LOVE IN DARK SETTINGS: historical adventure speculative fiction & suspenseful lqbtq novels by Dusk Peterson
 
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THE ETERNAL DUNGEON: a Turn-of-the Century Toughs series ¶ By Dusk Peterson


In a cool, dark cavern, guarded by men and by oaths, lies a dungeon in which prisoners fearfully await the inevitable. The inevitable will be replaced by the unexpected.

The Eternal Dungeon is an award-winning speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The series is part of the Turn-of-the-Century Toughs cycle.
 


SERIES CONTENTS
 



The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus

In the Queendom of Yclau lies an underground royal prison that embraces the worst of the past and the best of the future. The Eternal Dungeon is old-fashioned in its equipment and ahead of its time in its treatment of prisoners, seeking to put their best welfare above all else. Torture is part of the process of assisting the prisoners.

The High Seeker, Layle Smith, embodies this contradictory institution: a man of deadly impulses, the head torturer binds himself strictly by the dungeon's code of conduct. His efforts to maintain this delicate balance are altered, though, by the introduction into his life of Elsdon Taylor, a vulnerable prisoner who is coming to terms with his own darkness.

This book bundle contains the first four volumes in the Eternal Dungeon series, as well as The Unanswered Question. Does not include Balladeer, Sweet Blood, The Shining Ones, or the short stories.

See awards for the honors this e-book has received.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (HTML) | Gumroad (PDF)  | Smashwords (multiformat) | Dusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 440,000 words | $64.99 $35.99 (45% off the price of all the stories sold separately) | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Goodreads | LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers | Smashwords | Scorching Book Reviews.
     ¶ Awards: See Awards and Reviews, just below.



Awards and Reviews

AWARDS

Honored in the Rainbow Awards 2011 in three categories, for the novel omnibus The Eternal Dungeon:
 

* Winner, Best Gay Fantasy.
* 2nd Place, Best Setting Development.
* Honorable Mention, Best Gay Novel/Book.


"A deeply moving philosophical work . . . The characterization is very good and even bold, and the world building, while narrow, is solid and hints at a vast and real world that exist beyond the confines of the story. The overarching plot development is excellent, and is an extensive metaphor for the major themes of the book. The writing is eminently readable, and the author's decision to intersperse in-story historical analysis alongside the events taking place works beautifully." One of the Rainbow Awards judges.
 

REVIEWS

"It takes really hard subject matter, and a character that in most books would be the major villain, and makes you love every single word. . . . If you want oh my god world building, read this." LGBT Fantasy Fans and Writers.

"This is the most engaging and absorbing [series] that I have read in a very long time. . . . Think detail and in-depth fantasy world creations of J. R. R. Tolkien novels, combine with the morality questions posed in the T.V. series Lost, sprinkle some good ole' fashioned medieval politics . . . and then add whips . . . and a rack." Amazon UK (Ancient Galaxy).

"I can easily think of a dozen authors who would have taken this kind of premise and made it tasteless, tacky, over the top, offensive, and much worse. . . . These books are none of that. . . . I cannot fangirl enough all the little details and nuances that really make [this series], how it's not all sparkles and light and yet just when it seems like it can only go south, you find yourself smiling instead. " Megan Derr.

"If you fear reading [these stories] because the physical manifestation of torture doesn't appeal, you'll miss a truly great read. The Eternal Dungeon is in essence the story of psychology. It's a story about the mind, not the body. It's a story about madness and sanity. It's the story about love given unreservedly to one who feels undeserving of that love. It's a story about sacrifice on every level." Goodreads (A. B. Gayle).

"I've read The Eternal Dungeon twice, and both times, I finished with the feeling of having left a real world behind. It draws the reader from story to story, leading you on with deeper insights into its characters, and plot twists that take you completely by surprise." Amazon (Catana).

"The reader is immersed seamlessly into another world filled with lush characters. The world building is intricately woven into the narrative, creating the framework of politics, religion, and culture that gives the story substance and the characters background." Amazon (Caethes Faron).
 


Rebirth

Rebirth (Volume 1 of The Eternal Dungeon)

Elsdon Taylor, a prisoner accused of committing a terrible murder. Layle Smith, a torturer with a terrible past. Their meeting in the Eternal Dungeon appears certain to bring out the worst in both men.

