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Special Forces #1-3

Special Forces

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Special Forces is an epic work of military gay erotic fiction, which is available for free online. It consists of three cycles: Soldiers, and Mercenaries and Veterans. The Original Version of Special Forces has 70 chapters in total.

Marquesate's website hosts the Original Version, from the first chapter published in July 2006, to the last one published in April 2009. This is the 1st edition.

It is the epic 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.

The reality of these two men is dark, brutal, fueled by aggression and insane lust. Steeped in pain and killing, with death as their shoulder companion, these Special Forces soldiers meet in 1980. Their intense hatred caused by rape, revenge and torture turning into fucked-up lust and years of secret encounters in the rat-infested labyrinth of Kabul and the Afghan mountains. Time, despair and desolation smoothing down the sharpness of hatred, its venom drained with each physical encounter, the lust helping to form an understanding that only two men of the same kind can share. Enemy Mine and Brothers in Arms - on two different sides.

This novel 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.

The original version was edited by the authors of the time of first publication on Marquesate’s website. This is the only version that is authorised by Marquesate.


All cycles of the Original Version - Soldiers, Mercenaries and Veterans - have now been published in paperback and can be found at LuLu Press. The link to the first cycle is:



First published January 1, 2007

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About the author


19 books276 followers
Marquesate is a British author living in Scotland. She has been associated with the British Forces for many years, and specialises in contemporary gay military fiction.

Using the insider knowledge of the 'bowels' of the military machinery and the insight into the soldiers' minds and modes of functioning, Marquesate creates realistic settings, situations and characters who are simultaneously down to earth and larger than life. Those men are strong, aggressive, tough and independent, and it is their determination and truthfulness to themselves and their comrades in arms, that becomes their saviour and their downfall.

These soldiers are grounded in their military context and thrown into a maelstrom of duty, comradeship, hostility and courage, to emerge scarred, battle-hardened and touched at the very core of their selves - by an enemy, a friend, a foe or an ally.

No-holds barred, often hard and brutal, Marquesate's fiction always carries a punch.

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5 stars
1,318 (71%)
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302 (16%)
3 stars
130 (7%)
2 stars
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50 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 236 reviews
Profile Image for Alina.
708 reviews28 followers
July 16, 2013
I don't know how to rate this, because I completely adored the first part - Soldiers - and tbh I almost cannot stand the other two. It's not that they're badly written - completely opposite - but the characters and the direction it all went in just pissed me off to no end.

Dan suddenly became a whore and Vadim just had to suck it up to continue to be with him and it's so totally unexpected, I've been like O.o during the first part of Mercenaries. I know it's stupid, but I felt so betrayed. Soldiers was a beautiful story - fucked up, violent, but beautiful nevertheless, and that scene in the hotel, before the KGB bust - I cried for real! And when Vadim went to see injured Dan in the hospital too. So after that having all this polygamy, Dan's 'harem' and Vadim just dealing with his problems and PTSD... And what I hated the most is that how the balance's shifted and Vadim's now in such a dependant position: he's alone in a foreign country, he has no friends, he can't socialize well - he's utterly alone and that after awfully traumatic experience - his two years of torture and prison. And he's somehow guilty now, he needs to apologize constantly, while Dan's out there enjoing the life.

I just can't comprehend how Dan even could compare his 10+ years relationship with Vadim - their love and sacrifices and how much they've been through together with his fuck buddy for several months Jean. When he's been like 'yeah Vadim's better than all that, blahblahblah and even Jean', I've been like: whoa? how can you even compare them? If all it takes to replace your 'love' for 10 years is some poor carbon copy, but younger, merrier and with less issues - how the fuck you can even call that love? So what if Vadim wasn't there, you'd forgot him completely in what - several more months? A year? And in the meantime Dan was even ready to kill Vadim, when he's provoked him :/

And now Vadim has to earn Dan's feelings somehow, he needs to suit his needs or Jean/Matt/co would have him. I kinda wanted for them to break up and for Vadim to find another man. I rooted for them with Hooch, tbh.

I get Dan's motives, I really do, I understand how shattered he felt and why he wanted to get away and forget, but damn? It's like these few months had changed his personality completely. He only thought about Vadim before, even when he didn't know if the other's still alive, even if they hadn't seen each other in months, and then it seems he just blended in with his new soldier buddies, made a few of them his fuck buddies and totally moved on with his life. I just didn't see any struggle, any memories about the past, only some brief flicks and I don't even see how his relatioships with Vadim are any different from his fucking around with these new people? There's lust, there's comradery, plus these guys aren't as violent and fucked up as Vadim is. I don't see that love that would've made Vadim stand out from them all. It's more like pity and sad memories, nothing else and I hate it. I hate that they lost their wonderful love and what they have now it's just a mere shadow for me.

I just can't understand Dan and thus I can't sympathize with him.
Open relationship is not my kind of thing either, but at least I can see the difference between the 'main partner' and the others. Kinda like Brian Kinney from QaF, when he loved only Justin, but had slept with so many others, because sex doesn't equal love.
But I don't see that much of a difference between Dan&Jean's relationship and Dan&Vadim's relationship. And I actually would mind very much, if my partner'd have a relationship like this one with someone else, other than me. I think it's pretty normal reaction and if Dan can't see it - maybe he's the one in need of consulting, not Vadim?

