Read special forces veterans by Aleksandr Voinov Marquesate Vashtan Online


Special Forces is the story of a Scottish SAS soldier and a Soviet spetsnaz soldier. 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. This epic spans across over twenty-five years of their lives. It's harsh and violent, butSpecial Forces is the story of a Scottish SAS soldier and a Soviet spetsnaz soldier. 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. This epic spans across over twenty-five years of their lives. It's harsh and violent, but life is cruel and they just do what they need to survive. Special Forces - Veterans is the third and last cycle of the Special Forces epic, which consists of three cycles and about a million words. The first cycle is Soldiers and the second one is Mercenaries (in two parts).This print version is the original version of Special Forces, as it was edited at the time of first publication on Marquesate’s website. The Veterans cycle was published between November 2008 and April 2009. This is the only version that is authorised by Marquesate.This print version of Special Forces is strictly non-profit and print cost only. The paperback of this original version is available from Lulu: ebook version is available for free download, and the original chapters remain as a free read on Marquesate’s website:

Title : special forces veterans
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 7927995
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 573 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

special forces veterans Reviews

  • Julio Genao
    2019-03-23 16:29

    here's the thing.this book—and the overall three-volume epic it concludes—isn't finished. it's semi-currently undergoing a righteous edit, and the difference between the edited text and the original is notable.further, the fucking thing is massive. it is a work of staggering ambition—hubris, even—or maybe just balls the size of my head. a story that spans 25 years? a million words? yeah.too much, in other words. too much to review with my typical mix of douchebag flippancy and stentorian gravitas. just too bloody much there.and god forbid i try to summarize, as so many here on goodreads inexplicably feel compelled to length, naturally.with what, then, does the mad dominican have left to say of such a book as this? what's left?this:it's not finished, it's not perfect, and it's not always very good. but when it is—and it is, for hundreds upon hundreds of pages at a time—it is nothing less than a work of comprehensive genius. it is simultaneously one of the more libidinously violent stories you can read... and one of the most fact, it wouldn't be anywhere near as gloriously sentimental without the heinously-devised tribulations visited upon the main characters.this is some story, boy.a casual glance at my gibbering status updates—quite literally a cry for help, on one occasion—confirms what i say: this story will thrill you, chill you, fuck your skull with razor cocks, leave you for dead in an alley in kabul, and then scoop up your bloody remains and make a sausage out of you.and then it will make you cry like a this. at your peril—but read it. when it's done, when the authors are finished editing it and then release it, pay for it. maybe twice. it's completely blown my head up, and what more could you ask for, really?besides (view spoiler)[Dan presenting Vadim with Konstantinov's head on a plate for a wedding present (hide spoiler)], of course.

  • Judith
    2019-04-16 12:29

    4 Stars.An epic story.Yes,I've had many issues with this series but I wouldn't have missed reading it for anything.I've read all of it with my lovely friend Andrea.Review soon.

  • Sindhu
    2019-03-27 08:46

    BETRAYED!!! That’s how I feel. The story in ‘Mercenaries’ and ‘Veterans’ feels like a betrayal.SF- Soldiers was incredible, not just a slice of real life. It was, first and foremost, a grand and magnificent love story. It described a love so extraordinary, so beautiful in its brutality and intensity, I was crying for days afterwards.However, reading the Mercenaries cycle was like a punch to the stomach. What you get is a promiscuous Mad Dog with hardly any morals or sense of caring towards Vadim. Dan completely shattered me. The way Dan can supposedly separate love from sex (by which one means lots and lots of sex with anyone and everyone available) is plain creepy. What made their love so special in the first book, Soldiers, was their complete focus on and devotion to each other. But, in the Mercenaries cycle, and later Veterans, Dan is spending almost all his time and energy fucking everything in sight, especially Jean, which obviously leaves him hardly any time or energy to devote to Vadim.He keeps saying that everything is about Vadim.But, actions speak louder than words. When confronted with situations where he has a choice between Vadim and Jean (or anyone else, for that matter), he always chooses Jean (or whoever else the other one is). Not once does he make Vadim or Vadim’s pleasure his priority. To think that Katya was right about Dan all along – that he was a worthless piece of s***. He didn’t even have the decency to admit to his love for Jean and set Vadim free (especially since Vadim could never gain the courage to demand monogamy from Dan although that was what Vadim really wanted).Look at all the damning evidence.During the run-up to his wedding, Dan has eyes only for Jean. He is passionately kissing and making out with Jean and not giving a damn about Vadim or where he is. He is fucking Jean like crazy but on his wedding night, he cannot even get it up for Vadim. What a way to treat his supposed true love.I mean, the magnitude of selfishness and cruelty towards Vadim that he displays is astounding. UNFORGIV ABLE!!! He is so far gone, I can’t see a redemption for him.Please, please, please, I beg of you, please give us an alternative version of events from the time Vadim returns to Dan after two and a half years. Please either let Dan and Vadim rediscover that brutal and beautiful love they shared in Afghanistan. Let them feel anew that searing intensity that was totally reserved for each other. Or, if you can’t find it in your heart to change Dan, at least let Vadim get over him. Don’t let him be a fucking doormat simply waiting for Dan to dole out crumbs when he can manage to tear himself away from Jean. Please take Dan out of the picture - his story is finished since he has found his soulmate in Jean, its Vadim who has been left standing all alone in the end, his entire life laid waste. Because, maybe, their relationship ran its course the day Vadim ran out on Dan after being released from captivity. Because Vadim deserves so much more. He deserves someone who’ll love him unconditionally, with his whole body and soul (most definitely without eyeing others). It obviously can’t be Hooch since he has found true love with Matt. Let someone new come into his life who will give Vadim what he needs.Please give something for all of us romantics out there.

  • Shelley
    2019-04-02 15:26

    25 Years! And now it's over...Living the last 25 years vicariously through a million words, taking me through the passage of time, places and seasons has been an experience I shall never forget. Dan and Vadim, my warriors. You were my pain and my joy and I shall love you forever. This story, the pleasure and the pain will forever be with me. All of it, every moment, every comrade, lover, friend or foe. This was just the most emotionally charged, exhilarating, frustrating and heartbreaking adventure. If I ever read anything like this again, I will consider myself the luckiest woman in the world!From the breathtaking mountains of Afghanistan, the dust of the Dessert in Iraq, to the horror of the Balkans. I have been a slave to this epic story. An almost life changing experience for me. I cannot decide if it was an addiction or an all-consuming absorption or both? Veterans is a fitting ending, in so much that everything has evolved, and to a point, resolved. There is no longer a physical war to be fought, but there is a war of the minds and internal emotions that has the potential to destroy everything. For me this was the hardest battle of them all.Dan needs to escape his depression and self loathing and Vadim finally faces his own emotional trauma in a head on brutal fight for his sanity. Both these fights left me raw and desperate for hope again.“You made me human. I stand by that. You made me into somebody I would have wanted to become, if I'd ever thought about what I wanted to be that wasn't about a record or power or a rank or some...delusion I was chasing. If all that was gone and stripped away, the man I am, I am because of what you did, what you made me feel all those years.” It's not an easy journey for Dan or Vadim. It was never meant to be, it was always going to be a hard won victory to find peace, understanding and acceptance. Love was always there, the binding kind that seemed to conquer it all. That was never the question, was it? But would it ever be enough?Because it had all been a motherfucking nightmare and the solution was so simple, right there and under their noses. It had just been hidden: Love. Fair and square. Just love. !This book would have been the perfect closure for me, if it hadn't been for certain events in the end. (view spoiler)[Honestly, I hated those orgy scenes. To me it was an echo of all that was wrong with their relationship for all those years. It had no place in this ending, not for me! None of it made sense, it was ridiculous that we where getting the POV from Beauvais and his new lover. Hooch and Jean!! Made me fume! WTF? I could not believe it! (hide spoiler)]You see, I think I have come to understand what has happened here. Why I feel the way I do.The authors have changed the rules. It's quite simple. The rules of contemporary romance do not apply here. Certainly not when it comes to sexual faithfulness and exclusivity, and some other things too.Christ, there are no rules! My preconceived safe and sane romantic ideals have been beaten into submission with words and actions that defy my very moral and monogamous view of the world. The rules have been deleted and inscribed with a great big 'screw you, put this in your pipe and smoke it, this is what happens in a gay man's world' Now maybe I'm wrong, I don't know many gay men, but that was the message I got. I would like to say a huge thank you to everybody who held my virtual hand while I read these. Thank you for putting up with my tantrums and foul language, my gifs and my tears! I couldn't have got through it without you. You know who you are, I won't name names cause I scared I'll forget someone. But love to all.I might not have loved all these books equally, but the series? 5 STARS!!Thank you to Mr Voinov and Marquesate for giving these books to us for free. I haven't spent a cent of my book budget this month and have decided to donate it to the Red Cross:) ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Susan
    2019-04-16 13:34

