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Patience, a Steady Hand

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Arthur/Eames (Inception Fanfic)
821 A.D. Arthur is in the nightmare business. Eames is a thief, a liar, and versatile with a pen.
Words:43502 complete
Art by ctbn60

131 pages, ebook

First published March 13, 2011

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5 stars
28 (45%)
4 stars
23 (37%)
3 stars
7 (11%)
2 stars
3 (4%)
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0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
Profile Image for  ~Preeti~.
675 reviews
February 7, 2022
3.5 🌟 This Arthur/Eames(Inception) fanfiction was recommended to me by @Hibby, a while back. It's set around 821AD, with Arthur as Viking raider and Eames as monk turned slave. It has only 130 pages and though the story is historical, the writing is pretty modern and easy to read. It's also not necessary that you ship this couple.

There are some dub-con scenes but I feel they are fitted with the story as a whole and do not look forced. Now, I will not say this is one of the best fanfic or books I have read with the 'Captor-Captee' trope.' But, after a long time, I have read fanfic from A03 and I am completely impressed.

The setting and writing are good, the story defies whatever expectations I have from a fic with a slavery trope. But, I loved the slow-burn relationship development between the couple. And, the setting is pretty rarely found in MM romances(the last book I read with the setting was Brothers of the wild North).
Profile Image for Kat.
940 reviews
June 17, 2019
Unexpectedly, this turned out to be a gem of a fic.

There is something very understated and quiet about Helenish' style. They take their time to unhurriedly and tenderly build up the dynamics between the abducted monk Eames and his captor, the viking-ish plundering pillager Arthur. Although in theory this is a slave/captive story that includes non con and forced seduction, there is nothing brutal and harsh about it. Instead, the focus is on the two men overcoming the boundaries that come with their roles, and awkwardly trying to reach some sort of understanding without mentioning their feelings.

For me, this resulted in a gently flowing, almost hypnotic, and very addictive reading experience. I finished this story long after midnight, and will throw all the kudos from all the devices at Helenish. Recommended!
Profile Image for Rachel.
394 reviews64 followers
March 25, 2016
So I read this Monday and Tuesday (It is Wednesday as I write this) and I can say it is really good ... but I don't know how much I really liked it. Here are my conflicting thoughts on it.

1) Helenish is fucking awesome. This fic didn't sound like my thing, but she wrote one of my top favorite Stereks - In Quiet, A Favor - so I gave this a try. The prose are beautiful - nearly poetic. The psychological insight is perceptive. The voice is solemn, but commanding. The story telling is top of the line. And to steal Loe's assessment - Helenish's writing is simply hypnotic.

2) It is a lovely story fueled with this quietly controlled angst threaded through it. The characters are not as likable as they are human. There is a genuineness in the characters and their story that is so humanizing. If this fic were a painting, Andrew Wyeth would be the artist. This is verbal magic realism.

3) It defies the slave fic cliché. Captive Prince: Volume One, In Allegiance - add this to the list of slave fics that break the mold and flesh out not only characters of depth, but also examine a psychological dynamic that redefines archetypes.

1) Arthur and Eames fan fiction? - I think not. For me going into this fic with the Arthur / Eames dynamic in my mind was quite detracting. I saw inception. Great movie. More of a Cobb fan, but don't think I didn't notice Tom Hardy. I quite liked Eames. Indifferent on JGL/ Arthur, but that is besides the point. If this had been posted as original fic, I would have enjoyed it more. If it had been posted as Marcus/ Esca (Eagle of the Ninth - anyone else get this feeling?) fic - I could have easily went with that. But if this is really Arthur / Eames fan fiction (set in a complete AU) then they are written horribly - totally OOC. All that it did labeling this as Arthur / Eames fic is put the image of Hardy and Levitt in my head - and I could have done without that.

2) Around the 75% mark the it became ... exhausting. The quality didn't decline in any manner, but it was like I was twirling my finger in the "wrap it up already" motion - still engaged, but already contemplating on what to read next on my tbr.

3) It didn't always make sense. I was lost in the hypnotic writing and then I would replay a scene in my head and think, "Whaaat?" - some of the nuances of the characters just didn't reconcile with their actions for me. Nothing major, but these silly pitfalls I would expect in a Connie Mason dime grab - just detracted from the depth at the core of this fic.

In all this fic is totally worth the time it takes to read it. The ending is tidy, but I liked it. It gave me a peaceful, satisfied feeling after enduring the anxiousness of a violence that threated to erupt from the edges of the fic on every page.
Profile Image for Day-thief.
401 reviews11 followers
May 3, 2015
Helenish turns out to be quite the author! And the setting of this story is rather unusual for a fanfic (considering the movie Inception its based on):
In 821 A.D., a monk gets captured and brought to the "North" (Denmark? Norway?) by the warriors ransacking his monastery. He starts to live with Arthur, his new master.

In a way, this reminded me of "Brothers of the Wild North Sea", only the roles are reversed. Here, we leave England and experience 'Viking' village life through the eyes of Eames, the young monk.

I really enjoyed how both Arthur and Eames are transformed through their relationship. How they both work through the minefields of a slave-master dependency. How Arthur redeems himself. How the author avoids the overly predictable plot points. And how this isn't a dark 'dark' fic.