Yet neither man is quite what he appears. As the prisoner and his torturer begin to be drawn toward each other, the ripple effects of their meeting will have a powerful impact on other inhabitants of the Eternal Dungeon: Layle's faithful guard, struggling to contain his doubts. A younger guard determined to take any shortcuts necessary to ensure that his life follows the path he has already chosen. An old love from Layle's past, still sorrowing. And most of all, a prisoner who has not yet arrived at the Eternal Dungeon, but whose fate will depend on how Layle handles Elsdon Taylor . . . and on how Elsdon handles Layle Smith.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) | All Romance eBooks (multiformat) | Smashwords (multiformat) | SmashwordsKoboBarnes and NobleiBooksDusk Peterson's books at other stores | Also available in: The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus.
     ¶ Data: Three novellas and three novelettes | $20.99 $9.99 (48% off the price of all the stories sold separately) | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Goodreads | Hearts on Fire Reviews| Hearts on Fire Reviews interview (with major spoilers) | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Outrageous Heroes (with major spoilers).


VOLUME CONTENTS

The Breaking. The prisoner knew that the Eternal Dungeon was a place where suspected criminals were broken by torture, and he was prepared to hold out against any methods used against him except the method he could not anticipate.
 

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     ¶ Data: 27,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Smashwords | Solace in Another World | All Romance eBooks.


Love and Betrayal. As a torturer learns the art of questioning prisoners, he discovers that the word "love" can have a darker meaning than he had supposed.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) |All Romance eBooks (multiformat) | Smashwords (multiformat) | AmazonKoboBarnes and NobleDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 36,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Amazon | Goodreads.


First Time. One man seeks to heal from abuse. The other man dreams of abusing. Now they're in love.
 

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     ¶ Data: 15,000 words | $2.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Amazon.


In Training. Unexpected danger reveals to a young torturer the dark mystery of his love-mate's past as well as unpleasant revelations about himself.
 

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     ¶ Data: 30,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.


As a Seeker. If the head torturer wants something, no power in life or death will hold him from taking it. What he wants now has brought danger to the Eternal Dungeon.
 

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     ¶ Data: 12,000 words | $2.99 | Publication history.


Tops and Sops. The torturer was young, inexperienced, and lacking in knowledge of the world. The prisoner was tough, worldlywise, and had an infallible plan that would give him escape from this place. So why did the prisoner feel as though the torturer had the edge?
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) |All Romance eBooks (multiformat) |Smashwords (multiformat) | AmazonKoboBarnes and NobleDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 11,000 words | $2.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Amazon.


Rebirth: Historical Note.
 

     ¶ Available in Rebirth.



Transformation

Transformation (Volume 2 of The Eternal Dungeon)

The Eternal Dungeon, a royal prison where criminals are transformed, has lost its leadership. The duty of returning the dungeon to normal falls on two Seekers (torturers) who are already burdened with their own problems. One Seeker is struggling to understand why an old love affair continues to gnaw at him. The other Seeker is faced with his greatest challenge: whether to risk the man who is most precious to him in order to save his own abuser.
 
     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) | All Romance eBooks (multiformat) | Smashwords (multiformat) | SmashwordsKoboBarnes and NobleiBooksDusk Peterson's books at other stores | Also available in: The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus.
     ¶ Data: Four novellas | $15.99 $9.99 (37% off the price of all the stories sold separately) | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Goodreads.


VOLUME CONTENTS

Deception. He thought she had come to change his workplace. He found she was there to change his life.
 

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     ¶ Data: 23,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.


Twists and Turns. Only the loyal presence of one man has kept him alive. Now that man's loyalty is about to be tested.
 

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     ¶ Data: 25,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.


A Prisoner Has Need. A mysterious prisoner. A chance to begin again.
 

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     ¶ Data: 28,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.


The Consultation. He has come from the Eternal Dungeon to offer his services to another prison's head torturer. The only trouble is that the head torturer likes him too much.
 

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     ¶ Data: 34,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Amazon.


Transformation: Historical Note.
 

     ¶ Available in Transformation.



The Balance

The Balance (Volume 3 of The Eternal Dungeon)

The Seekers (torturers) in the Eternal Dungeon have always expressed contempt toward the Hidden Dungeon in the neighboring kingdom of Vovim, whose torturers abuse prisoners without restraint. But the balance between mercy and hell is not so clear as might be thought in either dungeon, and now that balance is about to tip. Only the strength of love and integrity will determine the paths of two Seekers whose fortunes are bound together.
 
    ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) | All Romance eBooks (multiformat) | Smashwords (multiformat) | SmashwordsKoboBarnes and NobleiBooksDusk Peterson's books at other stores | The first four stories in the volume are also available in: The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus.
     ¶ Data: Three novellas, one novelette, and one short story | $17.99 $9.99 (45% off the price of all the stories sold separately) | Publication history.


VOLUME CONTENTS

Truth and Lies. When you're a prisoner, having a torturer who's mad can be an advantage. Or maybe not.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (HTML) | Gumroad (PDF) | AmazonNook
     ¶ Data: 26,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.


Barbarians. Vovim was renowned for its strong monarchy, for its love of the theater, and for its skill in the art of torture. In other words, it had all the qualities needed to become a civilized nation. But would anyone be willing to defy Vovim's tyrannical king? And if they did, would they survive?
 

    ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (HTML) | Gumroad (PDF) | AmazonNook
     ¶ Data: 23,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Amazon.


Hidden. He had been given the kindest, gentlest torturer in the dungeon. The prisoner was left with only one hope: that he could teach his torturer how to be cruel.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (HTML) | Gumroad (PDF) | Amazon|Nook
     ¶ Data: 5,000 words | $2.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Amazon.


Death Watch. Death lurks everywhere in the Eternal Dungeon . . . even in a torturer's bedroom.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (HTML) | Gumroad (PDF) | AmazonNook
     ¶ Data: 15,000 words | $2.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Amazon.


Balladeer. Sometimes it takes an outsider to point out the obvious.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (HTML) | Gumroad (PDF) | AmazonNook
     ¶ Data: 18,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.


The Balance: Historical Note.

            ¶ Available in The Balance.
 


On Guard

On Guard (Volume 4 of The Eternal Dungeon)

The ties forged between the noble-minded Eternal Dungeon and an abusive foreign dungeon have set off an unpredictable chain of horrific events, in which the love between two of the Eternal Dungeon's Seekers (torturers) will be tested to the straining point. Caught in the middle of the struggle are Barrett Boyd and Seward Sobel, loyal guards who will find themselves questioning their most fundamental beliefs about the royal prison's ideals.

Barrett must help his Seeker determine whether their mild-mannered prisoner is an attempted murderer. His friend Seward has pledged to guard his own Seeker against an assassin . . . or should Seward be protecting the dungeon inhabitants against his Seeker? But when the guards' two Seekers fall into a lovers' quarrel, that is when the real danger begins.
 

     ¶ Buy or sample the e-book: On Guard is available in The Eternal Dungeon: a Turn-of-the-Century Toughs omnibus.
     ¶ Data: 90,000 words | Publication history.



Sweet Blood (Volume 5 of The Eternal Dungeon)

The Eternal Dungeon has been split by a civil war, with the division clearly marked by a quarrel between two Seekers (torturers) whose faithfulness to each other has already become legendary. Into this explosive situation arrives a new Seeker, one who is determined to see that past evils do not continue in the dungeon. But can he keep control of himself when assigned a prisoner who falls in love with him?
 

VOLUME CONTENTS

Bonds. A prisoner meeting his fate. A torturer meeting his demons. And between them, a man whose bonds are on the point of shattering.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-book:Gumroad (HTML) | Gumroad (PDF) | AmazonNook
      ¶ Data: 26,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.


Searching. Walking into a trap may be the only way to create one.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) |All Romance eBooks (multiformat) | SmashwordsAmazonDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 16,000 words | $2.99 | Publication history.


Split. It was his duty to transform the prisoner's soul. But which one?
 

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     ¶ Data: 35,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.


Checkmate. The Eternal Dungeon is no longer a prison. It's a battlefield.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) |All Romance eBooks (multiformat) | SmashwordsAmazonKoboBarnes and NobleiBooksDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 60,000 words | $4.99 | Publication history.


Truth and Trust. Falling in love with your prisoner is bad. Facing your boss afterwards is worse.
 

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Novellas and novelettes

The Shining Ones

The Shining Ones.

"He was skilled by now at making innocuous remarks in the presence of the Shining Ones. Nobody had even guessed that he knew what they were."

The Eternal Dungeon is filled with prisoners who shine like the sun.

No one knows this except Barrett Boyd, a guard notorious for having survived a disciplinary punishment that should have killed him. He is also notorious for his rebellion against the authorities of the royal prison. At a pivotal time in the Eternal Dungeon's history, when abusive practices of the past may finally be abolished, Barrett finds himself drawn to the mystery of a younger guard, Clifford Crofford, who claims that he and Barrett are love-mates.

Barrett has no memory of this. He has no memory of anything before his punishment. What does the past matter, compared to Barrett's determination to protect the prisoners? But Barrett cannot ignore his bond to Clifford, and the closer that Barrett comes to Clifford, the more the danger arises that Clifford will question Barrett's sanity. . . .

This novelette (miniature novel) of disability and love can be read on its own or as a side story in The Eternal Dungeon, an award-winning speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) | All Romance eBooks (multiformat) | Smashwords (multiformat) | AmazonKoboBarnes and NobleiBooksDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 12,000 words | $2.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): Inked Rainbow Reviews.


The Unanswered Question

The Unanswered Question.

"He was weaponless. Or rather, not quite weaponless, for he knew what he was capable of doing with his body, but he bore no blade, nor any whip, nor any lead pipe with which to his with which to strangle the victim . . . The number of potential weapons he had deliberately laid aside was frighteningly high."