    Done. I feel like I ran a grueling marathon...and came in first place! That exhausted. That elated.I will miss you Vadim and Dan. You’ve changed my life…seriously.Sorry to friends and family and DVR who have gone neglected. Sorry to Goodreads community for being such a basket case.Sorry to books and ARC’s and Buddy Reads I passed over.Sorry to the exclamation point for overusing you in every update, comment, and review.The Review:Veterans was the perfect ending to an amazing series. It felt like a salve, a balm, to roughened, raw, and damaged skin. It soothed all the parts that Soldiers and Mercenaries left damaged and scarred. And, again, in the end there was love. Love hard-earned - surviving Dan’s downward spiral, Vadim’s PTSD & therapy, a stalker, a pain-in-the-ass (I’m referring to Jean...ha!), additional sexcapades, children, old wounds, new wounds...After 25 years, rape, torture, killing, war, injury, deception, lovers, manages, fights, and fisting…we finally get their Happily Ever After…till death do them part…*sigh*Thank you, Marquesate & Aleksandr "The Genius" Voinov for this masterpiece. I only wish that I had been one of the first to have read it so it wouldn't feel so "ordinary" and "expected" when I say how AMAZING Special Forces is and what a DEEP IMPACT it had on me.

  • Mel
    2019-04-16 10:52

    Veterans is the fourth book in the epicSpecial Forces series and it’s the final part of Dan and Vadim’s story. Unfortunately: it wasn’t the ending this series deserved. Don’t get me wrong: this is not a bad book. And it breaks my heart to give it 3,5 stars, but Veterans just did not come up to the standards of the previous three books. It didn’t show the same level of enthusiasm, attention to detail, depth or nuance as the rest of the series. My major problem was that Veterans felt like an epilogue. A mellow epilogue. There was a lot of telling in stead of showing which decreased the intensity of the story and it seemed like a lot of loose ends needed to be tied in any way possible. To me, the rawness and honesty of the Special Forces series got lost. In this series full of extremes, the authors always still managed to maintain some nuance and a vast amount of gray. Actions and characters were layered and often (morally) ambiguous. This time some things were overdrawn, black and white, out of left field or downright over the top. The story just felt a little rushed and unfinished at times. I also had trouble recognizing the characters in the beginning. Partly because of slight changes in writing style and partly because of some out of character actions. I understand that times have changed and the men’s change in age and lifestyle validates changes in thoughts and behavior, but the shift -to me- was very sudden.So, it took me a while to get used to the new feel of the book, but once I did, I really did enjoy the story. Dan and Vadim are such phenomenal characters and it was great to be part of their journey in life, in a stage where they’re getting ‘old and decrepit’, as Dan put it.We revisited a lot of old characters and met some new ones, which all served its purpose in the development of the characters of the men and their relationship. And eventhough I have the unreasonable wish for Dan and Vadim to stay young forever (as in their Soldiers time), there’s no denying growing older becomes them. It was truly exhilarating to be able to follow 25 years in the lives of Dan McFadyen and Vadim Krasnorada, and it is with an ache in my heart that I say goodbye to them. Prayer beads, energy bars, boots, scars, blades, and a bullet.And so ends the story of Dan and Vadim.

  • Camilla
    2019-04-11 14:27

    What’s left to say after the first 3 reviews, really?More of the same maybe?I just finished the book, and I have to admit I’m a bit disappointed with the ending.. I would have liked.. Well, just a bit more than what we got..Considering how the series begun and how many emotions, both good and bad, that we got through the whole series, I think its weird how little emotion we got in the end, which should have been a really big thing.. A really big moment for them.. And if you’ve read my reviews of the first 3 books, you’ll know how much I’ve cried over Dan and Vadim.. Nothing less than bawling my eyes out.. I’ve grown so close to these two guys, so the fact I didn’t even get teary eyed at their wedding, is quite a statement to how much I really didn’t feel it.. Or feel them, I should say..I would have liked.. I don’t know, just something more, I guess..And if you’ve read my reviews of the first 3 books, you would also know how much I didn’t like, how much I despised and hands down hated, how they slept with their “buddies”.. Well, I could handle Vadim and Hooch for some reason, but Dan and Jean? Jesus Christ.. I hate Jean.. He’s supposed to be one of the good guys, but I hate him more than I’ve ever hated a villain in any book.. Just. 100%. Pure. Hate. Cheating bastard!The fact that Dan, after getting proposed to, by the guy he’s supposed to love more than anything, goes straight to the phone to have phone sex with Jean, pisses me off to such a degree, I can’t even begin to write it.. It makes me growl, grind my teeth and yeah, well, if you could see my face as I’m writing (and thinking) about that scene now, you would know how much I hated it.. That’s just fucking pathetic and so disrespectful I can’t even stand it..After book 3 I was worried that I wouldn’t get the ending I wanted.. I wanted some kind of “I love you, always you and only you”- hint, no more buddies - which I definitely didn’t get, considering they were screwing everyone during their wedding days..Anyway.. The last 3 books in the series, I’m glad I read, could have done without them though I think.. They made me more angry and full of aggression than anything else.. They definitely re-kindled my hatred for ‘sharing’ in stories, which I had overcome at one point.. Not so much anymore though.. Thanks for that guys!I did give 2 & 3, 5 stars because they got to me, even if it was with negative feelings more than positive, but this one I can’t give 5 stars, which is a shame, but hey, that’s life..The first book in the series though.. That one I’ll take with me everywhere I go.. I’ll cherish it and cuddle it, and keep it in my heart forever and always.. And in my Dan and Vadim world, there will always be them, and only them..2 men, 2 soldiers. 2 lovers.

