Book Title: Hathonatum
Author: Taylin Clavelli
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre/s: Science Fiction, Contemporary M/M, Interracial (Alien/Human), Inter-dimensional, Reincarnation. Multi-Verse, Historical elements.
Heat Rating: 3 – 4 flames
Length: 89 000 words
The story can be read as a standalone. It is the first book in the Pelethus Series. The next book involves different main characters that are connected to those in Hathonatum.
Publisher: MLR Press http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=TC_HATHO
Hathonatum is a love story that spans time, dimension, universe and death.
Have you ever wondered if that little voice inside you is actually your voice?
Egypt captivates Benjamin. As an adult, he immerses himself in his chosen profession, as an archaeologist in the ancient city of Abydos. For Ben, the hieroglyphs, and paintings unlock dreams of a time long lost.
The dig Ben works on is financed by Ashari Hathonatum. For many years, the man has been looking for the one who completes him. He initially saw his heart’s match from a distance. But that was a long time ago and from an alternate universe. When Ashari encounters Ben, he wonders if he is the reincarnation of the man he saw, through another’s eyes, all those years ago. Will the secrets Ashari hides about his heritage stop their love blooming, or will others from his dimension, determined to keep Ashari from his heart’s match, rule the day?
**The story is written with British spelling/grammar. **
Though Ben loved the thought of studying Seti, he was part of a small crew concentrating on Narmer (3180-3120 BC), whose tomb was located to the west of the dig, almost as far away from Seti as a tomb could get. Not much was known about the first pharaoh of the combined kingdoms, and Ben wanted to help discover something new. He wanted to shed light on a life that no one knew about—a new phenomenon to capture the imagination.
Ben had been on-site for a little over a week when he saw an intriguing man talking to Terry, his dig leader. Judging by his skin, Ben suspected the man to be local, but it was difficult to tell. Other than his face, the only other exposed part of him was his hands. The rest of him was covered with clothing designed to keep out the worst of the sand—layered, lightweight, loose, and black.
When the man locked gazes with him, Ben found himself staring into a vibrant blue sea of lapis lazuli, framed with black lashes and dark eyebrows. It wasn’t until a fellow worker walked between them that the connection was broken. When Ben sought to re-establish contact, the other had his back to him. Ben returned to his work, clearing out a trench of sand. The heat and excitement over what his group might find overshadowed any musings concerning the stranger.
At the end of the day, Ben was so tired he clambered onto the city-bound truck with as much grace as a stumbling mummy.
That night, while lounging on his bed, images of dark blue assaulted him. The event was rare for him, considering Egypt was his prime…prime everything.
Every day, the journey to the ruins was like being transported back in time. Ben could close his eyes and almost feel like he was there, in ancient Egypt. Often, he imagined he could see a partial image of the hustle and bustle of the ancient civilization continuing around him. At other times, he was in the quiet solitude of a temple. The images were odd, considering ancient Abydos was a graveyard.
From the drop-off point the next day, Ben made his way to tombs B17 and B18—the tombs attributed to Narmer. He worked there all morning with his small, square trowel and brush, slowly moving away the sands of eons.
As lunchtime approached, he relocated to the edge of the main dig and took his break. From there, he would imagine life in ancient Egypt.
Daydreaming, he chose to walk back to his station.
Suddenly, an alarm sounded. It was the warning for a sandstorm. It was similar to what his grandparents had described as the air raid warning from the war.
There was a flurry of activity while people efficiently covered artefacts and other areas of importance. Ben glanced around, noticing the storm was a lot closer than he’d originally thought. It had come out of nowhere. What crept toward the dig seemed like a moving wall of cloud, dense enough to shield the view and engulf anything below it. If it wasn’t for the cottonlike plumes of wheat colours, Ben could have believed a curtain of rain was heading his way. The screen of rapid shadow was making quick progress toward the dig, swallowing all in its path. Briefly, Ben went rigid, unable to move. When the sound of hissing reached his consciousness, and sand stung his feet and face, he dashed toward shelter. He was running a losing race.