I know it's not a 'sunshine and rainbows' kind of lovestory, but seriously after this phone-sex and actual shagging with Jean before the wedding the whole marriage thing looked like a farce to me. I remember all those scenes from 'Soldiers', when I cried, and what was that for? Their sacrifices and love and risking their lives to save each other? To have THIS at the end?

So yeah, I was utterly dissapointed. If it would've been like Mercenaries from the start - I'd have just stopped reading, coz that's not my kind of story. But I still hoped it somehow would return to what's been in Soldiers, so I kept reading till the end and man - I can't remember the last time I was so pissed because of the book. Jean's in my top-5 most hated fictional characters (along with Carnac from Manna Francis's Administration Series).

I'm sorry for the rambling, but obviously I have a lot of feelings xD
Profile Image for Ery.
311 reviews2 followers
July 21, 2012
Top 10 reasons this series is like a relationship:

1) When it's good, it's "attack you as soon as I walk in the door" good.
2) When it's bad, you're just so over it. But you can't give up on it- you've invested too much time!
3) It's rife with subtext. You just have to read between the lines, or you miss a lot.
4) Sometimes, you wish it would go on endlessly.... But on occasion, you wish it would just end already...
5) The sex is smokin hot, but sometimes it's just too much.
6) It can become an obsession. It sucks up all your free time.
7) It's a little scary.
8) Everyone lies. Rather frequently. To themselves, most of all.
9) It changes significantly throughout. What you start with isn't what you see later.
10) It breaks your heart, then rebuilds it. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Profile Image for Heather C.
1,456 reviews210 followers
October 5, 2012
I did it...read every single fucking brutal word of it! Aren't ya'll fucking proud of me?!?!
It only took me 24 days.  I'm not really sure what I could say that hasn't already been said in many other reviews about this. So I won't break it down and analize it; it is what it is. I agree that is the most epic and beautiful love story...from most hated enemies to most passionate and intense lovers.  Dan and Vadim are war, but are also each other's peace. Its angsty and painful and bloody and violent, and then sweet and endearing when needed.  All the suffering is totally worth the rewards in the end. Once I got past my squeamishness  of the open relationship and orgies, I was pretty much okay.  The rape and hardcore, brutal sex didn't bother me at all.   
I think Matt and Dan words describe it best:
"...most fucking amazing love story" ~ Matt
"What a fucked-up love-affair of violence we are." ~ Dan

Now I need to find someway to detox myself from Dan and Vadim; they will be in my head and heart forever. 
Profile Image for LenaRibka.
1,411 reviews414 followers
October 10, 2014
"What we have is, as you said once, non-negotialbe. From the day you raped me, and the day I tortured you; from the pistol wound and knife cuts, and from all the anger, pain and hatred onwards...from that very first moment on we were fated. To die together - from each other's hand, or to live together." (Dan)

"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.”(Vadim)

It was the most beautiful, the most intense, the most addictive, the most emotional, the most erotic, the most heart-breaking love story of two people, two HUMANS I have ever read.

That is all I can say.

Special Forces: Soldiers, the original version, 716 p.

Read from August 08 to 14, 2013
Special Forces: Soldiers review

Special Forces: Mercenaries Part I, the original version, 830 p.

Read from August 15 to 22, 2013
Special Forces: Mercenaries Part I review

Special Forces: Mercenaries Part II, 662 p.

Read from August 22 to 26, 2013
Special Forces: Mercenaries Part II

Special Forces: Veterans, 573 p.

Read from August 27 to 1 September, 2013
Special Forces: Veterans

I've got two deep cut marks in my heart.
Two letters. V for Vadim. D for Dan. Forever.

I don't think I am able to find the right words to describe what this book did to me, what this book means to me. So I leave it this way.

Speechless...overwhelmed, overloaded with emotions...

MUST READ for everybody. Even if mm is normally not your genre. Honestly. You won't regret it.

Because this book is not only one of the best books I have ever read, this book is for me THE BEST I have read.
Profile Image for BevS.
2,689 reviews2 followers
August 5, 2015

Well, here is my HUGE review.

Bloody Marvellous - Everyone should read it or you'll really have missed out on something special!! Next book in series already on kindle. Many, many thanks to Aleks and his co-writers for this masterpiece. Oh, and Katya, I'm watching you!!
January 16, 2013

Oh, please can I give this 10 stars? I really have no words. All of the previous reviews have already said all the perfect words. For a mature, adult reader this will be a life changing novel. Admittedly, I put my life on hold to finish this book. I just couldn't stop reading. The character building was everything. I will carry Dan and Vadim with me forever.


Take a look at my Male/Male Romance Book Blog:


Profile Image for Jen.
229 reviews
August 10, 2012
This book should come with the following warning labels:

1) Be prepared for an emotional roller coaster the likes of which you won't believe until you're in the middle of the ride, yet again for the bazillionth time at the top of an 85°, 200 foot drop looking down and screaming, "WHY THE FUCK DID I THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA AGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIN?!"

2) The main couple has an open relationship. If that idea bothers you at all, this story is NOT for you. Trust me.

3) Make sure you have a therapist and/or support group to get through this read. You WILL need it.

