4,5 stars. This story was riveting - I was quite annoyed when I had to make a reading break for my sister's birthday...From the whole atmosphere it seemed to me a bit like a violent and sexy (gay) version of "The two towers", just without orks, elves and the whole fantasy lot, but battle, siege, whipping, sex and so on. I don't even know why I felt this way, but I had the soundtrack somehow playing in my head while reading.I liked the protagonist, Kendras, very much. The story was told from his point of view. The whole world building was done brilliantly, because there were no tedious, endless descriptions, but it all came very natural with the story development.The story starts when the scorpions, an elite mercenary squad, is beaten and nearly destroyed in a war. Kendras, one of them, is injured and has to fend for his own. He gets involved in another man's games, but his only goal is to find what is left of his comrades and his officer, the man he always loved. Through fighting and intrigue he finally finds him, but also finds out who he really is. Kendras and the small rest of the squad fight this battle with their old officer, now a lord protector, as he finally accepts his birthright. In the end Kendras accepts his new role as the new officer and starts to rebuild the scorpions. It is kind of a HEA, because he also stays with Adrestas, his former officer and lover. All in all a very entertaining read.