Book Review – A Prince Among Men by Ari McKay

Fortress #1
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 276
Characters: Sebastian/Sean
POV: 3rd
Genre: Action, Suspense, Series

Where governments fail to protect the innocent, you’ll find the men of Fortress.

Sebastian Chase knows danger is part of the job. As an operative for Fortress, he and his cadre act outside the rules of any nation, risking their lives to fight terrorists and rescue victims of kidnap and torture — not for fame or money, but because it is the right thing to do.

Dr. Sean Grimaldi is the most reluctant royal in the world. His father renounced his position as Prince of Akkadia in the name of true love, and Sean has no desire to take up his own title. After his parents are killed in an accident, however, Sean returns to Akkadia, lured by the King’s promise to build a hospital in their honor. Instead, Sean is imprisoned and faced with Faisal’s demand to marry and produce an heir — or else!

When an operation in Akkadia ends in Bash’s capture, he and Sean are brought together, and neither can deny the chemistry between them. But fate intervenes when the King of Akkadia is shot, pushing the country to the verge of civil war. Now Bash must risk everything to find the traitor who is murdering the heirs to the throne — because if he fails, he will lose the only man he’s ever loved.

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I loved this book and am hanging out for the next in the series. Sean and Bash’s story starts with a tense action-packed situation, and doesn’t let up for the most part until the end of the story. Fortress is an interesting organisation, as is the man who runs it, and this book, and I suspect series, is going on my paperback-want list.

I liked how there is far more to both Sean and Bash than first appears, with both of them having hidden depths, and passion for their chosen fields. They’re both men who want to make a difference. I loved their connection although they’re suspicious of each other at first. Understandable, considering they meet in prison cells. I also loved how Bash has a romantic streak, and his determination to keep Sean safe, no matter the cost. Their relationship felt real, and I quickly became invested in their HEA.

I liked how the story unfolded. Sean’s conversation with his grandmother is interesting. I liked her and the different perspective she gives him.

The action scenes are well written, and tense. The sense of urgency and the stakes involved does a great job in driving the story, although I did enjoy the few bits of downtime in which Sean and Bash get to know each other. I didn’t want to put the book down until I knew Sean and Bash had survived, at least for now. I thought the reveal of the assassin was cleverly done, and I liked that there were consequences, rather than everyone getting out unscathed.

I didn’t immediately guess who was behind everything either. The red herrings were nicely done, and made it difficult to narrow down the culprit.

I loved Nick, and want to know more about him, his operatives, and his connections. I liked the final conversation he and Sean have. Go Sean!

More please.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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