  • Amanda
    2019-03-21 12:45

    5 starsWow. I actually made it through this series without having to get a psychologist. maybe that's a little much, but seriously. I'm still asking myself why I kept putting this series off. I kept seeing it around GR and was quite frankly a little scared of it but now I'm so glad I read it!While I loved reading about Dan and Vadim in the war zones (can't help it...thinking of them in uniform...) I really enjoyed seeing the more sensual side of both of them. It still blows my mind that the series started when both men were in their 30s and it ended when they were in their late 50s. In Veterans I was still picturing them as the young men they started out to be. That could be because I have an issue with aging...getting old bothers me. It was heartbreaking to see (view spoiler)[ Vadim go through therapy. I understand why he did it and why it was needed, but I couldn't help myself from feeling a LITTLE bit sorry for Dan. Just a teeny, tiny little bit. The reason why it was just a little is because I understand the separation would be hard on anyone in a long term relationship. The main reason why I didn't feel that sorry for Dan was because he kept reverting to his old way of thinking of "what about me?" Instead of realizing Vadim needed the therapy all he could think of was himself. (hide spoiler)] Well what about you Dan? I know I keep saying I despise Jean, Jean isn't that bad. But now that I'm finished with the series and have actually sat back and thought about it for a few minutes, was it really all Jean's fault? Was he that bad? (view spoiler)[Sure Jean sought Vadim out first and then ended up with Dan and Jean kept saying he was straight. Perhaps he was straight tendencies? I don't know. Not going into all of that. Dan kept going back to Jean and Jean never once turned him away. So this all leads me to disliking Dan more than Jean...even though Jean is just ugh in my opinion. I know Jean instigated a lot of it, but Dan did too. I also believe Jean truly did develop feelings for Dan. I think it would be hard not to after everything they did together. That still doesn't excuse Jean AND Dan for being douche's though. AND he never told Solange about his relationship with Dan. Sure they have a dom/sub thing going on and he has her sleep with random men. To me that doesn't excuse him from telling her about Dan although she would have to be completely dense to not see something is going on between the two of them. So that's another reason why I dislike him. (hide spoiler)]Now onto Dan. Oh, Dan. Even though he did a lot of crap, and I mean A LOT OF CRAP, I still can't help but like the guy. At least a little bit. I'm still against him being with Jean. Not because of the sexual relationship but because (view spoiler)[ of Vadims feelings. He knew Vadim did not like him being with him and was jealous of the whole relationship but he still had sex with the man. He knew by Vadims reactions to them being together and then he knew when he read all of his writings after therapy and he STILL asked Vadim if he was okay with him being with Jean. Granted, Vadim did in fact tell him he was okay with Dan being with other men but didn't want to share...STILL.(hide spoiler)]This just makes my head want to explode. (view spoiler)[Poor Vadim went through therapy so not only could he be and feel sane again, but so that he could attempt to be what Dan wanted. A lover and a partner. Not someone he had to take care of. But Dan had to turn around and ask him if he was okay with him being with Jean when Vadim was still trying to put himself back to therapy. If he loved Vadim as much as he said he did asking him again shouldn't have been an option.(hide spoiler)] I just can't understand Dan at that moment. Just can't. And to make it even better, (view spoiler)[ Vadim gave up not only his sexual relationship but also his friendship with Hooch because he knew Dan felt jealous of it. Can anyone say what. the. fuck. I'm 100% completely on the Hooch/Vadim bandwagon so it was really hard to see Vadim give that up when Dan was still whoring himself out. Vadim became the bigger man and did what he thought he should do to keep the relationship going, but as well know, Dan doesn't believe in monogamy unless it's Vadim. And Vadim is his, damn it! Vadim shouldn't feel anything for any other man unless it's him. Ugh. (hide spoiler)]Hooch. Hooch seriously makes me want to do a giddy dance. I don't get it. Well I do. His personality is similar to a guy I know and like and have been romantically involved with. The kinks, military background and being gay are not included lol. However, I REALLY liked him when he was around Vadim and they just...understood each other. Even though I think they'd be a hot couple I can't forget Matt. Matt is that guy that you automatically notice not only because he's hot, but because he has that perfect personality to go with it. Hooch and Matt are like night and day. Both different, but they're really good together. (view spoiler)[I was flipping the pages so fast when he became injured and held captive. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest.(hide spoiler)] See what you guys did to me!!! I know I've said this in every review so far, but I can't wait to read their book. Just talking about Hooch made me look like this: Katya. Holy moly. I don't know if I've ever really despised a character as much as I did her...and Dan lol. So defensive. I really hope I never have to encounter her again in Aleks' writings.Nikolai. I loved him in Veterans and I just started Gold Digger and I still love him. I just wish he could have been in Veterans more.Anya. Biiiiiiiitch. Good lord. Although you don't get the pleasure of completely understanding until Gold Digger. I can understand a bit though. She is upset about Vadim not being around and her mother IS Katya. That right there should be enough explanation.The Baroness. I really liked her and how she was able to be in the complete series. (view spoiler)[When Dan finally broke down and hugged her and told her he loved her...where's the tissues?! (hide spoiler)]And I can't leave this out. I was PISSED that (view spoiler)[Hooch didn't get to smack Jean around. At least once. I was so looking forward to that after their verbal sparring over breakfast. But no. They had to have sex together. While that makes me look down on Hooch just a tiny bit (Jean. 'nough said.) I understand why it happened. I loved the whole scene at breakfast though. (hide spoiler)] Probably one of my favorites in this book.I'm sure I have a lot more to say about this book than what I've already said, but everything is just bouncing around so fast I can't think straight. I loved the series and I think it's a great piece of work and wish more and more people could experience it and enjoy it like I did. I've really slowed down on buying physical books after purchasing a Kindle but this is one of those series that I'd enjoy having as an ebook and in paperback/hardback form as well. That's how much I loved it. I'm sad I won't be seeing anymore of Dan and Vadim (other than Gold Digger and whatever else happens to be floating around in Aleks'/Marquesates head), but it was a great ride. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Christina
    2019-04-10 16:49

    *******Review contains spoilers******* 4.5 stars for the book but 5 stars for the series.I just finished Veterans and what a sad day it is. I can't believe my journey with Vadim and Dan is over. Twenty-five years of passion, anger, violence, loneliness, torture and above all LOVE. I miss them already! Veterans is the final book in Special Forces and although I did love it, I had a few problems with this book. My expectations were higher mainly because it was the last installment and I wanted everything tied up but it didn't quite reach that point for me. In the beginning, Veterans gripped me and drew me in. Vadim and Dan had gone through so much over the years but to see them so emotionally disconnected was heart-breaking. They always had something between them even if it was anger but for them to be so estranged and practically accept being this far apart was horrible. Although, Vadim's outdoor excursion was perfect (took him long enough to get off his ass)! The biggest problem was the ending. I was so happy they got married but I needed more and Vadim and Dan deserved more as well. The wedding was simply beautiful but not being able to see them make love for the first time after getting married really struck me in a bad way especially since this book severely lacked private Vadim and Dan time. Why not show more of Vadim and Dan and leave out some of the non essential people, such as Beauvais?This leads me to my second complaint. Much of the book was focused on Dan and Jean's relationship. Dan and Jean have always irritated me but when I don't get more of Vadim and Dan and combine that with the ending, it puts me off in a very bad way. To see Dan fucking Jean and then to have Jean tell Dan he loved him was too much to take. Thank God Dan never said it back or elaborated on his feelings because that would have been the end for me. There were many missed opportunities to see just Dan and Vadim together. Not only on their wedding night but also when Dan had to leave Vadim so he can begin his therapy and he asked Vadim to make love to him but we get nothing. This wasn't acceptable especially for the last book. Sorry, but I felt a bit cheated.There were however, many beautiful moments: the tent scene, Dan wondering if Vadim will love him after his 3 month therapy, Dan meeting Kisa, Vadim resolving things with Nikolai, Dan telling Maggie he loves her, Vadim's reaction to Duncan calling him brother-in-law, and of course their wedding with the steel rings and Vadim's blue cufflinks.Best LOL moment hands down goes to Hooch when he asked Jean at their first meeting "Did you cry?" Love Hooch and Matt but I thought it was so out of character for Hooch to make up with Jean. And I couldn't believe Vadim's run in with Konstantinov. Wow, I really felt for him and never saw that one coming.I thought the proposal was absolutely perfect. I loved how Dan was genuinely shocked and would only say yes if Vadim was marrying him for love and no other reason. I loved the part when Dan was staring at Vadim, thinking of the past..."Vadim still was the man he'd always wanted. Everyone else, no matter who or where and what, paled in comparison to Vadim. His Russkie. His cunt. Dan smiled at last."This was quite an intense journey. I cried, laughed out loud, got pissed (more times than I wanted) but as always I loved every moment with Vadim and Dan. Whenever I hear the words, lapis lazuli, the Afghan mountains, energy bars, and Russkie I will always think of Vadim and Dan and smile. Thank you for one of the best series I've ever read!

  • Nick Pageant
    2019-04-05 16:26

    So ends the epic BR with Mark! I'm not sure what I'm going to do now. I am lost. Review to come.

