Rod (ci5rod) wrote in epic_recs,

Blackjack by Alyse and Chya - (NC-17)

Title: Blackjack
Fandom: CI5: The New Professionals
Pairing: Chris Keel/Sam Curtis
Categories: action/adventure, thriller, pre-canon, romance, hurt/comfort.
Length: Epic (92,150 words)
Warnings: Minor character death, violence, torture, all the sort of unpleasantness you would expect from a spy novel.

Authors on LJ: alyse and chya
Author Website: Unconscious Mind (Alyse), favicon alyse and favicon chya

(For the authors' New Pros stories you are better off trawling through the CI5 Ops Control archive site.)

Author's Summary: When an assignment goes wrong, and Chris Keel is captured, his captor hands him over as a gift to an arms dealer with a reputation for ruthlessness. But is this man what he seems? AU for a certain key aspect of the series.

CI5: The New Professionals was an attempt to reboot The Professionals in the late 1990s, with an international cast in an attempt to spread its appeal. In place of the original Bodie and Doyle (ex-SAS and Police respectively), we had Chris Keel (ex-US Navy SEAL) and Sam Curtis (ex-MI6), along with Tina Backus (Canadian hacker and sharpshooter). Also huge amounts of slash potential, to the point where I'm fairly certain the writers must have been aware of old Pros fanfiction. Remember the names, though; there will be a quiz later.

Blackjack is set before the series starts when Chris Keel's partner is killed and he is captured and interrogated. This turns out to be part of a game being played by an arms dealer to distract his main rival, Stuart Carstairs, and Chris becomes a pawn in that game. From there on, things only get more complicated, and a somewhat broken Chris has to figure out who, if anyone, he should trust.

This is not a nice story. It contains violence and torture easily on a par with recent Bond movies, and in fact fits that genre pretty well. People die in a variety of unpleasant ways. There is plenty of psychological torture as well as physical, with deceptions and betrayals on all sides taking their toll on everyone. It's a hard read; I am not a fan of dark fiction, and this is as dark as I go.

It's a rewarding read, though. In this crucible of violence and uncertainty, Alyse and Chya forge a believably strong relationship between the main characters. Watching them keep each other alive and sane, and believe me that last one matters, is the joy of the whole story. It carries right through to the end, giving the reader enough of an emotional payoff to make it worth while getting there, and leaving you believing that this could have been the start of the series that could never have been shown on prime time.

An excellent story, but not one to read lightly.

Tags: fandom: ci5, genre: action/adventure, genre: case file, genre: first-time, genre: hurt/comfort, genre: pre-canon, pairing: slash, recs by ci5rod

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