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Alain and Christophe are two young orphans raised by a loving priest at the school he works at. One day, they are caught sharing a kiss by one of the higher clergy, and find themselves torn apart. Seven years passes, and Christophe has completed seminary and takes up a post as a young nobleman's tutor. Unfortunately, this is not before his beautiful face has caught the attention of a Cardinal, who schemes to have Christophe bound to him. Alain too, has come to this country manor, and is shocked to discover that the new tutor is his childhood friend and first love, Christophe. But Alain is pretending to be a marquis, seeking the identity of the man who murdered his mother, making him an orphan. Confusion reigns in two hearts, while the never forgotten passion once more rears its forbidden head as the young priest and the imposter struggle against the tides of high society and its politics. It is the eve of the Revolutionary War in France, and with decadence and intrigue layered one upon the other over and over again, will these two find truth and safety?
This piece is Dany & Dany's first offering directly to the American market, originally published in 2008, and as usual the art and story are well polished, with a sumptuous elegance to both art and prose. The costumes are lavish, the backgrounds detailed , at times almost photographic, and the male leads have the signature androgynous doll-like faces. The only fault I can actually find with this title is that once it reaches the climax, the story suddenly jumps without explanation not once, but twice. Going from a scene where one is arrested and the other in a state of panic, to where the arrested one is peering into a destroyed building helping the other out is slightly bewildering, and I actually flicked back and forth a couple of times wondering if I had missed something. The second jump is not so inexplicable, but still quite abrupt, given that it falls so fast on the heels of the first time-skip. A few frames showing just how the two got to the point of the ruined building would have solved this nicely, but as it is, it is a relatively minor annoyance.
The book is rated an 18+ and I must tell you that it contains scenes of uncensored sex, violence, and death. It's not gory and the violence and deaths shown are necessary to the plot-line, as is the sex. In fact, given the Cardinal's plans and the decadence of the era, the sexual situations are critical elements that the story hinges upon. As always the sex scenes are drawn with great care, and are quite passionate and actually very romantic. You do, however, see body parts in detail, so if you blush easily or feel shy about these things, you might wish to look elsewhere. Given the fully realised plot and the gorgeously rendered art, you'd be missing a real treat if you do, even given the minor flaws.
Available both as a standard paperback from manga outlets such as Amazon, the Book Depository,and Everything Yaoi, as well as an edition for the Kindle via Amazon. The Kindle edition is especially good value as it is less than half the cost of the paperback, and can be read either using the Kindle e-reader, or by using the free applications for the Blackberry, I-phone and I-pad, and/or the PC. It can also be rented by chapter over at Netcomics.com along with several other titles by Yaoi Press, including more works by Dany & Dany, for only $0.25 a chapter, making it an excellent choice for reading before you buy if you so choose, as it will cost you the princely sum of 1 USD.
I'd like to thank both Yaoi Press and NetComics for making this review copy available to me.