  • Tina
    2019-03-23 12:47

    That's it! The journey of twenty five years is over. No, that's not true, for Vadim and Dan the journey of their life together isn't over yet, but we are leaving them in the confidence that they'll manage their best years without us watching over them!I totally agree with Suec (she buddy-read Mercs II with me - thx sweets:). Every emotional heart string has been pulled. Love, fear, pain, longing, devastation, euphoria, despair, anger, desperation and again and foremost, love. Veterans is a worthy finalization of a life story that begins 1980 in the mountains of Afghanistan. Vadim and Dan have come a very long way from the two soldiers they have been when they first met. They were both so fucked up in their own ways. How they cope and help each other in the end is so heart warming.. The first half of Veterans deals with what happened in Mercs II, and the rest of the book is concerned with wrapping up the plot lines of not only our main characters but also of just about everyone we’ve ever met along the way. It's wonderful to see Dan and Kisa finally meet. They are honest with each other from the very beginning. And Vadim makes his peace with Nikolai and they become really close. I'm looking forward to read his story in Gold Digger and hope with all my heart to meet Vadim again. :)Jean... I feel so sorry for him. All the years he's in love with Dan and despite the sex and the deep affection and friendship, he'll never get the chance to win Dan's heart over Vadim. Dan may need the open relationship, but emotionally he's monogamous. He loves Vadim, and no one else.Hooch... how I love this guy. Our outward tough Delta Force soldier with the wounded soul and his loving and understanding partner Matt.Maggie, the Baroness... a true friend to Dan and Vadim for nearly twenty years. It is so heart melting when Dan finally breaks down, hugs her and tells her he loves her.Never in my life a story has left such a mark in my soul. The characters will live in my heart forever. It was epic, just epic...I can't recommend the series strongly enough.Aleks (and Marquesate), thank you for one of the best series I've ever read!

  • Lena♥Ribka
    2019-04-08 08:32

    They are happy tears...because of HEA...but I'm crying because I have already missed them, the most unforgeable characters ever, two men to die for, my Dan and Vadim... My first spontaneous desire after I've turned the last page was to go back to Soldiers and start the whole epic from the very beginning. I have never had this urgent uncontrolled desire before and I read a lot. I am still not ready to say goodbye to Dan and Vadim. Will I see you again?...Thank you for the 25 years of the heartbreaking, emotional journey...I will always love you...

  • Baba
    2019-03-22 13:29

    "A hard beginning maketh a good ending."- by John Heywood -"...I promise to respect, support and care for you, to honor and encourage you.""...I will respect you as an individual and be true to you through all the changing scenes of life - in good times and in bad. I undertake to fulfill this promise until life's end.""I give you this ring as a token of my love and a lasting reminder of the promises made between us today. I promise to care for you above all others and cherish you throughout the rest of our lives together."After the re-read & buddy read I'll be editing my review.

  • Martin
    2019-03-21 15:40

    I hope I’ll be able to find coherent words for a review. Looking back at 25 years in the life of these two completely different men who found love in a world of blood and gore completely swept me off my feet. Consider this a spoiler-laden (!) review of the whole series, not just the last book.(view spoiler)[In Special Forces: Soldiers Part I -Director's Cut and Special Forces: Soldiers Part II -Director's Cut, we get to meet both men who start off as enemies in the Afghanistan war in the 1980s: Vadim, a soldier in the Soviet army that is occupying Afghanistan, and Dan, a British SAS agent working undercover with the Afghan tribes to train them to fight against the Russian invaders. A terrible event brings them together and an act of violence and revenge seals their fate. Forbidden encounters over 10 years tighten their bond until they realize that they’re sharing a love for one another that neither Mother Russia nor the Western countries would ever approve of. Just when the war in Afghanistan comes to an end, their affair is discovered by the KGB, the Soviet secret service, and Vadim is imprisoned as a traitor. This is where Special Forces - Mercenaries Part I begins (and continues in Special Forces - Mercenaries Part II). Two years of torture manage to break Vadim, while Dan desperately uses all his contacts in the diplomatic circles of Europe to help release him. Just when things finally progress, Dan learns that Vadim has been executed.Officially – but not really- dead now, the KGB trades the broken Vadim for a couple of hundred thousand pounds and hands him over to the British government. Dan finally gets to meet Vadim again, but he’s different. No longer the deadly, but passionate lover he knew during their years in Kabul, but a broken shell of the man he once was. Unable to deal with his trauma, Vadim runs away, which results in Dan taking the coward’s way out of their relationship, starting to work as a mercenary in various battlefields of the time, thinking that Vadim no longer wants him anyway, wherever he may be. I had a huge problem with Dan from this point on. While Vadim struggled to find back to a mental state that allowed him to lead a life of any kind, he realized that, even though he was no longer the man he was before the torture, he had no home, no family, not even a country to return to. He only had Dan. So he fought hard to find his way back into the world of active duty and he became a mercenary, finding Dan again.Dan who had moved on and had affairs with numerous guys in the meantime. Even when the two got together again, Dan refused to stay monogamous, hurting Vadim with his sexual promiscuity and his tendency to not only make friends, but lovers. Especially Vadim's insecurities about Dan and his lovers, Jean in particular, were painful for me. Vadim never really understood that the reason why he didn't need to fear losing Dan to someone else was the fact that Dan wasn't ever looking for a relationship after Finland, not even with Vadim. Yes, he loved Vadim, just like he allowed Jean to love him. His connection to Vadim and their past made Dan accept that Vadim and he belonged together. But at no time did I think Dan was real relationship material. And that's why I felt sorry for Vadim, who was willing to be a caring and loyal domestic partner, despite all the shit Dan pulled on him. I love how they made it through 25 years together, but I will never ever be a fan of Dan's, sadly.And after 'breaking' with Dan, whom I really liked in Soldiers, I spent the rest of the books in constant fear that Vadim might do something that would make me despise him as well. There were actually quite a lot of scenes where I would have preferred Vadim to walk away and not participate, but still he managed to find his way into my heart and stay there.Ok, before this review turns into a love letter for Vadim, I'll wrap it up ;-)As they grow older, it’s Dan’s health that becomes the largest obstacle in the man’s life. After his knee surgery and his ensuing physical handicap that removes him from active duty forever, Dan feels useless and dead.At the beginning of Special Forces - Veterans, Vadim is working hard to make a home in New Zealand together and to build a military consulting career for both men that allows them to continue traveling the globe and earning money while not putting themselves in danger anymore.Dan falls into a deep depression because of his handicap and stops talking to Vadim for about a year, until he finally comes around and manages to find a purpose in life again.The first half of Veterans deals with a high ranking African Colonel who seduces Vadim during the year that Dan stopped being there for him, but the Colonel keeps on stalking Vadim for months. Dan and Vadim realize that the guy is a dangerous sadist who already crippled a British lawyer many years earlier. They manage to convince (and seduce) the lawyer to give testimony against the Colonel to prevent the man from ever going after another guy again, while also showing the handsome lawyer what love and man on man sex feels like (the poor guy never had anyone but hookers, because of the scars that remained on his body after the Colonel’s sadistic torture).The second half of the book, with both guys being in their 50s, is mainly about tying up loose ends in their lives. Vadim finally reaches a peaceful understanding with his ex-wife Katya and manages to get in contact with his children and Dan finally accepts having a daughter with a woman he hated, becoming a father figure in the young girl’s life. And finally, their marriage – the final closure of probably the most epic love story in the genre.(hide spoiler)]Personally, I would have preferred to see Dan and Vadim deal with their families and children in more detail and following them on that path, but instead, the story mostly centered on sex whenever and with whomever the plot made it possible. Still, I am so in love with the story and the many years that it encompasses. Although I hated Dan’s promiscuity, his lovers actually grew on me over time, especially Matt and Hooch (whose book I’m gonna read asap). I never grew fond of Jean, though. I disliked him and how he treated and cheated on his wife Solange . I also totally disliked Dan’s closeness with him, telling him things that went on between him and Vadim that should have *stayed* between him and Vadim. He had no right spilling everything to Jean. So, Jean, this is for you:And finally, I need to confess that Vadim Krasnorada is definitely my favorite character. I mean, of all time. I don’t think I ever got to know a book character as thoroughly as him. His past, his thoughts, his motivations. He stands out like a gold coin in a treasure chest filled with silver. Yes, he has dark sides. He’s a (view spoiler)[rapist, an assassin, he killed countless people and even contemplated killing his stalker in cold blood(hide spoiler)] – but still I love him with all my heart. Is this Stockholm-Syndrome speaking or what, LOL?I spent more than a full year reading this series, giving rather low ratings to the Mercenaries books (or to be more precise: to Dan) and I will never be able to fully understand characters having an open relationship like Dan and Vadim have (I am convinced that this will wreck an intimate relationship sooner or later), but still this series is the most intense epic you will find in this genre. It gave me depression at times, made me question my own attitudes at others. I can only recommend this series with all my heart. And now I just *have* to read every single book by this author. I hope they’re not all multi-thousand pages novels like this masterpiece here.5 stars and a Federal Cross of Merit for Vadim, but need I even mention that?["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Isabel
    2019-03-30 11:47

    25 years epically unforgetable!It is very difficult to put in words everything that these books gave to me! There were so many different emotions, some good, some not so good, and others devastating! Pain, sorrow, joy, happyness... love... and every one of these emotions are nailed in my heart and my soul, and forever they will be!I was, once again, drowned in a sea of feelings while reading Veterans! There were no more wars to fight, but there were fightings with traumas and depression! Dan and Vadim's love overcome everything... their beautiful, strong and powerful love! I will never forget Dan and Vadim, one of my favorite couples of all times! They deserved HEA and they got it! The ending was so sweet... so tender... and there again were my tears... but tears of happyness!Aleksandr Voinov and Marquesate are brilliant, they wrote an epic story, memorable!!!A special thanks to my GR friend Shakisha, who gave me the motivation to read this series!!!

