by Treva Harte

November 2002
ISBN: 1-84360-265-2
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The Wildling is set in a savage, primitive land where women reign supreme, and men are kept as subservient pets. This reader wiggled her eyebrows lasciviously at that!! The pets have their own language called “manspeak”, a form of grunting rather like Tim the “Tool man” Taylor. The pets are not permitted to look a Mistress directly in the eye and they wear collars as further sign of their subservience.

Arness is a successful wilding trader, legendary for her taming tactics. Wildlings are men who have been captured to be trained and kept as pets. Arness sells the captured men to various ranches, where women pay to have all of their sexual needs catered to. Arness has two pets of her own, Primary, her right-hand-man so to speak, and Secondary. They help with the capture and transportation of wildings. They also satisfy her every sexual whim on demand. Arness is tough as nails, but known for her gentle way with new captures, and well respected for her good eye in choosing wildlings who will eventually make superior pets.

Morgena is the patroness of a renowned ranch filled with pets, and barters with Arness regularly for her captives. Tough, but fair, she has a captive that she wishes to present her daughter Salla with, who is giving her a bit of trouble! She’s hoping Arness might tame the difficult captive, thereby making him a presentable gift.

Adan is the captive causing all the ruckus at Morgena’s ranch. Big and blonde, he makes a run for freedom given any opportunity. He’s a captive with an attitude, who understands and speaks the language of the women, and makes use of that language by letting them know that no woman is going to keep him as her pet!

Salla, Morgena’s daughter, is young and virginal, though wise to her mother’s ranch. She wants no part of owning any pet! Salla has been off in the city at school and is disturbed by the very idea of men being kept as pets, yet doesn’t want to disappoint her mother. As I got to know Salla, I began to see her as a futuristic Men’s Rights Advocate!

When Arness arrives at the ranch with her new bevy of captives for Morgena, she meets Adan, who is tethered, and furious. He exudes attitude, something Arness isn’t used to but nonetheless begrudgingly admires in the arrogant Adan. She also feels a connection with him, however primal, and agrees to work with Adan after her return from retrieving more captives. Adan too is intrigued with Arness, beyond his evident physical attraction to her.

While retrieving those very captives Arness is bushwhacked. Adan manages to convince Arness’ pet Primary to allow him to come along with the rescue party to save Arness. Adan knows the bush well, born and raised there; he can only help by coming along. I would have liked to learn more about Adan and his background. How he came to be a captive, and exactly what made him tick. I thought just a bit more narrative would have done his character justice. While Primary is reluctant to bring Adan, he will do whatever it takes to save Arness. Salla also accompanies the two men, and on the trip finds herself in a very sticky situation. Salla is falling in love with Primary, someone else’s pet, a big no-no in this neck of the woods! Primary too, for the first time in his life yearns for something more than bondage to his Mistress Arness, and longs to be with Salla. But his appreciation and loyalty lie with Arness, presenting a dilemma.

What follows is a trip through the bush to find Arness, lots of hot steamy sex, with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.

I enjoyed the concept of this story. The writer showed genuine imagination, creating a world stark in its surroundings with great contrast to the very vivid, larger than life situations. I would only have wished that I could have learned more about the main characters Arness and Adan. The struggle Arness faces over Adan in whether she can be an equal in a relationship, rather than Mistress and pet, happened very quickly. There physical attraction was plain, but emotionally I was left feeling a bit slighted. I didn’t feel there was enough time spent letting them get to know one another before they became lovers. The book moves at a fast pace, fluid and well written with many surprising changes of attitude along the way. If you enjoy a futuristic setting with plenty of steamy sex, then check out ”The Wildling”.

Reviewed in December 2002 by Connie.

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