And now... WARNING, spoilers ahead! In abundance! (I did try to hide the worst of them, though.)

First, a few general comments. I gave this story 5 stars not because it's the most brilliantly crafted book I've ever read. It's not. Because while there are some truly BEAUTIFUL fucking lines of prose in this story, it's choppy and disjointed in a lot of places, needs several hundred pages cut out of it, and really, I could have done with a lot less of the man-whoring.

BUT, it deserves 5 stars because it is not often that a book makes me feel the extreme depth and breadth of emotion that this book did. A book that can provoke that level of emotional response deserves 5 fucking stars.

I loved and hated just about everyone in this story at one point or another (well, there was one character I only hated and never loved - more on him later). And, there were many points when you're helplessly standing by, watching the characters implode; then I just hated the damned authors, because even though the characters' actions were painful, they made too much sense.

So yeah. This book really is an epic, very human emotional journey, and believe me, by the end you feel every one of the 25 years it covers.


If you had told me (and someone sort of did, eh Lisa?!) while I was still in the first 150 pages or so of this story that I would end up loving both of these men, I would have said, "Bitch, puh-lease. They are both batshit crazy and reprehensible human beings." Rapist meets torturer, neither of them even remotely valuing the many lives they were taking during a violent guerilla war? Not exactly a match made in heaven.

So what kept me going, you might wonder?

The breakneck speed of the action got me hooked immediately, and despite my initial repulsion by both of them, I was fascinated by the descriptions of the war they were fighting... as horrible as they were. Having majored in history in college, I found it very interesting, as the Cold War is one period that I am ashamed to say I don't know much about.

But somewhere between 2/3 and 3/4 of the way through this arc, I realized I did, in fact, love them both. I loved Dan for his passion and his brashness, I loved Vadim for his poetry and his depth, and I loved the way a relationship evolved out of the recklessness of their addiction to one another. Lust slowly became tempered by love, violence by tenderness, but they never lost the dark and dangerous edge that drew them to one another from the beginning.

There were so many moments when I felt gut-wrenching fear for one or the other or both of them. There were moments that made me laugh, that turned me on, that made me tear up, that made me snarl. There were moments when the writing left me in awe at the beauty of its phrasing, and envious because I doubt I'll ever be able to pull off writing something so earthy and sexy in its strange but absolutely fitting mixture of profanity and eloquence. Much like Nabakov, actually, just much more graphically erotic - it made me wonder if Nabakov is one of Voinov's influences.

Favorite part of "Soldiers":

"Mercenaries I & II"

This is when my aforementioned warnings really start to apply. Hold on to your motherfucking BDUs, kids, because here we REALLY go. Stock up on your Kleenex, alcoholic beverage(s) of choice, Xanax, and chocolate because trust me, you'll need it.

This arc goes from 0 to 120 IMMEDIATELY, so you are instantly knocked off balance and really kept off balance through the whole 1400+ pages. Yes, 1400 pages. The thing is, I learned quickly not to trust the brief moments of respite (even though I reeeeeally wanted to), because the second I started to relax a little, WHABAM - another traumatic event detonated in my face. In some ways, I felt much like Vadim must have in the solitary confinement the KGB inflicts on him - you sort of become conditioned to constantly question what you believe to be true about what's happening, both in the story's physical action AND in the emotional through-line.

"Mercs" also marks a VERY distinct shift in the focus, 'voice,' and flow of the story. Whereas "Soldiers" is a fairly tight story (erm, no pun intended XD) and focuses solely on the relationship between Dan and Vadim (meaning, all of Vadim’s 'ass on the side' is pretty much kept off-camera), that is NOT true in "Mercs," and all of a sudden, the story feels like it’s become a gay orgy free-for-all.

Now don't get me wrong - I usually enjoy all the hot m/m action I can get. But it’s a very jarring and sudden shift, which caused me (and other readers I know) to feel sort of emotionally distanced from the main couple’s love story arc for a large majority of "Mercs." I would be absolutely fascinated by a man's take on this, because everyone who I have talked to about it were women, and I think women (for the most part - I am aware this is a generalization) tend to view commitment and intimacy in a very different way than men do.

I actually didn't really mind that they have an open relationship, but it's the change in the way the story is being told that causes that feeling, I think. At least for me. If Dan’s extracurricular sexploits had been kept off-camera, as Vadim’s had been in “Soldiers,” and focus had stayed in on them as tightly as it had before, I don’t think I would have minded nearly as much.

And listen, I get it, Dan - you are finally exploring your sexuality at 40, something most people do in their early 20s. I don't blame him for that. Nor do I blame him for the fact that Vadim lied to him when he asked him if he was really okay with it, and Vadim told him he was. I just didn't necessarily want to read about him blowing, fucking, and being fucked and blown by half of the base camp(s) in Kuwait. ESPECIALLY when he and Vadim had just reconnected after a very traumatic 2 1/2 year separation, which included: incarceration, a false charge of treason, torture, blackmail, a mock execution, and abandonment.

Towards the end of "Mercs II", I began to understand why things felt so choppy. I think this is what happens when you have 2 different authors – their voices are fighting each other. There are large chunks of “Mercs” when I felt like stylistically it fit seamlessly with the story that started in “Soldiers” (especially when they are in Yugoslavia), but there are even larger chunks when I was like, “Is this even the same story? Are these the same characters? Because it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it.” And those shifts would come on very suddenly, and jar me straight back out of the story again, and it would take me awhile to reconnect again with the emotional through-line.