  • Angela
    2019-04-12 13:33

    I don't know. I really wanted to like this book. I basically finished the series as I had read the first two and wanted to know how the story would end. I still hate Jean and he was in this book a lot. He just rubs me the wrong way, which is great, if Dan hadn't kept sleeping with him. If Dan had stopped sleeping with him, I actually think I would have liked Jean more.I'm peeved that Dan and Vadim weren't monogamous. I know this might be just me and yes perhaps I am all about the happy ever afterI thought the book started off really well. I was rivetted by the start and I did have a moment where I thought, this is going to be great, but once it got to the point where Dan and Vadim went to visit Jean after Pascal's death, I thought well the greatness in this story is gone. Then it felt to me like it descended into one big how many times can we fit sex in. It angered me that even when Vadim said he didn't like them having sex with others, it carried on as apparently agreeable to both of them. Grr. Yes I know strong feelings.I'm still a little shocked as I really loved Soldiers and now part of me wishes that I had stopped reading after the first book and just imagined my own ending. I think that would have made me happier.Oh well, in my imagination I can pretend it never happened. I will definitely re read Soldiers again in the future, but won't be going back for another serving of Mercenaries or Veterans.

  • Em
    2019-04-14 12:26

    Read 2-9 December 2012Reread 8-16 October 2016Special Forces is still my absolute favourite m/m series of all time, there's just no getting away from it. After a 4 year break I've read the entire series again with my initial 'buddies' Steph and G, and actually think I enjoyed it even more this time around. Last time I was so worried that Dan and Vadim wouldn't make it to the end that it sort of ruined my enjoyment of Veterans. I could relax a bit more this time and really take the time to enjoy everything and take it all in. The last 25% especially was so much fun and so enjoyable, as Dan and Vadim got to meet up with long lost acquaintances, friends and relatives, and relax and enjoy themselves as only they know how to!Unfortunately it's now hard to find a book that satisfies me and pulls the emotional heartstrings quite as much after reading this series.

  • Dreamer
    2019-03-30 09:23

    The view from Calton Hill of the Balmoral Hotel and Princes St, Edinburgh.Wow, what a book, loved it! I shall have to start again with 'Soldiers' shortly or I shall feel bereft..."Holy Fuck." Dan exhaled, "it really is real, then, aye? What the hell happened to us along the way? We used to be so cool and reckless.""We grew up, got modestly well-off, and somehow stood each other for twenty-five years."

  • Laura
    2019-03-21 16:43

    4.5 Stars“to love, loyalty, friendship, and trust!”The thought of letting go and saying goodbye to Vadim and Dan is just too painful to face. I thought the longer I put off this review the more time I had with this story, characters, and emotion running through my blood. Stalling is a skill. ;) But then it hit me. *slaps hand to forehead* Vadim and Dan are not going anywhere! They will forever hold a place in my heart and mind. This epic tale consumed me, made me laugh, cry, crave, scream, think, feel, and love. This story left a mark. One I will carry with me for strength, courage, love, and inspiration.Veterans, the final book in the Special Forces series, depicts life after the soldiering is done. Vadim and Dan are forced to find a new career, new life, and meaning without war and soldiering. But how? Soldiers live, define, and take purpose, pride, and meaning from their duty and job. Once the job and persona are gone though, what then? This can be true of any job or role in life. We all must face the time when how we define ourselves changes or shatters. Vadim and Dan must learn to live in peace time away from the killing and war. Can they find and fight for a new way of living without losing themselves or their love though?This leg of the journey opens with the most powerful, painful (tore my heart out with a spoon type pain) and realistic passages found in this series. Have you ever lost someone who was sitting right in front of you? My heart aches and chest tightens just thinking back on this time between Vadim and Dan. Hurt feelings, assumptions, and miscommunication can lead to pain atop of pain. Time and pain build to form this impenetrable wall that feels so big and cold. Everything feels lost and out of your control. Even the love feels lost. The beginning of this book broke my heart because it felt so terrifyingly real. We can lose the ones we love even though they are right there. If you know what I mean, my heart goes out to you. It hurts like fuck!”Alive. The word had taken on a whole new meaning over the past year. He’d been existing, side by side with Vadim, but more separated and hopeless than he’d ever been before. Alive but not living.”But as only Vadim and Dan can—they seem to find a way through all the pain and hurt. I jumped up and down (no lie) when Vadim found a way to break through the wall. Which brings me to one of my biggest loves and impacts from Vadim and Dan’s story—strength. The strength they found in battle, each other, life, friends, family, and love continues to awe and inspire me weeks after reading the last words. Vadim’s strength specifically will remain with me forever. His power and strength to stand up and fight for who he is and will be as an individual was courageous, beautiful, and heartbreaking. I have lost count how many times Vadim has shattered my heart and stolen every last one of my tears—but his battle to live and fight back against the torture simply took my breathe away! Right then and there Vadim earned all of my respect. I adore the man.Which is why…..DO NOT READ THIS if you plan on reading this series some day. This is a true spoiler. (view spoiler)[I am so happy, thrilled, glowing, and grinning from ear to ear that Dan and Vadim got their happy ending! They deserved it. Earned it. Fought for it. Married! :) (hide spoiler)]These characters made me feel included and a part of their lives, family, friends, and battles. And that is the key to this story for me—to be a part of life. They found a way to be a part of something, feel something, and be truly alive. These men found love and life with each other, but also surrounded themselves with people that became a part of their healing and happiness. One of my favorite parts of this story is the message and idea of giving back in life. Special Forces encourages giving back to a charity, nation, community, veteran, family, friend, or stranger. The thought and image of Vadim teaching little ones self defense makes me smile! It is just one of the heart warming moments of this series that shows huge heart. One I will take to heart.So this is it…Goodbye. Thank you Vadim and Dan! I feel like I have spent a life time with you, but hell…I want more!Thank you for the words, emotion, and inspiration.Christina! I really can’t thank you enough. You kept me sane through this journey. Thanks for always listening. Here’s to many more reading adventures, my friend! :DFavorite Moments:(view spoiler)[The mountains! The tent, open air, shaving, sharing, and touching again!“Memories. Memories in every motion, in every word, every gesture.”The foursome of Matt, Hooch, Vadim and Dan. Wow! Intense sexual tension! Very HOT and fun.Hooch nearly stole the show at the end folks, so hold on to your hearts and self control! The man dazzles!Right Maggie? Haha…I loved that the Baroness swooned for Hooch right along with me! :D (hide spoiler)]Missed Opportunities or Disappoiments(view spoiler)[ Stag night. The foursome with Vadim, Dan, Jean, and Hooch was my biggest disappointment. THAT could have been hot, but the whole scene fell flat for me. Vadim and Dan felt almost absent from the sex all together. The scene became more about Jean and Hooch, which was disappointing so close to the end of the book. I wanted more Vadim and Dan at that point. Solange! Oh, how I would have loved to have learned more about this lady! I would have killed for a Vadim and Solange scene! Killed! :) (hide spoiler)]Moments I take with me everyday from the series:(view spoiler)[That moment when Vadim hits the Gulf and Dan sees him for the first time.“Dan lifted one hand to shield his eyes, using the helmet for shadow and froze.Tall. Broad. Short-shaved blond. Arms crossed on a massive chest. Legs apart.”For Vadim to be standing there, facing Dan again after everything he had been through—the torture, the confinement, time away from Dan, SAS selection--truly amazes me whenever I think back on that moment. Strength, courage and the power of love. That moment inspires me on a daily basis. That image of Vadim standing strong.And ……The wedding, vows, and kiss!“Vadim stepped a little closer, and, ringed hand against Dan’s face, kissed him—the other arm around Dan’s shoulders. He’d wanted to do that all the time, the ‘sealing’ kiss, and then placed his forehead against Dan’s. I love you, he murmured.”That moment of pure love and joy. The image of Vadim touching Dan’s face for the first time with his ringed fingers as a married couple—God! It makes me tear up even now! This series is full of so many moments that will stay with me. (hide spoiler)]

  • Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
    2019-04-04 15:36

    The end of the odyssey with Vadim and Dan. Buddy read with the lovely Judith.

