Mar 4 2013 3:30pm

The Dark Soul of Aleksandr Voinov

Dark Soul by Aleksandr VoinovAleksandr Voinov’s books not only rip you out of your comfort zone, they open the door and roughly push you through. No parachute. No safety harness. He demands you explore the dark and brutal side of love right along with his well defined and complex characters. Unlike many erotic romance authors, Voinov doesn’t subscribe to the notion that the end of the story necessitates a happily ever after. While his characters may resolve the main conflict in the story, we aren’t given any reassurances that they will ever overcome the emotional, mental, or physical obstacles strangling them in order to have a functioning relationship.

Voinov’s strength lies in his characters. They are often underdogs, seemingly stuck in non-negotiable circumstances, forced into submission by the results of their own actions. Their journey to self discovery and awareness is often a minefield of pain, despair, and blood. But they are also survivors who are often forced to submit in some way, but you would never mistake that for defeat. Their choices aren’t always the best, but they are the best choices to make from what they are offered.

Voinov himself has said the perfect ending for his books is when “the characters make it out alive, but at a terrible cost, usually by the skin of their teeth. I want to see what's at the core of them, and stripping them down to that core is rarely pleasant for them. But it does make them wiser, and often stronger people.”

See? Not one “...and they lived happily ever after.”

A favorite Voinov title is Dark Souls, a wickedly dark and sinful five-episode mini serial that focuses on a married hetrosexual mob boss who finds himself sexually attracted to a gorgeous androgynous assassin. Dark Souls is a rough and raw erotic romance that sets the pages on fire as you watch the internal and external battles these men engage in as they try to find middle ground in a relationship that was never meant to be.

A killer's moral compass rarely points true, and among made men, being gay is a capital crime. But Silvio Spadaro, deadly prodigy and heir to a Family fortune, is determined to find his own way—at the feet of the man he loves or by the barrel of a gun—no matter the dangers or costs.

Special Forces by Aleksandr VoinovDarkness permeates Voinov’s special ops novel, Special Forces, which he co-wrote with the author Marquesate. The equivalent of 15 full-length novels, this epic saga follows the “romance” of two enemy soldiers for over 2 decades. Written in three parts, Soldiers, Mercenaries, and Veterans, this novel is not for the faint of heart. Heart-wrenching violence permeates the entire story line and you will find yourself soon swept away by this brutal yet addictive story that redefines what love is and the lengths some will go to experience and keep it.

Vadim Krasnorada and Dan McFadyen are two enemies who meet in the line of duty during the early days of the Soviet Union's last war in Afghanistan. Behind enemy lines respect and finally love grow...but that's only the official version.

The reality of these two men is dark, brutal, fuelled by aggression and insane lust. Steeped in pain and killing, these Special Forces soldiers meet in 1980. Their intense hatred caused by rape, revenge and torture turns into fucked-up lust and years of secret encounters in the dangerous labyrinth of Kabul and the Afghan mountains. Time, despair and desolation smooth down the sharpness of hatred, its venom drained with each physical encounter; lust helps to form an understanding that only two men of the same kind can share.

Loved Special Forces? Get more Vadim goodness in Gold Digger.
Gold Digger is a male/male novella that spins off of one of Voinov's Special Forces character. Nikoli Krasnorada, son to Vadim, works for a gold exploration company. Sent to Toronto to facilitate a deal with a top mining company, he meets Henri LeBeau and soon begins his own exploration into bisexuality. Conflict threatens their relationship when the mining company attempts a hostile takeover. Plenty of sex and humor makes this novella one of Voinov’s lighter offerings.

Scorpion by Aleksandr VoinovVoinov takes us back into the darkness with another fantastic military/special ops fantasy m/m story called Scorpion. A grim, yet strangely hopeful, story of one man’s journey as he struggles to escape grief, injury, and a possessive lover to find his way back to his unit and the leader who holds his heart. Loyalty is a strong base that both the story and our hero is built upon. Fantastic world building and a compelling atmosphere will leave you thoroughly engrossed until the end.

Voinov is currently writting a frisky little series with L.A. Witt entitled The Market Garden series. The series are small erotic niblets, centering around a high class brothel, and its rent boys and patrons who come there looking for erotic adventures. So far, there are two in the series with a third releasing next month.

Though Voinov has a very busy life with being an editor at a ratings agency, and publisher/co-owner of Riptide Publishing, he has written more than a dozen novels and commercially published five print books with German publishers. After many years working in the horror, science fiction, cyberpunk, and fantasy genres, Voinov has set his sights now on contemporary and historical erotic gay novels, for which I am exceedingly grateful.

Have you read Aleksandr Voinov yet?


Tori Benson can be found at Smexybooks and at Twitter.

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Vanessa Ouadi
1. Lafka
I've read Voinov' Special Forces and Dark Soul series, and thought they were pretty amazing. I have a marked preference for Dark Soul over Special Forces (because I'm not that much into military), but both series are eceptionnaly well written, and they basically grip you and won't let you go, forcing you to face, eyes wide open, situations you're not comfortable with.
Voinov's writing style is raw and gritty, particularly powerful. I can't think of any other author to compare him with, he's pretty unique. I'm so glad to read a review about him on H&H, thanks Tori!

I would definitely not recommand his books to just anyone though, they are quite distrubing and not for the faint of heart...
2. Torifl
Lafka-Very true. You need a strong heart and lots of kleenex for Voinov. :)
3. Carolyn @ Book Chick City
I've read the Dark Soul serial and really enjoyed it. I'm tempted to read Special Forces but the sheer amount of pages keeps putting me off. I did read one of his novellas, Skybound, though which was good.

Yeah, I agree Voinov's stories may not be for everyone, even I can't read too much at once as they're quite dark and intense, but I really enjoy dipping in now and then.
Lege Artis
4. LegeArtis
Well, I shared shameless love for his work few times here already...
And I don't know if and when will I reread SF, it was intense and I was emotionally drained after reading about Vadim and Dan. One of my favorite m/m couples...
AV is writing next Scorpion book and I'm really excited about it...It's an interesting world.
5. judi@togainunochi
I've read everyting he has writen, that I could get my hands on. He never fails to amaze, evoke deep feelings and above all push forth love in all it's various forms.
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