I would have liked a plot involving more of the side characters. Because the little we get to see of the inhabitants of Arthur's village, is well done and begs for more.
Profile Image for Reflection.
355 reviews62 followers
August 21, 2015
Irresistibly good

I meant only to check out a few paragraphs and instead I found myself completely immersed in the beautifully stark descriptions and the unfolding story of Eames captured in a Viking raid and taken as a thrall by Arthur.

Told in the third person and present tense it deftly explores the uneasy relationship between these two men as they come to understand each other. I was captured by the laconic and almost hypnotic prose.

The book explores the dynamics of differing cultural views and expectations and the underlying rage that Eames keeps mostly contained about the loss of his freedom and the brutality of the raid on his monastery.

The brilliance for me lies in as much that is left unsaid as the men begin to grasp one another's language and nuance and address the balance of power between them under the scrutiny of the rest of the village.

"I wanted you," Arthur says. "I—work, as hard as I can. I do everything that’s asked of me. I wanted—something. for myself. And that’s you." He pulls in a rough breath..."An—ungrateful, disobedient, insolent, smart-mouthed slave who cannot cook, and who will lie abed until the sun is high in the sky if he’s not kicked out of it."...

I was entirely enthralled by the depth and storytelling; of the complexity of the two flawed protagonists and their life together.

The tale was far from predictable and I was enraptured by the shifts and twists in it.

I gather this was written as fanfic, I struggled a little with the names and I have only a hazy memory of the film on which it is based; and so I read this simply as a standalone historical novel. My delight with it immense.
Profile Image for karlakolumna.
502 reviews43 followers
November 3, 2015
3.5 stars.

Slave and master fiction, no doubt, there's a fine line between gross, bad, wrong, disgusting and oh-so-good here. Really well written, but disturbing. Not sure whether I can see how love can develop between master and slave, especially considering the murder and mayhem and the rape in the beginning, though.

Well. As you can see: ambivalent feelings all around. Nevertheless, an interesting, captivating and well-written piece of fanfiction.
Profile Image for Nina ( picturetalk321 ).
509 reviews30 followers
November 8, 2021
One of the best fics I have ever read. I have read this so often I can recite whole chunks and it gets me every time. The UST, the deep thoughtfulness about enslavement, the angst, the slow slow burn, the symmetry of how their relationship flips, the unexpected HEA, the ethnographic details — not a hair out of place, not one wrong step. Helenish’s prose is spare and allusive as always, somewhat less so than in her fic set in modern times. Here a delightful archaic flavour tempers the spareness. And nobody does masculinity and non-direct communication of feelings better than Helenish.

ETA Nov 2021: This story never fails. It is one of my all-time greats, perhaps the greatest, the one I'd rescue from an oncoming tsunami. Some of the language feels a bit dated and that is interesting in itself. The ethical heart is true; the build up delicious; the show not tell out of this world; the dialogue unbelievably good; and the pairing, the world building, the carefully judged use of minuscules -- all such an utterly readable reading pleasure.
Profile Image for Hibby.
32 reviews1 follower
August 13, 2021
I wish there was something similar to this. I've read it so many times now and my search for something like it has been fruitless.
Profile Image for Ellie.
336 reviews48 followers
May 16, 2017
Here is the link to this fanfic: http://archiveofourown.org/works/1700...
Patience, a Steady Hand was recommended to me because of its similarities to Captive Prince.

5/16/2017 It's been a while since I wrote a full review, so I'll just messily jump into the fray of things.

Confession time: I un-friended (on Goodreads) my one and only real-life friend that I had added on this site because I read this book. It was just too weird knowing that I had read this book, which seems a bit taboo, and also knowing that she would be reading my thoughts on it.
I mean, I know that's the point of Goodreads, but I like sharing my thoughts on books with strangers, not friends. Actually, the reason I joined Goodreads was so that I could give my poor mother's ears a break from my chattering about books, and so that I could give commentary on books that she probably wouldn't want to know I was reading.

To the point, I don't normally read fanfics. I liked this one well enough, though. It seemed more... emotive than regular books. Is that how all fanfics are or is Helenish just an interesting writer?
If I had to clarify my rating, I'd probably rate it 3.5 stars. I can't rate it more, because I went into it thinking that it would be another Captive Prince, but it was nowhere near. I guess my expectations were just a tad too high, no? The overall tone of the read was much more tame compared to Captive Prince.
It was a good read though. Without giving anything away, the ending left a little hollow hole in my chest. One complaint that I have though is that it was sometimes hard to determine whose thoughts we were reading at the moment, and I often found myself rereading sentences or whole passages trying to straighten it out. Despite this flaw, I can definitely see it expanded into a full book, one that would add more detail about the minor characters. It seems there is a whole world newly created that I find absolutely fascinating.

It was a good night read, and I thank those that recommended this fanfic to me!
Profile Image for Olivia.
170 reviews52 followers
October 25, 2019
Surprisingly, I really enjoyed this one.
I especially appreciated both MC's internal conflicts and struggle to accept and justify their own actions and feelings.
Good dark story with a nice pace and development. And it's a free read, so bonus points for that.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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