  • Tara♥
    2019-04-15 16:30

    "There be dragons, and he’d been riding on one for too long."So it comes to an end. I am currently in mourning. I was desperate to get through Dan and Vadim’s story because I needed to see how this epic love story ended. Now that it’s over I want to start all over again. I miss them. Special Forces put me through the wringer. I am, at this moment an emotional basket case. Honestly though? It was worth it. Getting to see the development of a relationship that spans 25 years with beautiful highs and soul crushing lows was just amazing and ‘Veterans’ made it all worth it. "Separated not by war – but by peace."Now to get to the good stuff you need to go through the tough stuff and the first 2/3’s of ‘Veterans’ is the tough stuff. Both Dan and Vadim need to face their demons, learn to live with all that has come before and most of all they both need to heal. That healing is not easy for either, their inability to communicate makes it all even more painful to witness. But ‘Veterans’ is very cathartic and even though it felt like my heart had yet again been ripped out things never felt completely hopeless. The gift of a bullet in the Kuwaiti desert gives you something to hang onto and a love that was forged in hell fire seems able to withstand just about anything. "Pain always brought relief in the end. Even if it was only the relief of its absence."There are still things that I don’t understand. Decisions they have made along the way and things they do that I still don’t get but Dan and Vadim are not perfect, not by a long shot. Like us all they are flawed and those flaws make what they have even more wonderful. This series has poked at a lot of soft spots for me, it has also thrown stuff at me that has made me feel deeply uncomfortable and previously would’ve made me stop reading. I’m still not comfortable with some of the things that happened but for some reason I’ve learned to accept the things they did to each other and those around them. "Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real".Cormac McCarthyWithout a doubt my favourite of the 3 cycles has been ‘Soldiers’ even though they cause each other the most damage in it we get to see something amazing happen. We get to see two enemies, two wild animals find something that is beautiful and fragile in events that are ugly and cruel. That something somehow continues to grow even when neglected and the results are truly epic. I really miss them.

  • Rida
    2019-04-20 11:38

    Special Forces in 3 parts, Soldiers, Mercenaries and Veterans.I am not sure that I can do this book justice. It grabs you from the very first page and doesn't let you go until the end; and then stays with you.Above all else, this is a love story; a very passionate love story. We are made to feel, no, obliged to feel, all the joy and ecstasy of love, all the pain and agony of love. It is a love that tears you apart, heals you, wounds you and makes you whole. If you have never had this love, the next best experience is to read about it and try to live it through the two main characters.Two men, soldiers, rather warriors, share 25 years of their life with us. It is not a pretty story; made even less pretty by the inescapable ugliness of war and the unfortunate, and often inevitable, dehumanisation of fighters.The psychological ramifications of being homosexual in an unaccepting and unforgiving world and the horrific effect of torture and pain are dealt with superbly; as are the healing processes and the accompanying catharsis.In all of this, the soul is never lost entirely and the strength, and sometimes burden, of a deep love endures.I can not recommend this book strongly enough. Yes, it is often harsh, bloody and savage. The abundant sex scenes are often rough rather than tender. If you are looking for a sterile and sweet story, this book is not for you. But if you are looking for a provoking, emotional and gripping read, this is one of the best.

  • Taylor
    2019-04-08 10:41

    I don't think I can put into words how I truly felt about this story. If you're reading reviews on the final chapter, then you probably already know what you've gotten into. All I can say, is that after 25 years with Dan and Vadim, I've been shown depths and complexities of human emotion and desires that I never knew before, including some I never thought I wanted to understand. There is a quote in Soldiers, in which Vadim explains to Dan why reading is important to him. That it is about discovering truths.“What good has the truth done you, eh?” Uncapping, he took a swig of water, feeling better with every gulp.“At least I know that there are many truths. It’s about learning to think different thoughts. Know things that you never felt. You could know what being rich feels like, or being in love, without ever getting real feeling."And that is why I read. For stories like this one. It will be with me forever and always, and I am incredibly grateful for the authors for having shared it.

  • Rachel
    2019-04-01 12:37

    This is not my review of Veterans. My review of Veterans was written in my usual snarky fashion, full of similes and metaphors, conveying the very similar sentiments that I expressed in my Mercenaries reviews. I threw out my review of Veterans. You get that I feel the SF sequels are a passable three stars. Entertaining and recommendable, but not exceptional. This is what I produce after days of stimulating, healthy discussions that burn the midnight oil and make me question, “What is it about the sequels that kept me engaged while I read them, but made me feel, ‘eh,’ upon finishing them?” This is what happens when you make me think. This I blame solely on my good friends at Goodreads. So here it goes. Believability. It all comes down to the believability in the writing for me. How does an author “make me believe”? I can’t quite pinpoint it, and my mind is too boggled right now to harp on it, but in essence it is in the sales pitch. Since I love my metaphors so much, let’s go with a car one to assist in this explanation. Soldiers was like a BMW - a hideously orange one. I wanted a beautiful black BMW, never would have looked at an orange one, but Voinov and Marquesate insisted that I not take my eyes off the glowing sparkle of the orange. And I didn’t. I was mesmerized by it and drove it off the lot - fast. So my lease runs out on “Soldiers” and I return to the lot. Voinov and Marquesate are waiting for me (looking dapper in John Varvatos suits - that’s how I picture them, thought you’d want to know) and they lead me over to a shiny, black car, named Mercenaries. Ah, what I wanted. There is a silver one too, they call it Veterans. BMW’s in colors I like. I can immediately tell they are lacking some sleekness, but essential lines are all their so I start to inspect them. It looks good for a while and then I recognize the logo on the trunk. KIA. Not BMW, KIA. I start looking to Voinov and Marquesate for answers, but Voinov is just staring across the lot at some unknown point and Marquesate is mumbling something I can’t understand while avoiding eye contact. Black and silver aren't BMW's and Voinov and Marquesate are still trying sell me them, but I am only going for an enjoyable test drive. I decide to keep the orange BMW and make an exit. I linger by black and silver a while just to be sure, but I’m sticking with orange. When Voinov and Marquesate work as a team of sales pitching smoothness - I buy. When they each come at me from different directions - I don’t. Voinov and Marquesate made me engaged in a story about a homophobic alpha male who falls in love with his rapist - and I bought and I loved it. Equally incomprehensible plots continue in Mercenaries and Veterans, but Voinov and Marquesate just can’t seem to close the deal with me in regards to the believability factor in them. Concluding that the plot in Soldiers is as hard a sell as the continued plot in it’s sequels, why did I “buy” Soldiers, but not the rest? I have suspicions. However, I am not quite bold enough to come right out and state these “suspicions,” but I am the right amount of bold to tip toe around them for a while …. By the time I heard the call to hop on the Special Forces: Soldiers band wagon, there was a post from Voinov on the Director’s cut page stating: “This is the vision that represents my version of the text.” Not our. My. That was my first, “Hmmm.” He follows it up with: “In terms of changes, the text ends a little earlier than the original "Soldiers", so it can stand on its own.” I thought, “What author would do that when the element of a cliff hanger would ensure more traffic to the sequels?” I think I might get it now. My suspicions harbor on the feeling that as I read through the series, I not only was reading the disintegration of the relationship between Dan and Vadim, but also their creators. Now I do not personally know either of the authors. I only know them through their work and what I can discern through their interaction on Goodreads, which I am sure is a professional, public façade version of them. But what I infer from their separate websites, near complete lack of mention of each other and the quality of Soldiers verse the quality of the sequels - I am getting that their working arrangement may have become unpleasant. When reading SF, the ICoS series was comparatively in my mind. The two series are as similar as they are contrasting. Their similarities lie in their ungodly length, total engagement of the reader, unforgettable characters and simply, epicness (epicness? That might not be a word, but I want it to be). It is where they contrast that I believe is key. Sonny Hassell and Ais’s cohesiveness as a team translated to their work. They hit their own bumpy roads with Afterimage and for a while I held my breath while Boyd went on a “Dan detour,” in his selfish escapades and temporary break from who his character had been. By keeping Boyd relatable, even when he wasn’t likeable, Hassell and Ais’s team effort kept me wanting more. Boyd recovered, Dan never did for me. Hassell and Ais share a group message board, Voinov and Marquesate don't. Whether I am out in left field on this, I will never know. For all I know Voinov and Marquesate are best friends forever. But I do know they couldn’t keep their chemistry going in the work they produced. For me the moment the sales pitch could no longer be believed, the five star rating was gone. Mercenaries and Veterans were entertaining, but not exceptional. It was not a five star love, but a three star working arrangement.A Romantic Notion Reviews

