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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful Age of Sail novel,
This review is from: Captain's Surrender Captain's Surrender (Paperback)Ok, I only had a few hours sleep last night, because I couldn't put this book away until I had finished it, and now that I'm at work I can't concentrate properly, because Josh and Peter constantly pop up in my head. So why should I say something nice about this book?
Just kidding. This is a great book. After just a few pages I was set back to a time when boarding a ship to the Caribbean had nothing to do with a journey on a luxury cruise ship, but with one on which you could very well die. I'm no expert on sea stories but in my opinion Alex Beecroft did a great job with her description of the life on a brig or frigat. The atmosphere is so dense that you can nearly touch the wood or smell the gunpowder.
Especially in the first chapters this also made me squirm a bit, because the book starts off with an execution, which is the reason the two main characters meet, and a lot of punishments like floggings follow. Alex Beecroft proves her love for details also in these scenes. But these descriptions doesn't seem to be exaggerated, but a detailed image of the atmosphere of brutality and terror on some of the naval ships in these times and thus are an integral part of the overall mood in which the main characters get to know each other.
The relationship between the main characters Josh and Peter starts off slowly. It's first a friendship which deepens on their journey to Bermuda and then becomes a love relationship. The struggle of both characters with their love for each other in a time in which it was forbidden and punishable is perfectly carved out. Josh is mostly concerned about Peter, of hurting him, of denying him the possibility to marry and lead a "normal" life. Peter is mostly concerned about himself, of not doing what is expected of him from his superiors, from society, from God.
Altogether this is a beautiful romance set in the Age of Sail and definitely a must read. By the way, here's a tip for anyone who isn't satisfied with the erotic factor of the book, even though the love scenes in the book were in my opinion very romantic and beautiful. Alex Beecroft wrote a free story with Josh and Peter called "Insubordination". You can find a download link here on her blog or on her homepage. I'll just say: Hot! ;-)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A swashbuckling tale with real meat on its bones!,
This review is from: Captain's Surrender Captain's Surrender (Paperback)"Captain's Surrender" by Alex Beecroft (Linden Bay Romance, 2008) is a swashbuckling tale with real meat on its bones. Set in the late eighteenth century, mostly aboard British Royal Navy vessels, this tale bounds over the imaginary mane like an elegant clipper ship in full sail. On the one hand there is the powdered wigs and spit-and-polish of the officers, and on the other the lowly `tars' who carry out their imperious commands; never the twain to meet ... except. It is also set at a time when sodomy was considered the vilest crime on the books, and subject to an ignominious death if convicted of it.
The action is equally fast-paced, including a near mutiny; bloody engagements with privateers; and a skirmish with an imperial, French invasion force on the icy waters of Hudson Bay. There is also a duel to the death for good measure.
At the same time a touching m/m love story unfolds that is as tender as the non-stop action is rollicking. Joshua Andrews is a young midshipman (apprentice officer) with a dark secret that has indirectly caused the death of a friend and sometimes lover--hanged from the yardarm; therefore, he has developed a complex loathing for what resides within him. Sensing something like this, the Draconian captain has singled him out to be the next "catamite" to swing from the topsail in his crazed, sadistic campaign to restore `God's order to things'--according to the said captain, of course.
Enter First-Lieutenant (later Captain) Peter Kenyon, a highly principled Adonis whose own order of things begins to falter when he confronts Andrews' boyish, Irish charms. Still, Kenyon finds an acceptable compromise in lust with Joshua while keeping a weather-eye on Miss Emily Jones, the ward of Mr. Summersgill, comptroller of the Island of Bermuda, and a much safer harbour.
Albeit, compromises often catch the practitioner uncomfortably in the middle, and Miss Jones turns out to be very much her own gal, not to be taken for granted, while Josh becomes more desirable but elusive. Still, the final resolution is not revealed until the last page of the last chapter. Brava!
Interestingly, in resolving all this, the biblical assurance that mankind is created in God's image, and is therefore fundamentally good, is argued. In support of this philosophy the idea of two-spirit culture is introduced; whereby it is believed that mixed-gender individuals (i.e., male-female, female-male) were endowed with special powers, and were considered a blessing from the Great Spirit.
Two spirits is a theme that is entering into the mainstream of GLBT literature, i.e. "Two Spirits: A life among the Navajo," (Walter L. Williams), and "The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon" (Tom Spanbauer), but it is also one that is fraught with the complexities of various Native cultures, languages, and geographic territories.
For example: Andrews is supposedly rescued by "red Indians" somewhere in the vicinity of Hudson Bay, and these Indians undertake to teach him the ways of "agokwa" (meaning "genitaled-women," or mixed-gender). It is an ingenious way of weaving this message into the fabric of the story, but ... the Indians in the Hudson Bay region would have almost certainly been either Inuit, or Cree--not "Anishinabe," which is not a specific tribe, per se. Moreover, linguistically speaking "agokwa" is an Ojibwa term, not Cree or Inuit. The equivalent Cree term is, "ayekkwe," "a'yahkwew." It is a truly brave soul, therefore, who navigates these waters without a reliable map.
I hasten to add, however, that this purist perspective in no way detracts from a superb read, or the meticulous research that has gone into making this a most convincing look at 18th-century naval practices, and sailing ships in general; thus fulfilling the best in historical fiction--to educate while entertaining.
Canadian history from a gay perspective series.
Two Irish Lads
4.0 out of 5 stars In the same category as False Color,
This review is from: Captain's Surrender (Paperback)Again, Alex Beecroft manage to keep me interested. Although this book is shorter then False Color, Mrs. Beecroft remain true to her color, (no pun intended). The four stars were given for the same reason I rated False Color and I'm not going to repeat it here. Again congratulation Mrs. Beecroft.
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Captain's Surrender Captain's Surrender by Alex Beecroft (Paperback - Jan. 2008)
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