No weapons, no allies, and no guarantees that he will survive the test.

A killer has arrived at the palace of the Queendom of Yclau, ready to make an offer that the Queen may not be able to refuse. But this is a killer with a difference. For the young foreigner who struggles to fetter his own darkness is about to enter the queendom's Eternal Dungeon, where idealistic torturers strive to transform the hearts of their prisoners. Surrounded by great-spirited men who are determined to put him to the test, the young foreigner may be the only man who can recognize the flaws in the dungeon's ethical code.

This novella (short novel) can be read on its own or as a prequel to The Eternal Dungeon, an award-winning speculative fiction series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) | All Romance eBooks (multiformat) | Smashwords (multiformat) | AmazonKoboBarnes and NobleiBooksDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 36,000 words | $3.99 | Publication history.
     ¶ Reviews (may include spoilers): LibraryThing | Amazon.



The Eternal Dungeon short stories

Short stories

Prison Food and Fondness.

Voluntarily incarcerated in a prison full of men, married to a man who has no desire to "love" her in the traditional sense of the word, Birdesmond Manx Chapman has chosen a challenging path in life. But she is a Seeker, a prison-worker who has taken an oath of eternal confinement in order to share the conditions of her prisoners. She has the strength to meet all challenges.

Until she encounters her greatest challenge of all: obtaining the ingredients for a wedding-anniversary meal in a dungeon filled with men who don't know how to cook.
 

     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad(multiformat) |OmniLit (multiformat) | Smashwords (multiformat) | AmazonKoboBarnes and NobleiBooks |Dusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 3,000 words | 99c | Publication history.


Commoners' Festival.

The Eternal Dungeon is celebrating the Commoners' Festival, and all the elite are feasting. Including a man who is secretly a commoner.
 

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     ¶ Data: 3,000 words | 99c | Publication history.


The following short stories are available in the Dark Light collection entitled Lockup:

Green Ruin. Three guards and a mysterious substance provide a temptation too great to be missed . . . especially when two torturers add their skills to the mix. Soon three very different men a married man who is committed to respect and honor, a bachelor harboring secret desires, and a soldier with an unfulfilled ambition will find themselves caught in a trap. Their rescue will come from an unexpected quarter.

Hunger. Some hungers can only be satisfied by reaching out. As a prisoner struggles to find the right path, a foul-mouthed guard and an uncommon torturer will open a door . . . but stepping through a doorway with blackness beyond requires courage.

Wax. The Record-keeper of the Eternal Dungeon has always prided himself on his skills in procuring any object needed by his employers. But when the head torturer makes a seemingly innocent request for wax, the Record-keeper goes in search of a very special supply.

Never. She was attending the ball at the palace to dance. That was all. Which made it annoying to face a proposal of marriage from a guard who was distinctly not the sort of man she would ever consider marrying. Certainly not.

The Whipping Post. Ten minutes left to contemplate what lies ahead, before the end begins.

New-Fashioned. The Eternal Dungeon's youngest torturer has a special talent. He's about to discover what it is, at the worst of moments.

Broken. What would happen if a technophobic torturer was plunged into the twenty-first century?

Torture (The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison). When the High Seeker of the Eternal Dungeon visits a foreign prison, he discovers that his dark reputation has preceded him. So has the dark reputation of his dungeon. The host is eager to show him that matters are run very differently at Mercy Life Prison. The High Seeker has his suspicions about what he will find in that prison, but even so, he is not prepared for what the prison has to teach him about man's nature . . . and his own nature.

Rain (The Eternal Dungeon / Life Prison / Commando / Michael's House / Waterman). Five boys. Five rainy days. Five opportunities for trouble. In this cycle of five short stories, five young men in troubling situations must make choices that will change the path of their upcoming lives . . . and the path of the societies they dwell in.
 

Available in the collection Lockup:
     ¶ Buy or preview the e-bookGumroad (multiformat) | OmniLit (multiformat) | Smashwords (multiformat) | AmazonKoboBarnes and NobleiBooksDusk Peterson's books at other stores
     ¶ Data: 50,000 words (for the entire collection) | $4.99 | Publication history.



Maps and series resources

Map of the Midcoast nations (Mip, the Dozen Landsteads, Vovim, and Yclau).

Map of the Capital City of the Queendom of Yclau, showing the cave where the Eternal Dungeon is housed.

Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of historical speculative fiction novels that includes the Eternal Dungeon series. This page includes resources such as a chronology of major political events in the cycle.

Eternal Dungeon research. Blog entries by the author on research for the series.

Bibliography for the series:
Masculinity, Crime, and Everyday Life in Victorian and Edwardian Times.

Shared Universes: Works set in the Eternal Dungeon world by other authors and artists.


Next speculative fiction series:

[ Dark Light ]



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