  • Vicki
    2019-03-25 14:47

    3.5 STARSWell, Veterans was better than Mercenaries, but still no where near as good as Soldiers. There were parts that I chose to skim due to either aggravation or boredom, but there were some really touching, important moments as well. Here are my thoughts:(view spoiler)[***SPOILERS***I thought it started off fantastic. Dan’s depression and drinking problem, and subsequently Vadim’s feelings about it, was an emotional and realistic story line. For the first time in a long time, Dan had my sympathy and I was mad at Vadim. I was like, “Can’t you see he’s in pain? Help him!” Of course, my sweetie Vadim came to his senses and took action. One of my favorite parts of the book was when Vadim “kidnapped” Dan. I would have liked to see Dan’s alcoholism delved into deeper, it was “cured” too easily, and yet Dan still drank just not alone anymore. Not realistic. Alcoholics have no control over their addiction and should not drink at all. But whatever… Loved how they reconnected though.Nelson’s obsession started out interesting, but in the end it seemed like another reason for Dan and Vadim to have yet another random sexual encounter. This time with Nelson’s past victim (I forget his name now – since he was inconsequential.) Still hate Jean with a passion. Couldn’t even read whenever he and Dan had sex because it turned my stomach. Dan starting the Spa for retired soldiers was a nice idea, -although it might as well be a brothel because according to Dan, sex is the end all and cure all for everything. (Which aggravates me to no end - more on that later.)Glad Vadim got some therapy, FINALLY! Felt sad and happy for him. Of course I was glad when he admitted to not liking Dan having sex with other men. Then Dan and he reunited – so good<3. Dan reads the diaries, sees Vadim is hurt by his promiscuity – and asks if Vadim wants him to stop. At this point I’m like “Yes, truth and monogamy, finally” But...nope. First of all I don’t think Dan should have even asked, he should have just stopped, BUT he asks and Vadim says…NO?! WHAT?! I don’t get it…never will. Was happy that Vadim gave up Hooch …(for awhile anyway)… good for him, but Dan is a narcissistic slut, so God forbid he gives up that annoying dickhead Jean. Plus, what happened to setting boundaries?Hooch getting captured! OMG! I loved Hooch, and was so scared. I really enjoyed that entire chapter. Hooch and Matt realizing they were in love. The thoughts Hooch said he had about Matt that kept him alive while he was imprisoned! So sweet, loved it!!Katya, Kisa, Vadim’s kids…boring, though it was necessary to be wrapped up.I’m probably missing some things I can’t think of now, but let me get to the end…The wedding…gah…some good shit, and a lot of really dumb shit happens. First of all, whoever cared about Beauvais to begin with? Let alone he and this St’ John guy? Anybody? Because I sure as hell never did and still don’t. They certainly didn’t warrant a long sex scene, that’s for sure. Loved when Hooch gave douche bag Jean a hard time…than the next day they have sex?! WHAT?! I was so mad, again I had to skim. Hooch goes back to Matt and I think for a moment Matt is mad, and I’m glad, but nooo, of course not. Because apparently gay men have no problem with the men they love having random sex with others *eye roll*. And so, once again, Marq has ruined a couple that I had previously LOVED. It’s Dan and Vadim all over again - Hooch is a slut and Matt is ok with that. UGH! Plus, Hooch and Matt were together 3 yrs before he let Matt fuck him and 5 yrs before he admitted to liking BDSM, yet does both with Jean after just meeting him?!As someone who has known many gay men throughout her life – including my brother and my bestie – let me tell you that they usually prefer monogamy (except one, but even he felt heartache), they have feelings of jealousy and they have higher standards then fucking everything they can get their hands on. They believe in love and want to find, and settle down with, that one special person. So when that is not portrayed, it is very unrealistic to me and I lose a connection, and respect, for the characters. Just like how I said earlier, they use sex as the end all, cure all. I mean we get it, men love sex – so do a lot of women for that matter– but they aren’t animals. They have feelings and emotions and don’t want sex all the damn time no matter who or what the circumstance. I mean really, Hooch is in pain with a broken pelvis, just got released from torture, had just come to terms with his feelings for Matt – yet Matt and Dan are barely out of the door and he’s exchanging blow jobs with Vadim! Just like when Dan had sex with Jean when he was upset about Pascal and suddenly Jean feels better, or in Merc 2 when Dan had sex with Dima. Again, the Hooch and Jean thing...etc. One open couple – fine, but all of them so open?…no. Ok, back to the wedding… Stag party made me sick and made no sense - aren't practical jokes only funny when the person/people you are playing them on actual find out about it? At the ceremony too many descriptions of who was present and what they were wearing, and who was sitting were… BUT the vows *swoon* I cried. When these guys want to bring it, they bring it. Love when they are so emotional and express how they feel for each other (whether in words or thoughts). Loved the toasts too. Vadim carrying Dan to their room? Priceless! I laughed while being choked up at the same time. Beautiful ending, but just a shit way to get there. As I’ve said before, I still would have preferred that the writers had left it at just Soldiers. (hide spoiler)]

  • Lenore
    2019-04-14 14:43

    I went through the last lines of Veterans a few minutes ago and I feel I've reached the end of the toughest journey in my life. I can't believe I'm done...This last installment was a lot different. More mellow, more emotional, the characters more introspective. The pace was much faster and there was much less dialogue. But it didn't matter. It was alright. Like the last leg of any journey, it slowed down. After all, you need to move to shallower waters before reaching the shore.Some small things that stayed with me:The first part, with Dan and Vadim having become almost strangers. It was almost as excruciating as the first part of Mercenaries. Almost.Dan wondering if there was any love left in Vadim for him. I loved him again after that. I came this close to forgiving him for his Mad Dog period. It didn't happen though. Sorry Dan. Anoushka. She was an interesting character and I would have liked a chance to understand her better.Americans and British English. Having Hooch consider taking a kip instead of a nap, for example, felt strange. Could you imagine him commenting on the weather, having his toast well done and his tea with lots of milk? No way!The prenuptial fuckfest. Again, I don't believe I'm saying this but there was just too much sex there. Though I have to admit I enjoyed the Hooch-Matt part of that foursome. I developped a thing for Hooch for a while after that. But then he went on to make up with Jean and I went "meh" about him all over again.Beauvais. I didn't like the guy in Mercs and I didn't like him in Veterans either. But something about him in this installment made me feel like pating him on the shoulder and "there there-ing" him. Well. You know what they say. God works in mysterious ways and all that.I would have liked to see how Dan and Vadim went on with their lives after their partership. See how it worked for them. And small things like if they let Vadim be on Dan's side after Dan's second knee replacement operation. Or how were Dan and Vadim with their grandchildren. But then again maybe things like that would have been overkill.Special Forces has been hands down the most intense experience to come out of any book I've ever read and I cherish it for that. I bid farewell to Dan and Vadim with bleary eyes knowing that they will stay with me forever.One last "thank you" to Mel. You know why, love.

