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Captive Prince is the first novel in the Captive Prince trilogy by C. S. Pacat

The book follows Prince Damianos who is betrayed by his Half-Brother, Kastor who seizes the throne and sends him to the Kingdom of Vere to be a pleasure slave to Prince Laurent who despises the Akielon people and the man who murdered his older brother, Auguste.  

Synopsis[]

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else...

Plot 

SPOILER WARNING: This section has important plot information. Please proceed with caution!

SECTION WARNING: This section is excessively detailed.

Prologue[]

Councillor Guion of Vere is in the Kingdom of Akielos, receiving twenty-four slaves as gifts from the Akielon King to the Regent of Vere. Jokaste (an Akielon courtesan) and Adrastus (the Royal Slave Keeper) introduce a muscled and physically imposing man (who is heavily bound and restrained) to Guion - as a personal gift to the Prince of Vere. Jokaste remarks to Guion that the King would be pleased if they were to call the slave 'Damen'. 

It is soon revealed to the reader that 'Damen' the slave is actually Damianos of Akielos, the prince and rightful heir to the Akielon throne, who has been betrayed by his bastard half-brother Kastor and has been sold into slavery under a fake identity to humiliate him. In a series of flashbacks, Damen recalls soldiers barging into his palace rooms to arrest him, explaining that his father, King Theomedes, is dead, and that Kastor has declared himself King.  

Against his will, Damen is jailed and bathed in the slave baths. Jokaste (Damen's former lover, now Kastor's lover) explains that Kastor has betrayed him and is shipping him off to the foreign enemy land of Vere to serve as a palace slave. Damen is locked into the golden collar and wrist cuffs of a slave. 

Chapter One[]

After a period of fruitless escape attempts, a heavily drugged Damen awakens from sleep to realize he has been transported by ship and is no longer in Akielos. By the architecture, he recognizes that he is in Vere. Having killed the former Veretian heir in battle 6 years previously, Damen knows he is in grave danger. Two handlers enter the room to prepare Damen to be presented to the Prince of Vere, and Damen realizes that no one in Vere knows his true identity. Rather, everyone thinks he is merely an Akielon slave; a gift for 20-year-old Crown Prince Laurent, the sole remaining Veretian heir, whose reign is held in trust by his uncle, the Regent.

Prince Laurent enters Damen's room with Councillor Guion and several courtiers; his "gift" from King Kastor. Laurent does not seem to recognize Damen for who he is, despite noticing a telling scar on Damen's shoulder. Many in Laurent's faction wonder if Kastor's "gift" is meant as a mockery, given that Damen's headstrong and difficult demeanor are not the standard characteristics of a submissive pleasure slave.

Rather than attempting to escape, Damen decides instead to attempt to wait out his imprisonment until an opportune moment. Laurent returns alone later that night to taunt Damen and cruelly muse what to do with him. Damen lies to Laurent, telling him that he was a soldier enslaved as punishment for angering Kastor. It is then that Laurent is joined by his uncle, the Regent of Vere, an imposing man in his forties, who reminds Laurent to treat Kastor's gift with respect, so as to not jeopardize the Veretian-Akielon peace treaty. Laurent still harbors resentment for Akielos because of his hatred of his elder brother's killer, but the Regent insists. Damen notices their strained relationship, and cannot determine whether the Regent is a friend or foe.

Chapter Two[]

The following morning, one of Damen's handlers, Radel, the overseer, insists that Damen be content with his new enviable position as the Prince's pet, and leads him to the slave baths to be cleaned and prepared. Damen notes that a peculiar herb burning in the bathhouse has had a depressant effect on his body, and suspects that it is a drug. 

Damen is dressed, blindfolded, and led to an amphitheater of Veretian courtiers — elaborately-dressed and bejeweled nobles who are almost all accompanied by a "pet," a same-sex concubine and personal pleasure servant. Damen notes that the pets show little discretion in publicly, sexually pleasing their masters, and that the amphitheater is clearly a place for lazy, erotic debauchery. Damen is brought to Laurent's feet, but rather than participate in the atmosphere of the room, Laurent seems cold and unaffected. In the lower ring of this amphitheater, Damen witnesses the night's entertainment for the Veretians; the pets of the nobles putting on shows of sexual intercourse, the first of which is a simulation of rape. The nobles regard this both as erotica and as a show of a pet's talents. Laurent remains impassive throughout, but sends Damen into the ring despite Damen's exhaustion, beatings, and the drug he inhaled in the slave baths. Despite the fact that Damen has been purposefully set up by Laurent to fail, Damen manages to beat his opponent — a brutish, thug-like soldier named Govart — and then publicly offers his victory to Prince Laurent as a show of deference to appear submissive. 