And honestly, it could have benefitted from some serious editing. They could easily have chopped a few hundred pages out of “Mercs” by taking out the constant repetition of their backstory that happens through conversations with various characters. While I understand those characters don’t know Dan and Vadim’s long history, WE DO. We’ve lived the whole thing with them. That’s when 'fade to black's REALLY come in handy. And I also sort of resented them using it as an extended pick-up line - they were both guilty of this, and to me is sort of cheapened the beauty of the story that unfolded in "Soldiers."

There are also a whole slew of characters (read: fuck buddies) that are introduced in "Mercs," some of whom I absolutely LOVE (Hooch and Matt, Markus and Dima), some of whom I HATE (well, okay, there was just the one, that smarmy, annoying shithead Jean, who, borrowing the words of a friend, I wished would just step on a grenade and get himself blown out of the story), and many of whom I just got bored with and wondered why the hell we spent so much time on them (Beauvais... um, WTF? Who cares about this guy?!).

I don't think any of what I just said makes any sense, and I'm rambling, but I don't know what else to say about it other than writing all that wore me out. LOL.

At the end of the day, each reader will likely interpret these two 'friendships' very differently, so take all that with a grain of salt.

Favorite part of "Mercenaries":


And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse than all the shit you just went through in "Mercs I & II"… IT DOES. For me personally, what they go through at the beginning of "Vets" is the most devastating part of their whole 25 year journey, even more devastating than

The hardest part to swallow is that I totally got it. On BOTH of their sides. Dan feels like his life is over, Vadim is hurt, resentful, and angry that Dan has shut him out. Both of their reactions make sense, and you can see this shit coming in slow motion to hit the fan well before impact. But actually reading it was the kind of thing that gets me snotty-rabid hyena-sobbing.

I felt so exhausted at that point, like I had almost maxed out my capacity to cope with any more. What kept me trucking was that I knew I was getting so close to finishing and I just HAD to know what happened. AND, I had the added benefit of knowing they would get an HEA (yep, they really do, folks). And once Vadim forces Dan out of his rock-bottom pit of despair, things start to get much, MUCH better. Sweeter and more tender all around as the guys both learn the true value of commitment (not to be mistaken for monogamy), family, and friendship. Wisdom comes with age, and they both grow so much wiser.

So, "Veterans" in many ways comes full circle back to "Soldiers" - a narrowed down focus back to just Dan and Vadim's partnership. I suspect this comes from the fact that both the first and the last arc cover much larger time spans than "Mercs" does.

I did feel that the ending was satisfying, if somewhat anti-climactic (pun possibly intended).

But what I felt most of all was both relief and sadness that it was time to exit this fucking crazy emotional roller coaster. I will miss Dan and Vadim. A lot. Because I did fall in love with them and their story, despite everything.

Favorite parts of "Veterans":

And just remember... "Lions may die, but friendship doesn't."

*Special thanks to Lisa, who not only recommended this story to me, but was my therapist and support group of one while I read it. ;-)
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
December 16, 2021
A 25 year romance of Dan and Vadim~

This book was all encompassing, exquisitely and masterfully written, and at times I found it to be difficult to read; yet still absolutely beautiful to read..

I found this book(s) to be a powerful, intense heart-pounding love story of Dan and Vadim, their love begins with a brutal start and somehow mocks normalcy. Take, hate, and revenge, true enemies, and then love.

The Beginning~ Revolved Around the Beautiful Mountains of Afghanistan~ however, in this book you have to trek through those mountains per se~ and delve into the bad to get to the good.

Book 1~ The strength of Vadim and Dan's love began. It was heart-wrenchingly brutal in this book, yet it unfolded the beginnings of a truly breathtaking love affair.

Book 2~ Dan lacked true compassion, he is the reason this book ALMOST lost a star, he was a force to be reckon with. And he was just mean and difficult for me to like, and so close for me to hate. But, in the end, he still won a piece of my heart

Book 3 ~ Dan's redemption, yes the writer gave balance to the love of Dan and Vadim~ Vadim was in control and he was a force to be reckon with when his heart and love was threatened.

The Veterans~ Home at last , and we delved a bit into what happen to them. Such a beautiful closure.

This was my longest book ever read, to date, I read this on my computer (free). The Vashtan Edition of 3338 pages . A whew, this was one heck of a ride. My favorite character of course is Vadim. So I will read ANY amount of pages involving him. But, the bottom line best part about this book was that it span of 25 years and offers an unforgettable love affair. A rare well written find in LGBTQ books. I loved it so much I went to lulu and purchased all the paperbacks. Here is the site if you want the paperbacks too.

The pic above~ The Beautiful Mountains of Afghanistan, through all of the ugliness, there is indeed beauty to be found, as I have found within the pages of this book~
Profile Image for Mel.
330 reviews510 followers
November 30, 2010
It's brutal and beautiful and hopelessly absorbing and addictive.

Special Forces is one of the best stories I have read till date and it deserves the title of 'epic story' with ease.
This was a truly exhilarating roller coaster ride and I don't think I will ever be able to forget Dan and Vadim.

