece. Thanks, Kayla, for a great second book in the series. I look forward to the next edition.