December 3rd, 2011

andrew potter

Fortunes of War by Mel Keegan

The end of the XVI century is a fascinating period but is also bloodier than the more fancy Regency. In het romance it’s not common to find love stories set in this period, but if you manage to, you can bet they are 90% of the time about pirates. Most of the time, English captains like Drake are the heroes, but sometime also the Spaniard are selected as heroes, above all if they can claim some English ancestors, even if they will be also ready to state they are or feel more Spanish than English.

That is the position of Dermot Channon, and already from the name you understand he is not exactly a Spanish pureblood, but not even and English one; Dermot’s father was Irish, and at the time, it’s likely an Irishman felt more near to Spain than England, if nothing else since Spain and Ireland are both Catholic countries. And that is the reason that led Dermot to Robin’s mansion, Dermot’s uncle, the Ambassador of Spain, is searching hospitality in Robin’s father home.

For various reasons, Robin is the cinderfella of the household, and his father has already picked for him a career in the priesthood, even if Robin is not exactly the weak and quiet son that usually is fated to that career. Robin is young, and handsome, and he has a spirited soul. Plus, again like in the best historical romance, the first time Dermot sees him, Robin is dressed like a stable hand, and Dermot finds no danger in proposing him. Dermot has a penchant for young lads, more since they are innocent than for their prettiness; but that is a dangerous penchant, and if he was not convinced Robin was someone of little importance, he would have not proposed him. This gives to Dermot an advantage since, when he finds out that Robin is the son of his host, he can also see that Robin is not so against the idea to be courted.

I really couldn’t say if Robin was homosexual or not, he was totally innocent of men and women at the time he met Dermot, and Dermot had an imprinting to the young man that is difficult to wipe out. Despite the fate separating them, Robin will remain faithful to Dermot if not in body at least in his heart, not able to love anyone else, man or woman. Same for Dermot. I found quite right, and realistic, that both men had other sexual intercourses during the time they were not together; I can believe they didn’t fall in love with anyone else, but it would have been quite unrealistic if they didn’t have any other relationship, at least for an experienced and life-wise man like Dermot.

But I also liked that, when the chance to be together again is presented to them, Robin is not questioning that he would be happier with Dermot, even if he is not married and with two son. Again, a very heroic choice, albeit again unrealistic, would have been to renounce to his lover for the sake of his family, but Robin is wise in realizing that it’s better for his family to believe him dead than to suffer his penance with him for all the years to come.

The book was first released in 2005, a period when Gay Romance was not yet so trendy, but despite that, the romance is good as it’s the sex. There are no “subtle” sex scenes letting the reader more imagining than reading what is happening between the two men, the sex is on the contrary quite explicit, even if not at all sugary. Sometime it’s even a little too realistic, but again, it’s the XVI century, not always it was possible to be prepared like a good boy-scout to every possible event.

Amazon: Fortunes Of War
Amazon Kindle: Fortunes Of War
Paperback: 284 pages
Publisher: DreamCraft (June 15, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0975088491
ISBN-13: 978-0975088494

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