  • Lisa Arbitrary - AttentionIsArbitrary M/M Blog
    2019-04-17 08:31

    ~~~Right away the authors took my soul, slammed it down, hard. Ripped me apart, tore me, exposed me and continued to destroy me. Then little by little they began piecing me back together again but not without letting me slam back to pain, weakness and deep depression over and over again. All without losing me anywhere along the way. In the end, they were kind enough to reassemble all the parts and re-fill my soul with hope and happiness but not without leaving a deeply affected core that is very sensitive to entirely new concepts and experiences that I never thought I wanted or needed to have. A beautifully written love story, so much more than a romance. It has been said by so many reviewers but these books have changed me. That is something very rare. Exceptional story telling, character development and continuity. I can not emphasize enough how much I recommend this book (these books) and hope the interest continues to grow. ~~~Take a look at my Male/Male Romance Book Blog:

  • Steph
    2019-04-19 08:29

    I really can't believe it's over. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe laugh, because I made it through all those nights of staying up until stupid ‘o’clock. Reading until my eyes burned and being woken up by my Kindle smashing me in the face because I fell asleep whilst reading in bed again. Honestly though, I think I'll probably just cry. This series was so much more than I ever could have expected and I am devastated that I've finished... ************** Spoilers Ahead ******************* I will admit, the first 10% of this book was a complete slap in the face. I had to stop for the night at 5% because I was so emotional and angry.After having the knee replacement that he stupidly put off for over six months, Dan is completely lost. He feels he has lost his purpose in life. 'The hole that nothing could fill. No future. No more 'Mad Dog'. Mad Dog was dead, he's died on the operating table.' I think the reason I found this part so difficult was because they both had genuine reasons for acting the way they did. Dan deserved to feel this way, to have time to grieve for the life and the job that he loved. But I also felt so sorry for Vadim. He has been doing everything possible to make things easier for Dan, whilst waiting for him to come home. The six months apart has been absolute hell, so lonely and sad.'Welcome home, Dan. I only waited six months or so.' He kept busy by doing up the house and making sure that he has work, money and a life to come back to. But Dan just feels lost; the house is nothing like he had imagined it would be, he feels he has lost his home, his job, his old life. Dan just shuts down; he doesn't talk, doesn't laugh and refuses speak at all. Their sex life becomes non-existent and the whole between them just grows and grows. That's what broke my heart. Dan doesn't think Vadim could possibly love him or want him anymore so he just keeps pushing Vadim away. Vadim just becomes more and more furious. He feels Dan has had enough time to come to terms with his new life and is angry that he still won't talk to him. His plan to get Dan back was incredible. To take him into the mountains, away from the house and everything that puts space between them.'Most of all, keep him from the whiskey, fucking force him to sleep close, exercise the hurt, the rage.' And holy shit does it work. It was incredible to see them reconnect, some of the most amazing scenes in the entire series. Vadim, you are a genius. This book sees Dan and Vadim make some massive changes in their lives, but for me, unfortunately some things never change and that brings me to Jean.I was one of the few people that actually liked Jean, but after his actions in the last two books, I just want someone to punch him in the face. I still don't hate him, but the way he behaves is appalling. The one thing I hate the most is the way he is with Dan and Vadim. He jumps into their bed and thinks he can call all the shots. Who does what, what he wants, what he doesn't want. Dan and especially Vadim apparently just have to do whatever he wants, which is bullshit! On more than one occasion, Dan and Vadim argue about Jean and what makes it worse is that Vadim has sacrificed so much for him but Dan always protects Jean and doesn't seem to care about what Vadim wants."He came into our bed, and whatever his intentions, that wasn't completely innocent." "No, but you know that he really doesn't want to get fucked." "Yeah, like he's straight." What he wants? Again? Come on Dan. I'm sorry, but if you don't like it, Jean, get the fuck out of their bed! I think Vadim's reactions are totally justified.'It wasn't all sun and light what he was feeling for Jean. In a way, it was payback, he wanted to get Jean to lose it, to want to get fucked, wanted to humiliate him and fuck him raw.' Vadim is just sick to death of Dan allowing Jean to get in their way, which he has no right to do. Why won't anybody believe that I'm straight? It's because you're a bit of a whore, who every time your lovely wife's back is turned, you're shoving you dick in another guy that will start to fall in love with you. Who you will then tell to get over it because you're straight. Bollocks!It's the biggest lead of bullshit, and I think he's just taking the piss out of Solange. Which is not cool. Anyway, enough of Jean because I am starting to get pissed off. LOL It was wonderful to see Dan and Kisa finally meet. I thought it was so sweet that they met up for ice-cream and that they are so blunt and honest with each other from the very beginning.'"You look nothing like a father. Nothing like my friends Dad's." Dan couldn't help but laugh. "What the fuck did you expect me to look like?" Wincing. Damn! He hadn't meant to swear.She laughed, seemed it was funny that an old geezer talked that way.' I was also glad that Vadim made peace with Nikolai (love that name, one of my favourite names ever) and that they became really close. Even though it work out so well with Anoushka, the man-hating lesbian. (Vadim's words, not mine LOL). I loved that in this book we got a huge update on some of the characters that we have met throughout this incredible journey, at Dan and Vadim's wedding. Yes, I said wedding! Which resulted in a very unattractive happy dance from me. LOL With the likes of Maggie who has been such a brilliant friend and who took great pleasure in planning their wedding. Dima and Markus, Manke (the guy who helped Vadim after he was released from the Lubyanka), Beavuais, the couple from London, all the Krasnorada's, Duncan and his family and many may more... Just showing how many lives Dan and Vadim gave touched. It was so beautiful. Hooch and Matt played a big part in the second half of this book, which was fantastic. Getting to see things from Hooch's POV was amazing. We saw how much it hurt Vadim to let Hooch go, he knows that they will be together and the unrequited love is just too painful. Hooch thinks the world of Vadim, but he's in love with Matt and seeing Hooch realise that was one of the most breath-taking moments I have ever read in this series."If I told you that I wanted to spend my days and nights with you, live with you, as my partner, because out there, In Hell, I realised that you mean the world to me? That you are my sanity, my laughter, my lust, my love, my comfort, my day and my night, my heat my cold and everything? If I told you that, would you think that translates to 'convenient?'"Matt swallowed, staring at Hooch wide-eyed. "" "Damn right. Now shut up, Donahue, and tell me that you'll spend the rest of your life with me." I know I have talked on forever about this book, as I have done with all the others before it, but there is so much more I could say. No amount of words could ever explain the way I felt once I read that last page. This journey has been heart-breaking, gut wrenching, devastating, infuriating... touching, eye-opening, and so much more than I had ever imagined it could be and I am so sad that the end has come. I want to say a massive thanks to everyone in the group read thread... You all know who you are. This wouldn't have been the same without you all holding my hand and talking through everything as we went along. Last, but certainly not least, to you Aleksandr Voinov. For letting us all read your beautiful words and for allowing me and my friends to crash-land in your wonderful group and set up camp, where we could all go through this together. And for being a pretty awesome guy :)

  • ~Mindy Lynn~
    2019-04-20 15:22

    It feels bittersweet for it to come to an end. I really enjoyed reading the story of Dan and Vadim. It's an epic story that I will forever remember.

  • Silkeeeeee
    2019-03-27 11:47

    Sadly, there are no more chapters. I started this series saying I had no clue how I would ever forgive Vadim much less like him. Now, I come to the end and can say I fell in love with him, much more than Dan. I don't know that I have been more emotionally involved with two MCs than these two. To read a series that spans twenty-five years allows you to become so involved that you have every emotion, as if these two were real. I have to say to the authors, take a bow. You have brought a wonderful story of love, compassion and loyalty to us and I know I won't forget it.This series is highly recommended.4/21/13 - Six months later and I'm still in love with Vadim. I needed to revisit this and place it in bookshelves I have created since I finished this series. Hopefully I will get caught up with my reading and do a re-read of this sometime this year.