Near the end of the evening, Damen meets Councillor Audin, who suggests that the young pet beside him, Nicaise (a boy of no older than ten or twelve) be offered to Damen instead as a proper reward. Damen declares that he has no interest in "raping a child" and declines. Laurent is surprised at first, but dismisses Audin, and then takes his leave from the room as Damen is escorted back to his own.  

Chapter Three[]

While being escorted back to his rooms by two guards, Damen nearly gets into an altercation with one, named Orlant, until another, Jord, intervenes. Jord reveals to Damen that Govart is actually a favorite of the Regent, a brutal mercenary infamous for being kicked out of the King's Guard, and that to publicly beat him in the ring might have sent a dangerous challenge to the Regent, who is viewed by many as the true seat of power in Vere. Later, Damen learns from Radel that the drug he inhaled the night before was known as chalis, and that Laurent had indeed ordered the use of it, though Radel insists that there was nothing sinister about it.

For five days, Damen is unbothered in his room, existing in quiet and comfort only broken by daily baths and meals. On the sixth day, Damen is taken to the baths, where Laurent waiting for him. Laurent ominously explains that the Regent has left on a hunting trip and that they are to be left alone. Laurent instructs Damen to undress him and bathe him, but when Damen becomes aroused while bathing Laurent's genitals, Laurent commands his guards to take Damen to the flogging post, despite Radel's protests that to do so would be against the Regent's wishes.

At the post, Damen is mercilessly flogged almost to the point of death. At the end of it, Laurent approaches Damen and explains that it was from Damen's "kinsman," Prince Damianos of Akielos and his brother's killer, that he learned such brutality.

Chapter Four[]

After the flogging, Damen is taken to the palace physician, Paschal, to be treated for his wounds and kept from death. The members of the Prince's Guard who guard Damen begin to treat him with newfound respect and admiration. For several days, Damen is cared for by the physician while also gathering information about Vere, such as their penchant for taking same-sex pets rather than invite the scandal of illegitimate children (an abomination to Veretians) and that pets were not enslaved, but rather free lowborns. Jord also reveals to Damen that Prince Laurent has never been known to take a lover or keep a pet.

After a week, the Regent returns from his trip and comes to see the damage Laurent has inflicted on Damen. Furious with Laurent's treatment of an Akielon diplomatic gift, the Regent asks Damen what he thinks the punishment for Laurent ought to be. Damen expresses that in an army, a disobedient soldier would be "publicly flogged and turned off," which is seen by Radel and the other members of the Prince's Guard as a show of disloyalty to Laurent.

Damen, dressed, painted, and bejeweled in the elaborate style of a pet, is led to the throne room of the palace where Laurent is receiving judgement from his uncle and the Council for his actions. The Regent declares that Laurent is to be punished for his insolence and irresponsibility by revoking Laurent's lands of Varenne and Marche, and severely diminishing his income and retinue, only allowing Laurent to keep his ancestral home of Aquitart, over which Laurent technically holds sovereignty, such as he does in Vere. In order to save face, Laurent graciously accepts the judgement of his uncle.

Chapter Five[]

Following the display in the council chamber, Laurent leads Damen by leash into the courtyards surrounding the palace. Despite Laurent's careful respect for his uncle, of whom he purposefully refuses to speak ill to anyone else, Laurent warns Damen that to "bleat" to his uncle will have lost him the support of Laurent's guards.

When Laurent disappears to speak with a councillor, Damen is left alone. Nicaise appears, and approaches Damen with an Akielon slave in tow, spitting in his face and sneering that Damen's slight from the night before has done nothing to hurt his own reputation. When Nicaise leaves to try and find Laurent, Damen exchanges words with the slave, named Erasmus, who does not recognize Damen as his own Crown Prince, but responds positively to Damen's kindness and naturally dominant nature. They are interrupted by a small group of courtiers — Vannes, a noblewoman, Berenger, a nobleman, and Berenger's red-headed pet, Ancel. They comment on Damen's formidable appearance and strength from his fight with Govart the night before, and lament not being able to see him perform sexually. Ancel offers to perform oral sex on Damen for the entertainment of the courtiers and Laurent, who has returned, agrees. When Damen is then restrained to a bench for the performance, Laurent notices that Damen is not arousing, he offers verbal instruction to Ancel on how to sway Damen's lust. Though the instructions are cold and clinical, Damen is forced into orgasm by Ancel's efforts.