Soldiers review *****

Mercenaries Part I review *****

Mercenaries Part II review *****

Veterans review ****
Profile Image for The Flooze.
747 reviews248 followers
December 1, 2009
Epic is the perfect descriptor for Special Forces. This is not just M/M, not just erotica, but a fierce, sweeping love story that spans over 20 years. Reading it, I couldn't help but be utterly transported. The emotions are incredible, raw and intense. I ran through the gamut: rocking with laughter, sighing in anguish, crying openly--connecting with the whole host of characters in a way that very rarely happens. These strong, passionate, fucked-up men feel so incredibly real, it's as though all of their emotions are my own. I ached for them, cringed at what they endured, and felt proud at what they accomplished. Every moment of this saga is so well-wrought, so perfect and authentic in its execution. The plot is tightly-woven and impressive. Time and again it hits new crescendos of anger and aggression, love and lust, with unexpected twists and turns that always add and never detract. It's the kind of work that cuts right to the bone, and I often had to pause to compose myself or contemplate, only to hungrily return to reading and wishing it would never end.

I bawled my way through much of the final chapter, but once finished, I was left with such a deep feeling of satisfaction and contentment--and with a desire to read it all over again to remember just how far these men had come.
Profile Image for Simsala.
524 reviews60 followers
March 8, 2012
An epic love story over 25 years of war and a modicum of personal peace,Special Forces is a great reading experience that shouldn`t be missed.
I immensely enjoyed going along with Dan and Vadim on their journey but on the other hand I was glad this was "just" fiction...in RL I would prefer to walk the other side of the street...

"What a fucked up love-affair of violence we are..."
- Vadim Krasnorada -
Profile Image for Lenore.
596 reviews366 followers
September 21, 2011
Prayer beads, energy bars, boots, scars, blades, and a bullet.

The most intense, excruciating, emotional, challenging, painful, and at the same time transforming, rewarding, fulfilling, and utterly beautiful journey of my life.

Dan and Vadim have changed me forever.

Profile Image for Monika .
1,997 reviews30 followers
February 29, 2012
I'm not sure even where to begin, I thought sleeping on it before I write a review would help. It didn't.

I guess I'll start by saying I read all four books as one, in my opinion if you are able this is the way it should be read. It's an extremely emotional journey that I'm so glad I took. Special Forces has become my all time favorite series and I can't see anything coming remotely close to it.

Everyday it was a roller coaster ride of emotion that at times was hard to deal with. I found myself crying tears of sadness, then tears of happiness there were times I wanted to throw my Kindle at the wall I was so angry and other times I just needed to hold it tight! *sigh*

There are no words I could use to adequately describe the experience that reading this beautiful story will give you. There is a fine line between love/hate and friends/enemies that this author was able to walk with finesse.

There are parts of this series that are brutal and disturbing but the strength and love of these two characters, Dan and Vadim, carry you through an unbelievable story.

A Must read or re-read!
Profile Image for Cristopher.
55 reviews13 followers
June 5, 2016
An epic story of love caught in an unforgiving war.. Such a masterpiece!

Enemies turned to lover when destiny made their paths crossed that night. A reckless act of rape to satiate the hunger of lust.

That bloomed into seething hatred.

Then imposed fear.. Turned to battle of dominance..

Until the unexpected happened.

Dancing around the fire, playing a dangerous game with the enemy.. Neither want to back down.

Driving each other wild, lost in the unexpected intensity of desire, gripped with lust, hungry for touch..

Soon it can no longer be hidden. In the midst of war and chaos, something stronger dawned on them..

Knives, guns, bullets, risks, wars didn't even stand a chance.

They found something they didn't know applicable for cold stoic men, soul drained by war, every inch of body trained to kill.

Yet, in the arms of each other.. Opponent. Rival. Enemies. They found love. Reducing all their instincts, trainings, abilities into shattered pieces.

War brought them together, kept them together, prisoned them together.. In the middle of it, love thrived, strived, bloomed..

But even war, has its ending - will it be the end of their love too?

Dan&Vadim, you guys are one of a hell, badass from moon and back couple!


Soldiers. War. Guns. Bullets. Knives. Danger. Risks. Sex. Love.

It's got one of the most beautiful, bizarre development of relationship ever! From enemies to lovers. And no, not that kind of clichés we normally get. These authors showed how it's done.

Like watching a flower unfolds its petals, blooming slowly until you caught yourself mesmerized in its full display of splendor.

5 days of blissful reading. Salute to the authors.

5 damn stars!


Profile Image for Rachel.
394 reviews64 followers
March 23, 2016
As a series it gets a four star. Yes, I bashed the hell out of Mercenaries: Part II and Mercenaries: Part I and Veterans slid by with a mediocre three stars, but Soldiers is a prize.

Soldiers delivers the ultimate experience in the enemies to lovers trope. The challenge for the authors to bridge a love story over ten years that begins with violent crimes between enemies, progresses to an uneasy trust, then to a lustful need and eventually a passionate love, seemed like an insurmountable feat. But they did it. They achieved it by twisting an undertone of harnessed violence slowly into a mutually relatable human understanding. Marked by believability and ease of prose, Soldiers is a must read.

