The second book in The Free Men trilogy is just as strong as the first. I adore the universe, the characters, and the unique relationship they share. As I said in my review of The Slave, I love this kind of hurt/comfort slave story with a kind master the characters want to serve. The hurt is stronger in this book than the first, with some uncomfortable and difficult scenes, but it never becomes gratuitous torture porn. The focus is always on the main three characters and how their experiences bind them closer together.
This book is written from Kai’s perspective, which I think was a great choice given that Kai was probably my least favorite character from the first book. Seeing things from his point of view really helped me to understand and relate to him better as a character, and I finished The Soldier with a lot more love and respect for Kai than I’d had previously, and a better idea of where he really fit in with the m/m/m relationship in this series. Of course Tam and Master (who now has the lovely name of Lysander) have major roles as well, and we come to see just how much they mean not only to each other but to Kai as well, who is as surprised by how much he cares as everyone else seems to be.
The second book also sets things up for the third, as we meet Lysander’s wife and start to get an inkling of how complicated the Master’s life truly is. That happy ever after I’ve been craving since the first book seems ever more unlikely as the series reaches its conclusion, leading me to wonder how the author pulls off a satisfying ending. I read this in two sittings, interrupted only by my need to sleep for work. This series is un-put-downable and I urge you to read it at your earliest convenience.