Lia Black takes established fantasy tropes and crafts them into a smart, highly readable, sexy tale, with plenty of action and surprising touches along the way. Veyl especially is a new favorite character: I’m a city gal myself, so I’ve a soft spot for pampered creatures of civilization who are forced into situations requiring something called “camping” or, heaven help us, “roughing it” in that woefully misnamed entity, the “great outdoors.” (The scene where Kaidos orders Veyl to skin a dead animal was priceless.)
Black takes her time bringing these two together, with plenty of gay for you/out for you angst and lively love/hate banter. Both Kaidos and Veyl are more than they appear, and the book is full of unexpected moments of pathos and sweetness to offset the conflict and violence of the story. Those who have read Worthy know that Black writes wonderfully sensual, sizzling erotic scenes and King’s Ransom definitely does not disappoint.
That being said, it’s a long book at 150,000 words, and it would not have hurt the story to sacrifice some pages during the journey section, though in truth I was always engrossed reading it. With the arrival of Captain Engel at 40% with its kidnapping within a kidnapping and hints of a love triangle, the story becomes action-packed, with a small host of new characters (the wizard and his apprentice were particularly effective and moving), all racing towards a highly suspenseful and satisfying denouement.
Bottom Line: Lia Black writes a fun, sexy story that will satisfy fans of high fantasy and M/M. Highly Recommend.