However, the sequels are merely optional. Voinov edited Soldiers so that it can be a stand alone book. Some of you may want to take advantage of that. When one delivers a book as phenomenal as Soldiers, to do sequels is brazen. I believe Mercenaries and Veterans could have benefited from keeping the characters’ personalities more even keel. As well, had the essential elements that were so successful for Soldiers been carried forward, like a single thread woven through all three books, I would find the books much more cohesive as a series. Not only did the plot become disjointed from Soldiers, but the characters became disjointed from themselves. And this is where Mercenaries and Veterans suffered. You can read my individual assessments of each book on their respective pages for further explanation. I am not saying don’t proceed with Mercenaries and Veterans but if you proceed don’t expect Dan and Vadim to continue to be recognizable to who they were in Soldiers and do expect the plot to become down right sensational - in a soap opera-esque way not in a cool cult classic way.

In my experience thus far, The Administration, Captive Prince, In the Company of Shadows and Special Forces are the quintessential reading classics for the m/m genre lover. Whether you love them or hate them, they seem to be the cannon of the genre. Don’t miss out on Special Forces: Soldiers. It would be a crying shame to do so. The sequels are optional.

A Romantic Notion Reviews

Best M/M Series Discussion Group
Profile Image for Starr (AKA Starrfish) Rivers.
898 reviews260 followers
June 21, 2020
To be fair, I didn't read the whole thing. I stopped at Mercenaries Part I, wisely listened to other reviewers' advice and didn't read on. (Tho the books are sitting on my Kindle).

But I do know enough about my own tastes to write this overall review and based it on what I've read in the first oh...2000 pages! without having read the last 1500 pages.

See my reviews here:

Overall, this is less a review and more my thoughts on the characters.

I think the only person who truly fell in love and stayed in love, even tho it's a desperate, obsessive love, is Vadim. I think he's the only character (with maybe the exception of Matt and Hooch - tho I skipped them on purpose) who understands what it means to love. Whether it's the familial type, the comrade in arms type, the sexual type... I think he simply found the wrong person to love. But then, what's that saying? We don't get to choose who we love.

Dan. I disliked him quite a bit in Mercenaries Part I, and that was without all the other BS he did in subsequent books. I think the feelings he has for Vadim was never the kind of feelings Vadim had for him. I think he couldn't be faithful to Vadim and never has intention to do so because he finally discovered his sexuality and wanted to explore it out the wazoo. Dan is utterly selfish. He may understand a thing or 2 about friendship, but not about love. As demonstrated time and time again how he never stops to think or can never appreciate how Vadim feels. He can't and he doesn't really want to. DAN IS AN ABSOLUTE ASS.

It's finny that Vadim is supposed to be the lion and Dan is the tiger. I suppose that's only because of their coloring. Actually, it should be the reverse. Because lions shag anything that moves, more gregarious and tigers are more solitary, stalking.

If I read the rest of the series, I think I'd totally hate Dan and would have no sympathy for him in any way.

So when there are readers who say this is the most epic of love stories. bullshit. Maybe Soldiers was. MAYBE. But it went downhill from there. But then, multiple partners when there's "love" involved has ALWAYS turned me off. I was OK in book 1, but not the rest of it. Not when Dan's actions HURT the man he claims to love.

Will never be reading these books again. Once is more than enough
Profile Image for Valentina Heart.
Author 23 books300 followers
September 12, 2010
This book was not what I first expected. I never read much of the reviews or impressions before I've actually finished reading, just enough to get a vague idea what it's about and if it is any good. So nothing spoiled it for me and I was able to enjoy the story to the very end.
It's long, and I don't mean just the word count. The few years they share seem more like a lifetime, filled with horrors of the war, loneliness and eventually love. But you don't get tired of it all, it's like a story that keeps on giving and at moments it seems as if it could go on forever.

There is action that grips you as you wait to see what new scars each of them will receive, and then there is the sex that is always inventive and interesting except when it is tender and loving.

It took me a while to read it, and I cried for the most of the last hundred pages, but it is a book I warmly recommend. You can't do nothing less but love the characters, feel their pain and get through it with them.
Profile Image for  ~*~Princess Nhya~*~.
982 reviews7 followers
June 20, 2020
Okay this one was a hard read for me. It's taken me months to finish this book. Stemming from my own feelings about this story to technical difficulties with my kindle. But finally I am able to express why I only give this one and a half stars, and why I continued to read it.

1. The writing.. Too choppy. There were times often I might add, where it felt like I was reading an instruction manual on how to install a stereo.

2. Sometimes I was confused about who was talking. Vadim or Dan. For two men who are very different, it was weird that there were times I couldn't tell their voices apart.

3. I just could not bring myself to care about these two over all. There were moments when these two broke my heart. I got them. I really did. I just couldn't "get" them together. Which leads me to number 4... What initially started this story and brought these two men together in the first place. I could not get passed that one. Nor could I see how a man who has been heterosexual all his life suddenly finding himself to have conflicting emotions (and loving it at times) about a man who is not only homosexual, his enemy in arms, but also the very man who violated him in the worst way the first time they encountered one another. Maybe this is due to the fact that I am a woman and this would not fly with me. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that this just did not read as a likely unfolding event occuring between these two men. Especially since you are given a very clear view of the type of men these two are.

