Good lord! This is one hard book to shelve! Is it contemporary? It takes place in a time that in other books I would still consider contemporary (like an early Troubleshooters book), but it's setting is a significant historical event that took place in the 1980s. Though you can't really call it a historical fiction because... well, because it feels too current. Though I guess 25 years is pretty significant. I refuse to label it 'erotica' even though it has many graphic sex scenes, but I feel like that label is too limiting; it's soooooo much deeper than that. BUT, I can't call it a romance either because, again, that's way too small of a box for this book. In the end I'm leaving off ALL of those shelves and I'm sticking to the important ones, the ones that really keep the integrity of this very complicated story. It's gritty, intensely so, it has 2 complicated men who fall in love, and it is definitely up there as a favorite, possibly a soul book but that takes a little more ruminating.
You guys, if you can handle very graphic descriptions of m/m relationships and a very brutal, albeit probably realistic, portrayal of war then you should READ. THIS. BOOK.
Dan is a British SAS soldier in 1980 stationed in Afghanistan during the war, where he meets Vadim, a Soviet Union Spetsnaz Captain under 2 very violent circumstances that makes mortal enemies out of these two men. However they quickly find that there's a fine line between bone deep hatred and lust, and as life continues to toss them into each other they slowly find that hatred also is just a breath away from something they never ever expected.
Dan is reckless and wild, full of smart ass comments and smirks. The author shows you exactly why Vadim can't stop thinking about him even as mortal enemies. He's got that x-factor that just makes him pop right off the page. I say he's like a mix between Jamie Fraser from Outlander and Qhuinn from the BDB. Full of life and charisma (Dan would say he totally resembles that, heehee). Vadim is more tightly reigned and cold, at least at first glance. Once you really get to know him you see how deep his emotions and sensitivity goes. He can be vicious and brutal, but when he loves he loves with everything, total and complete. Together they made my pulse pound and my face flush, and not always in the good way. Remember, this book is BRUTAL. These men, they are not always good men. They make each other want to be better.
This is not a short book, and I will say that this is only book one in a long 4 book long story. But please don't let the bulk intimidate you. Sometimes you can get the depth you need in 300 pages, but sometimes you can't. This book needed a page count for the reader to overcome the horror at the start. The only possible way that you could walk away from this book believing it is with time, you need to feel the gradual change between Dan and Vadim. I'm a firm believer that in all books you need a balance. You need the bad of the book to really feel the good, just the same as you need good in order to care about the bad. And this book was the perfect balance because it wasn't afraid to take it's time and be as aggressive as it needed to be, both in the hate and with the love. If this book had been any shorter you would never have believed that these two could have come so far emotionally. It was absolutely perfectly written. It was steal your breath away.
There has only ever been 3 romantic books that have consumed me on a level such as this, and I have absolutely no qualms about comparing this book to those. Special Forces - Soldiers is amazing.