Abruptly, he was grabbed and pulled to the floor behind a shallow wall. In a spell of activity as sleek as the sandstorm, a mask was put over his face, and his body along with that of his saviour rolled together. Over and over, they turned. Coming to a halt, and dizzy, Ben found himself cocooned, head to toe in a thick blanket. From the outside, the two of them probably resembled a fat, discarded mummy.
As Ben regained his senses, he could feel a wall to his back and secure arms around him. The only thing between them was his messenger bag containing the bottles of water he was required to keep on him to prevent dehydration in the desert sun.
Panting, he opened his eyes to a familiar sea of lazuli.
About the Author
I am proud to be British and proud to be an author of gay romance stories from varying genres. I write under the pseudonym Taylin Clavelli, not because I don’t want my real name out there, but because I think my real name is unmemorable for an author. The name came about from a night of Skype and a lot of wine.
My first published work – a comedy called Boys Toys and Carpet Fitters – came out in 2012. It was part of a Dreamspinners anthology called Don’t Do This At Home. Since then, I have produced a further two novels and five short stories, not including Hathonatum.
As well as being married for close to thirty years, and have a grown-up family, who I adore – I work part-time at a Manor Hotel, where I am also the resident historian. I am a book reviewer, too for a well-known site.
Not being a spring chicken anymore, I have a few hobbies that over the years have come, gone and resurfaced again. I am an experienced horse rider, and 2nd Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo. I help my husband with DIY projects, upcycle as much as possible and love my garden. As for those simple things that make me stop in my tracks. The dawn chorus, baking bread, lasagne, and the scene where Shadowfax makes his screen entrance.
Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win:
A choice of paperback + swag from Dakota Skies, Secret Of The Manor or 5 shorts from Taylin – 3 winners
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Just the facts: Science fiction, M/M, lots of suspense and drama!
My thoughts bit: Ben is an archaeologist. He’s been fascinated by Egypt his entire life and it goes far beyond his heritage. There’s just something about Egypt that has always drawn him. At a dig in Abydos, Ben is saved from a sandstorm by a mysterious man who turns out to be the funder of the dig. Ashari is the benefactor of the dig but he also quickly reveals an interest specifically in Ben. They spend some time together and ultimately end up traveling to another site based solely on Ben’s instincts. They uncover a new site… archaeologically significant… but it seems even more significant to Ashari.
As the two men become more familiar with one another, Ben realizes there is more to Ashari than he is revealing. In fact, there’s a lot more. Ben is having nightmares and one weekend when he is spending time with Ashari to get to know him, he passes out after a vision. There’s more to the visions than simply dreams that have come from Ben’s subconscious mixing with his work life.
Last chance to bail! Slight spoilers below!
So, it turns out that Ashari is seeking his heart’s match and he’s pretty certain the Ben is that match. Just when things seem to be working out between the two men…an attack leaves Ben confused and worried about Ashari’s motivations… he runs to his family to hide and lick his wounds. When Jared, Ben’s brother, arrives… things come to a head and Ashari reveals what’s going on… and WHERE he’s actually from. It turns out that Ben and Ashari have met … and fallen in love before. It hasn’t happened in a traditional sense because Ashari is actually a Prince from another world entirely.
I don’t want to ruin the entire plot for you because it’s well worth a read so I won’t go into too much detail! Suffice to say that there’s another world involved, linked to the Egyptian people and history.
I think that Ashari was my favorite character. It was a lot of fun to get to know him as Ben did. The reveals about his origin and background were paced well and he is certainly intriguing. I’m hopeful that there will be a sequel in the future! Maybe we can find out more about what happens to Ben and Ashari after the end of this book.
This was an interesting read. The world-building was great in the last half of the book, I really enjoyed it. I found there was a bit too much exposition at times but I think part of that was just a style difference. I enjoyed this
Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) death by physical combat, kidnapping, character held for ransom, fainting/unconsciousness, vomiting, sand storm, numerous physical attacks, death as a result of fighting.
I received an ARC of Hathonatum by Taylin Clavellivia Gay Book Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review.