Overall this story is brutal. So brutal that you need another word for it. There are heartfelt moments here and there that give you a clear view of these men, especially Vadim. But as much as I grew to love Vadim & Dan, watching these two together caused me to grow weary. And beg for these two to just walk away from one another. By the end of this one I had pretty much made up my mind that I could not continue this series. As much as I wanted to love this story enough to perservere through the entire series, I just could not.
(I'm sorry Lenore)

I personally would not recommend this read. But I see that the reviews are down the middle. I feel this is definitely one of those reads/series where you either love it or hate it. So it's entirely up to you rather you should tackle this one or not. I will say this, it's very hardcore. Not for the faint of heart. So please come prepared.
Profile Image for Amara.
108 reviews10 followers
September 12, 2010
This was my first experience reading any kind of m/m and was definately the most raw and intense thing I've ever read! This book altered my entire world view!

I laughed, I cried, I loved them and at times hated them. I read the entire thing in less than a week. I was so intense, I couldn't stop! Couldn't sleep and even called in sick to work to read it!

It's a fierce love story between 2 soliders on conflicting sides. It's violent, at times disturbing, always raw and intense. The journey of these men is incredible. I was surprised the most by the authors ability to make me fall in love with Vadim, a violent and serial rapist in the begining of the book. In the begining I loved Dan, but found myself taking sides with Vadim more and more. By the end, Vadim was hands down my favorite! I loved them both all thru Soldiers, but really started siding with Vadim from Mercineries on. I had a hard time with Dan's having sex with anything that walks. I never did warm up to Jean, I think he was my least favorite character in the whole story. Hooch on the other hand was awesome. I absolutely loved Hooch and Matt as well.

You can find my expanded blog review here:
Special Forces Revew
Profile Image for Marquesate.
Author 19 books276 followers
October 9, 2011
This is the original version, which was edited by both writers at the time of writing and first publication. To say it was "not" edited is factually incorrect.

However, as of October 2011, more than two years after finishing Special Forces, I was able to read Soldiers again. Yes, I would edit this first part to tighten up the writing and the flow, which took us co-authors a while to gel, and to thus smooth the language, but I won't.

Special Forces, its original version of the time of first publication, will remain as it is for me: a - sometimes perhaps a little rough - diamond. In many ways this is the only real and true version, for it came to live with blood and tears, and endless hours - this epic dominated, if not governed, three years of my life.

Special Forces is part of the past, and this version will always remain as it is: still breathing with every word its original rawness, brutality, emotional intensity and the echo of every single punch that was never pulled.

For more information: http://www.marquesate.org/special-for...

Please feel free to read the version of Soldiers that Vashtan edited on their own, if you'd like to. It's available for free as well, I believe.


Profile Image for Celine.
222 reviews19 followers
March 3, 2012
What a beautiful beautiful story... I don't think it's possible I'll ever read something as good as Special Forces. Is there something as good out there? I hope so because otherwise my reading days have dulled a bit. Would I have it any other way? Hell no! I'm so happy I read this. I'm so grateful these 2 writers managed to write something so beautiful ...so heartbreaking. (really: Thank you!!) I'm getting all emotional again just by writing this review and it's been a week since I finished it.

It's a story about 2 men but to me it's the most profound lovestory of every human being. The hidden ugliness of love, the beauty found in small everyday things... It's all there and this is not just happening to Dan & Vadim, no, you as a reader get the experience of a lifetime! Feeling the same things, getting excited, giddy at times, hopeful, laughing... you feel it in every little inch of your body and soul. The emptiness, the despair so livid, eating away at your guts... no niceties, not holding back... in your face, whether you want it or not. And by God, you want it to never ever end!

Profile Image for Gitte TotallyBookedBlog.
1,931 reviews939 followers
October 19, 2012
Special Forces , Mercenaries and Veterans by Aleksandr Voinov and Marquesate

(This review encompasses all the books in the Special Forces series.)

When I first sat down to try and write how I felt after reading this series, no words came. I knew I had just read something amazing. I often say that if a book makes me experience extreme emotions I know I have read the best there is. Well until I read book one in this series I never knew that I was capable of a book to affect me as much as this one did; as the whole series did.
I knew I had read something genius something I will probably never experience again. I hold my hand up honestly and say that this series goes beyond everything I have ever read in my 37 years of life and I hesitate to say that I doubt I will ever feel as strongly about a story and 2 characters like I do now.

This series has affected me like no other and it has changed me forever. As I write this I actually feel the emotions as strongly about this story as I felt when reading it weeks ago.
So believe me when I say, I don't think I am going to be able to write any kind of adequate or eloquent review that does this book any justice, it’s the honest truth.

My fan girl love affair with the brilliant Mr. Voinov continues no matter how much this genius of a man tries to test me, my sanity and my feelings.

This series is the EPIC 25 year journey of Vadim Krasnorada and Dan McFadyen; two enemies who meet in the line of duty during war in Afghanistan. Their lives crossing paths spanning years. Their story consumed me to the point life ceased to exist. I could not let them go.

To quote and use the words of Mr. Voinov:

"They eat you up, swallow you whole, digest and churn you around until their loneliness spits you back out again."

Their story messed with my head and my heart like no other before; it is brutal & tender, ugly & beautiful, painful & hopeful.

