It’s the weekend and what better way is there to relax than with a good book? Or with snippets of several plus one completely arbitrary but sincere recommendation. That’s what you get for following the Seductive Studs and Sirens weekly blog hop, where a small select group of authors get together to share elements of their latest work. And I tell you about something I’ve read.
Last week I was recommending a gay lit title – You are Here by Chris Delyani, this week I’m a bit closer to M/M romance territory, but still just skirting the edges.
The General and the Horselord by Sarah Black is a book that I clicked on with a shriek of glee when I first saw the title, then hit the back button when I saw the cover and realised that it was a contemporary romance rather than, as I had assumed, about Attila the Hun and General Flavius Aetius of the later Roman Empire. Absolutely no reason why it should have been, of course, but that’s just the way my mind works and the relationship between Attila and Aetius is often on my mind! Anyway, I don’t usually choose to read romance, whether m/m, m/f, f/f whatever. But over time I heard good things about the title, very good things, so this month I got it and the book just blew me away.
For a start the heroes aren’t youths but veterans, 52 and 48, two men with successful careers in the military behind them, throughout which they conducted a very careful secret love affair. Now they have retired from the military and are making new lives for themselves, new careers, and trying to come to terms with the very different way things are done on civvie street.
For instance John, the General of the title, has Kim, his nephew, living with him who is very out, very proud and doesn’t care who knows it. The austere and undemonstrative relationship between Uncle John and Uncle Gabriel is a constant cause of amusement and affront to Kim and Kim’s flamboyance is a source of amusement, and bemusement, to John and Gabriel. Both amused me a lot.
But the story isn’t just about love and making new lives. There’s pain and danger and loss as well. Gabriel can no longer live a lie and decides to leave his wife. Kim is beaten up by a boyfriend. There are political shenanigans, academic infighting, art shows, scads of pretty young people scampering about and making the two military veterans feel very old, and some deeply unpleasant personalities as well. I was VERY pissed off when the story ended. Not because it was a rushed or unsatisfying ending but because I wanted to stay in that world a bit longer.
I’m delighted to see that there’s a sequel, The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari, that is being released on my birthday! I plan to indulge myself.