P. L. Nunn
Reviewed by Nancy
3 out of 5 stars
The neko are a cat-like race that live separate from humans. When Dharsha, a young neko is captured and enslaved he learns just how cruel humanity can be. Sold to a group of brutal woodsmen, who despise his differences, he becomes less than human, an object for them to sate their frustrations and lust. Only when a passing trapper frees him of their cruel ownership, does he discover that not all humans are evil. And in a new land, he discovers as well, that he can find love and clan with the one man who needs him as much as he is needed.
I would not have read this book if several of my friends have not already read and enjoyed P.L. Nunn’s work. Since I have read many books that explore the darker side of humanity and the evil things people do to each other, I wasn’t going to let a few warnings like, “bestiality, torture, and exaggerated scenes of humiliation, sadism and bondage” scare me away.
In Chapter 1, a young Neko named Dharsha was captured and sold as a pleasure slave. He went through hell with his first few masters until he was sold to a woman who introduced him to pleasures he knew little of. Though she was mostly kind, she would never let Dharsha forget he was just a slave, and he rebelled. His rebellion earned a brutal beating and his sale to five woodsmen who didn’t waste any time showing Dharsha how to behave like a proper slave.
I read this chapter just before going to bed and had a dream that I had a Neko of my own. Like the Neko in the story, he was a young man with feline characteristics such as tail, claws and tufted ears. He was sitting in my father’s favorite chair drinking a tall glass of Coke while I was sitting on the couch with my grandmother across the way. My father comes home unexpectedly, and my grandmother and I race to the kitchen, leaving the Neko sitting quietly. From the kitchen we can hear glass break, and my father shouting about cat hairs on his chair. Then he proceeded to beat the Neko until he howled. When I came out of the kitchen to beg my dad to leave him alone, my dad started pounding on me for referring to the Neko as a “him” and not as an “it”. I remember waking up and thinking that this author must have some serious issues with men and cats.
Chapters 2 through 7 nauseated me with the relentless torture, physical and sexual humiliation, and deprivations Dharsha endures with the five woodsmen. It took me a couple of days to read these chapters, as they were too much, even for me. I then had a dream that my former boss called me into work (after I was laid off) because he couldn’t find any of the employee files. When I arrived at the office, I saw the file cabinet drawers were open and my former office was a shambles. The files were nowhere to be found. My boss then grabbed me, bent me over the desk, tied my arms over my head, pulled my pants down, and took a switch to my bare ass. By this stage, the Neko’s spirit was so broken and my feelings so numb that nothing that happened next could have shocked me. So I kept reading.
In the next chapter, a trapper comes to the woodsmen’s cabin wishing to spend a night or two in the stable while his horse recovers from injury. Neko reveals the woodsmen’s plans for the trapper and the two make their escape.
Though Dharsha is relieved to be away from his brutal masters, it takes some time for him to adjust to his freedom. Gradually, his feline senses become more attuned, his claws grow back and he demonstrates skill as a hunter. These skills become useful when the trapper’s life becomes endangered.
It was a pleasure watching Dharsha grow and change, though I wish more of the story would have been devoted to his adjustment to his new life and his developing relationship with Caled, the trapper, rather than the brutality he endured.
I suspect this is the most violent of P.L. Nunn’s works and will read another of the author’s stories, just not right away.