Masters and Slavers

by Bryan Davis
Series: Tales of Starlight #1
422 pages, Fantasy
Reviewed by Nienna

Exciting, imaginative book with a good bit of violence and some off screen sexual content.


Adrian Masters, the greatest swordsman on his planet, knows that dragons do exist and that they have enslaved humans called the "Lost Ones." This belief is punishable by death. Marcelle, a trouser-wearing fearsome swordswoman, hopes to help Adrian free the Lost Ones and to avenge her mother's murder. When faced with unimagined situations, conflicting choices, and personal friction, will Adrian's integrity and Marcelle's sword-wielding passion get them through, or make them lose their goal and their lives?


Good. The characters occasionally lie when it is necessary to their duty, usually to protect someone else. One main character is partially driven by a desire for revenge. This example is countered though by another (wiser) character who strongly repents of a similar desire. All of the characters have failings and weaknesses, yet desire to do right. Adrian in particular is driven by honor and righteousness, though he, too, stumbles sometimes. Almost all wrongdoing by the good guys is repented of and renounced. The evil humans and dragons are clearly represented as such. One thing particularly stressed is the value placed on all human lives.

Spiritual Content

The main characters believe in the Creator and strive to follow the "Code." Disembodied spirits play a large part in the story. There are portals through which one can travel from world to world, which could be seen as magic. A character has a gift that enables her to control people (to some extent) and do other such things.


A torture chamber is briefly described and a character remembers a friend's being killed there. A main character's mother had been brutally murdered and had her fingers cut off. Prisoners and slaves (mostly children) are starved, beaten, and horribly treated. The main characters come close to death many times--by drowning, burning, sword, or the unknown. Some characters die. A boy is burned to death. One on one battles in which the fighters get hit many times before one of them dies are described. A man is assassinated. The main characters kill men and dragons in battle. Little is graphically described, but one does always have a clear picture of what is happening.

Drug and Alcohol Content

A man is poisoned. Drugs are used by the bad guys to make prisoners compliant and unresponsive. The affect of one character upon another is said to be like a drug.

Sexual Content

A man suggests a woman should act provocatively in order to get something. A man is afraid of his daughter being raped and they briefly discuss lust. A character is thought to have been assaulted. Human slaves of the dragons are forced to "breed" together, which takes place off-screen. One character explains how he avoided this when he was supposed to be participating in the breeding program. When some men and women are forced to undress, one of the men leers at them. A woman's spirit enters a man's body to guide him and they say they love each other, but not in a sexual or romantic way. That woman's spirit does mention, however, that if he were engaged their unity would not be appropriate. A young woman changes her tunic a couple of times when no one is around, and some of the men have to be shirtless briefly a few times. Chests are referred to repeatedly in a none-sexual way, and the word 'bust' is used twice, I think. Many of the girl slaves (the oldest of whom is eight) do not have shirts. A strip of cloth is cut from a woman's tunic, exposing a bit of her waist.

Crude or Profane Language or Content

The word posterior is used a few times as a derogatory way of referring to a man. A couple of prisoners dwelt in their own waste.


Fast-paced, gripping, and inspiring, Masters & Slayers is filled with intriguing characters, noble ideals, true sacrifice, and personal growth. Although at first I disliked some of the characters, as the story continued I found myself sympathizing with their faults and rejoicing as they matured. I look forward to seeing that spiritual growth develop even further in the next book. The mysteries keep the reader guessing, and the tension keeps us reading. Though a masterfully written book, it was a bit more adult than I was expecting (the sexuality barely walked the wire of what I'm willing to read), and the spirit part was a little strange, so I would exhort other teenage readers to exercise caution on that score.

Fun Score: 5
Values Score: 3.5
Written for Age: adult

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