I had intense feelings of despair, hatred, happiness, at times I felt sick to my stomach and forgot to breathe, other times I laughed in relief. My emotions were all over the place. I was so confused with how I felt. I have never cried through a whole book before. But at times I was sat reading with silent tears that just didn’t stop.

Dan & Vadim’s journey is filled with revenge and torture; the aggression and lust between two powerful men turning into so much more on a journey that I both hated and loved.

Such perseverance, beauty and compassion I fell in love, no matter how irrational that felt to me at times, with both Dan and Vadim. My heart felt like it was going to burst with how much I loved these characters; still does when I think of them.

No two men’s love has surely ever been tested as much as Dan & Vadim’s. They have had just about everything anyone could imagine thrown at them. The logic said they shouldn’t have been together in the first place so to battle like they did through the ugliness of war, the two sides of conflict, the near death, the obscure obstacles, I was turned inside out….they captured me completely and their hold on me will never let up.

Their journey is not pretty, it is raw, ugly and kicks you where it hurts and oh does it hurt, but it is a genius work of beautiful basic human emotional art. I was stripped of all superficial emotions right down to the raw and the pure, layer by layer as I moved through their story. I was slowly seduced by the awe-inspiring words that had me absorbed in the story to the point of being an emotional nervous wreck.

I could sit here and write and write about how amazing Special Forces is, but finding the right words is proving too difficult and I would be here forever, it needs to be experienced.
After “living” 25 years with Dan & Vadim where I went through: War, Rape, Torture, Killing, Lies & Deception along with the ultimate strength of Love and the true meaning of Home, I was exhausted, overwhelmed but I was oh so satisfied at the end. I felt like I had been in a nasty fall and was picked up and lovingly put back together.

I actually feel honoured to have been allowed on this journey written by Mr. Voinov and Marquesate. A journey that will stay with me forever. Vadim and Dan changed my life and they took a huge part of my heart, that will always be theirs.

“You’re my home. I will find you.”

“I will... find you. If it’s the last thing I’ll do, I’ll come back. Nothing will stop me.”

“If I touched you, that’d be it.” Dan shook his head, “Damn, how the fuck am I going to make you understand?” Pleading, almost. “You are everything, don’t you get it? You are the Afghan mountains, the damned red dust, the endless sky. You were my home, and more often than not, also my reason. You are unlike all the others, unlike anyone I shag, because when I touch you, it’s not just a touch, it’s eleven years of heaven and hell.”

“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.”

Now, for those of you who feel strong enough to go on this journey you are able to download it free, yes I am shaking my head as I type free, from Aleks website:

Profile Image for AGandyGirl.
687 reviews1 follower
September 17, 2021

I am done. My heavens what a journey and one I honestly would like to start over. I so want to reread book one again to see how this all began. Not gonna lie, this one had some very emotional highs and lows but these two were a force and regardless of what occured they were bound to each other for eternity.

Unbelievable roller coaster of emotions and a book coma that will last a while.
Profile Image for authorkcwilliams.
78 reviews19 followers
July 28, 2014
It's not everyday that readers get to be part of something so profoundly special that it leaves them wondering...where do I go from here? Knowing every book will pale in comparison, knowing you may never reach that same high again...
After reading Special Forces, I am left feeling both exhilarated and bereft at the thought that it is over. Yes, I realize that there are still three other novels about these two men but in truth, what made this reading experience so monumental was watching Vadim and Dan's incendiary relationship progress from something so dark and evil to a love that is absolute and gut-wrenchingly beautiful. I am actually speechless that this novel was free. Is that even possible?? I have never read a free book of this caliber and may think twice before passing the next one up...who knows what you might find. This book has soared to the top of my All Time Fav's bookshelf and I recommend everyone read it. I guess the only thing I can comfort myself with now is that I can re-read it again and again and again!
Profile Image for Bookwatcher .
746 reviews120 followers
November 2, 2011
Oh GOD! It was HARD but I finish it!
I can't write a review... I must think... I must give a rest to my brain.... Quick few words, I loved it, and hate too. The reality of soldiers in a war is soooooo cruel! Maybe that's why I love/hate it. You would never want to read about cruelty that is VERY realistic no? One thing is read in a news paper about afganistan was, or any other military action.... Other is read a book, with so many terrible things... Knowing, it's a fiction book, but VERY close to reality.... Very VERY close...

ASAP a full review.
And now... I must go on... Reading Special Forces - Mercenaries Part I
Profile Image for Mel.
330 reviews510 followers
October 27, 2011
It's brutal and beautiful and hopelessly absorbing and addictive.

Special Forces is one of the best stories I have read till date and it deserves the title of 'epic story' with ease.
This was a truly exhilarating roller coaster ride and I don't think I will ever be able to forget Dan and Vadim.

Soldiers review *****

Mercenaries Part I review *****

Mercenaries Part II review *****

Veterans review ****
Profile Image for Jeffrey.
Author 1 book13 followers
February 13, 2012
I had reservations about reading this title...man am I glad I read this!!! I can't review this title until I've finished the second Merc's , but I would highly recommend it with the caveat that it is not for the faint of heart. There's brutal violence, sex and emotional tug of "war" going on that will leave you wanting to turn the next page.
A Mos Def good read.

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