Trained is the story of two guys—a bondsman who wants to rise above his caste and a gladiator training him to win the contest that will allow him to do that—but we’re going to talk about the woman. The Legend. Atalanta.
Atalanta is a myth, re-told in various forms through the years, but my own exposure to it came from a children’s album that was popular when I was growing up in the seventies called Free to Be You and Me, which if you’ve never heard of it, is an amazing album that all children should grow up listening to. The seventies were a hopeful time where we believed that racism and sexism were dying out. I’m not sure what happened.
Anyway, on the Free to Be album, Atalanta is a princess who’s in no hurry to settle down being forced into marriage by her father. Frustrated by her refusal to choose a husband, the king decrees that whoever wins a foot race will win her hand in marriage. So she trains for the race herself! She finishes in a tie with a young man who the king tries to hand her over to, but he says he doesn’t want to marry her. He just wants to get to know her a little. They become friends, and Atalanta is allowed to continue living her young life.
Trained starts from the same premise—Atalanta is being forced into marriage and her husband will be whoever wins a contest—but it focuses on the man who ultimately wins. Why did he enter if he didn’t want to marry her? What brought him to that point and where does he go from there?
Which is a lot of intellectual sounding background for what’s basically M/M BDSM erotica, but hey. Every story has to start somewhere.