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I only read part of the second book in this series years ago, and am unsure of how many books were in it. It was about a teenage or young adult boy, who was part of the ruling class of this fantasy world. He was gay, and his lover was the heir to the throne. The antagonist of the first book - I haven't read it, but I got the gist from comments in the second - was the current queen, who tricked the boy and his lover into leaving the kingdom for remote outer regions, thus enabling her son to take the throne. She then married her own son to keep herself in power.

The second book had the boy and his lover slowly becoming enemies, as the lover began to corrupt the simple tribesmen they were sheltering with in his quest to regain his throne. He wanted to build an empire in the hinterland and use the army to attack his homeland, killing the queen in the process, and didn't care about the long-term effects his actions were having on the culture or environment of his new followers.

The lover defeats a tribesman by breaking his neck in unarmed combat, then later takes a young boy as his "willing catamite." He also leads raids on neighbouring tribes, establishes alliances with other neighbouring tribes and organises daring and successful raids on the eggs of dinosaurs living in the middle of a swamp. He enslaves the first tribe to turn against him, and gives their children to slavers from the empire in place of those of allied tribes, thus weakening his enemies while ensuring the loyalty of his allies.

The series involved dinosaurs living among humans, being both domesticated and wild, used as livestock, for hunting and as transport. The boy and his lover were much taller than the average humans who were forced to pay tribute to this pseudo-magical empire they came from; all the humans from the empire were much larger than their subjects. The tribesmen have a tradition about not touching the ground with bare feet, as it is an insult to nature, or their god. The boy and his lover both ignore this superstition, but the catamite also begins to ignore it, despite looking ashamed as he does so.

I have absolutely no idea when this series was written, what it is called or who wrote it. All I know is that I read it in 2005-06, though it probably wasn't new. I'm hoping the long description I've given will help someone work it out.

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The series is the Stone Dance of the Chameleon, by Richard Pinto

Carnelian is the hero, and he's romantically involved with the heir to the throne - the two of them start the second book in exile, and Carnelian's lover has plans to win his way back to power. This involves, as you say, upsetting the status quo and creating an army from among the relatively primitive people they're exiled among.

The rulers have a couple of interesting rules. One is that they're not supposed to touch the ground - they have elaborate shoes that keep them from doing so; and they're also not supposed to show their faces to the lower classes.

I read the first book (The Chosen) when it first came out, which would have been 1998 or so. I think it took him about 10 years to finish the trilogy - it's been a couple of years since I read it, but I don't think I was disappointed.

  • Thank you very much for that. I will see if I can find it now that I know the name. – James Sheridan Feb 8 '14 at 4:39

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