Released, Damen sees Nicaise returning to the courtyard, who tells Laurent that he is to lead him to the Regent.

Featured Characters[]

Damianos "Damen", Crown Prince of Akielos — Son of the deceased King Theomedes and half-brother to Kastor, Damen is arrested and sold into slavery by Kastor as a pleasure slave to the Prince of Vere, Laurent. Because he is a known enemy in Vere, Damen must conceal his true identity. Though he is at first verbally and physically abused by Laurent, he soon comes to understand that Laurent's cold brutality comes from a need to protect himself from his uncle, the Regent, whose power is far-reaching, and that Laurent is actually intelligent, talented, and capable of kindnesses. Damen is described as having olive-colored skin which tends to "hides the bruising" of his abuses, and is generally accepted to be of Mediterranean descent, and his land of Akielos to be a parallel to the Greek/Roman empire. He also speaks fluent Akielon and Veretian, allowing him to communicate with others even in a foreign land.

Laurent, Crown Prince of Vere — Heir to the Veretian throne, Laurent's father (the King of Vere) and beloved elder brother, Auguste were both killed in battle six years prior to the start of Captive Prince, leaving Laurent's reign in trust to his uncle, known only as the Regent. Though Laurent is only ten months from coming into his throne, his uncle has amassed many followers who believe Laurent to be a petulant and irresponsible man who might not be equipped to handle the throne. Described as stunningly beautiful, with blonde hair and blue eyes, Laurent is often noted to stand out from others because of the color of his hair. Laurent and the land of Vere are often drawn from European/Byzantine parallels, and most Veretians speak the language of Vere exclusively.

The Regent — The Regent of Vere is given no other name besides his title, but he was the younger brother of Laurent's father before his death, and has assumed the role of Regent in place of his nephew. He is described as an imposing and bulky man in his forties, and though he first appears to be a man of good intent and moral conscience, it is soon clear that the Regent means to surreptitiously retain his control of Vere, despite his nephew's claims. The Regent is known to have a sexual preference for extremely young boys, even younger than is generally seen in Veretian society, and takes on male pets often of barely pubescent ages.

Nicaise — A young boy, and the court pet of the Regent, who makes no secret of his hatred for Laurent or any of his associates. Damen often questions if Nicaise's hatred for Laurent is genuine, or if there isn't a strange, brotherly bond between them. He is no older than twelve or thirteen, with exquisitely beautiful looks and often a great display of jewels and paint on his person. He is at first incorrectly guessed to be the young pet of Councillor Audin.

Kastor — Damen's elder half-brother, the illegitimate son of King Theomedes. Kastor's claim to the throne was voided when Damen was born legitimately of King Theomedes and his Queen. Kastor is never seen in Captive Prince, only spoken of in flashback, but is understood to have staged a coup after Theomedes' death to wipe out Damen's household, and send Damen away under the guise of being dead. Kastor also seems to have made an alliance with Vere.

Jokaste — Former lover of Damen in Akielos, Jokaste became Kastor's lover and participated in the coup to overthrow Damen. It is later revealed in King's Rising that the idea of sending Damen to Vere as a pleasure slave was Jokaste's idea, rather than murdering him outright.

Quotes[]

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Chapter Information  []

  • Captive Prince contains thirteen chapters as well as a teaser for Prince's Gambit
  • An extra short story titled The Training of Erasmus is included in both the S. U. Pacat eBooks and the Physical copies. (Story is not included in the S. U. Pacat physical books or the C. S. Pacat eBooks.)

Trivia[]

  • The Book debuted on LiveJournal  as a free web serial on May 23rd, 2008.
  • It was self-published under the pen name S. U. Pacat on February 4th, 2013, before being subsequently published by Penguin Berkley under the pen name C. S. Pacat on April 7th, 2015.
  • Captive Prince has been translated into French, German, Hungarian and Japanese. The Japanese edition includes cover and interior illustrations by Chinhatsu Kurahara.
  • Damen and Laurent met for the first time in chapter 2.

Cover Editions[]


References[]

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