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Mere Mortals [Kindle Edition]

4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $4.99

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Book Description

Orphaned Crispin Thorne has been taken as ward by Philip Smallwood, a man he’s never met, and is transplanted from his private school to Smallwood’s house on an island on the beautiful but coldly remote Horsey Mere in Norfolk. Upon his arrival, he finds that he’s not the only young man given a fresh start. Myles Graham and Jude Middleton are there before him, and as their benefactor is away, they soon form alliances and friendships, as they speculate upon the sudden transformation of their circumstances. Who is Philip Smallwood? Why has he given them such a fabulous new life? What secrets does the house hold and what is it that the Doctor seems to know?

Trust acclaimed author Erastes to tell a moving story in the field of gay historical romance.

Editorial Reviews


"Mere Mortals" is a compelling story...the end result is an impressive combination of mystery and intrigue that is disturbing yet ultimately moving"

--Edge New York

"...storytelling that is not only fascinating, but so cleanly put together that any writer will, perhaps, be envious." 

--George Seaton - "Out in Print"

"... It's a great story, written in true gothic style which keeps you guessing until the end."

--Queer Magazine Online

"...Erastes has hit the mark with this piece of historical fiction. Read it and love it. You won't be able to put it down until you discover the fate of Myles, Jude, and especially Crispin as they grapple with their forbidden longings and dreams..." -- Damien Serbu, Lambda Literary Foundation.

''An unsettling tale of loss, obsession and mystery, set on the bleak Norfolk Broads. Definitely one I'd recommend.'' --Donald Hardy, author of Lovers' Knot

About the Author

Erastes was born in Essex in 1959, and has lived in too many places to count since.

She writes gay historical fiction and short stories which have been published in over 20 anthologies. Her novels Standish and Transgressions have brought gay historical romance to mainstream readers.

Product Details

  • File Size: 402 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Lethe Press (March 24, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TSC8XQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,374 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
When it comes to man-on-man, historical romance and adventure, the name Erastes invariably comes to the fore, and her latest creation, Mere Mortals [Lethe Press, March 23, 2011] is perhaps her best effort yet. It is in my mind, anyhow, and I've read and reviewed many of her novels and short stories in the past.

The first thing one notices about this novel is the subtlety with which the story unfolds, and the leisurely, measured pace that is so in keeping with a nineteenth-century theme. For example, the story opens with a coach ride through the countryside setting, and with this clever device the reader is invited aboard to see it for him/herself, i.e:

"There was nothing here to write about, or so it seemed. After so many years spent at school in the well manicured quadrangle and playing fields of Barton Hall, this new landscape seemed empty, untidy and bleak. A light mist covered the land as far as the horizon, little more than a thin vapour, but it was enough to drain all colour from the scene passing by the carriage window. I gave a wry smile. Colour that mainly consists of bleached dead reeds, brown ditches and brown muddy pools

"Since leaving Yarmouth the coach had travelled slowly north, following the coast road, such as it was. The coachman had warned us passengers that the roads were bad at this time of the year and he wasn't wrong; more than once the three of us - for that's all there was, travelling in the filthy weather - had to alight, braving the vicious biting wind to assist the coach out of one of the larger ruts we encountered. Even inside the coach with the curtains drawn, the wind sliced its way through any small gaps in the woodwork.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Gothic by a Contemporary Master May 18, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The conventions of Gothic romance are endlessly adaptable. While elastic enough to please fans of low-rent bodice rippers and highbrow fiction alike, the Gothic pattern of moves, symbols and character types can be woven by expert hands into something new and surprisingly contemporary. "Mere Mortals," by Erastes, is such a one.

The novel opens with a journey, first by coach, then boat, across the Norfolk Broads, a network of marshy rivers and lakes, ending at a large and mysterious mansion on a remote island. Young Crispin Thorne, a penniless orphan, having been removed from boarding school, arrives at Bittern's Reach, the seat of wealthy, well-bred Philip Smallwood, his newly named guardian. He is accompanied part of the way by another local worthy, Dr. Baynes. The latter, surprised to hear Thorne's story, indicates, without much explanation until later in the book, that neither he nor most members of the community are on close terms with Mr. Smallwood.

Thorne is greeted not by the master but by servants and by news that two other orphans, Myles Graham and Jude Middleton, have also been installed as Smallwood's wards. A program of gentlemanly education is begun forthwith. Each is given a valet, tailored clothes, handmade boots and other accouterments for every occasion, expensive watches, lessons in riding, fencing, music and dance, and tutoring on a variety of more academic subjects.

As individuals, the boys are almost entirely unalike. Where Thorne is shy, Jude is sly and sexually aggressive and Myles an athletic, more manly man type. Differences aside, what they have in common is at least a passing acquaintance with male-male desire or, to use their term, "inversion." Taken together, the trio stands in for the maiden in distress of Gothic convention.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gay Gothic Romance May 19, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I like Erastes's writing. I enjoy gay romance novels and hers are among the best, in terms of plot, characters and quality of writing. This story, to me, was not her best, but it was quite good and well worth my time and effort.

In a time (early Victorian England) when being actively homosexual was an invitation to prison, if not to a hangman's noose, three teenage boys are "caught" being homosexual at their schools. None of the three were from well-to-do families, so being caught out and "sent down" (i.e., expelled from school for cause) should have been the end of them, one way or the other. It was not so because of the timely intervention of a well-to-do man in his 30's, who took them under his protection and brought them to his home as his wards, for reasons he did NOT immediately make clear to them. The remainder of the book because a matter of the boys sorting out their protector's motives and their implications to the boys themselves. Thus, at the outset of the book, the author introduced an ominous tone that only increased as the story progressed. Strewn throughout the story, there are enough clues to the protector's motives such that the climax didn't really surprise me very much. I'm happy to give this novel four stars and the author a pat on the back, though I like her novel "Standish" better. If you like the genre and this author's writing, this book is worth your time.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous book, but overall a dissapointment for me April 9, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase

I preordered this book in paperback. That alone should give you an idea how impatient I was to read it. See, I do not preorder the books in paperback these days. I preorder ONE writer in hardcover, and he does not write in this genre. Otherwise, I always read the book on Kindle first, even if it is from my favorite writer and if it is something I love, yes I may buy a paperback, but only if I want to keep it very very much. Do I regret ordering this one in paperback? A lot. Let me explain why.

First and foremost, my regret is my personal, very very subjective reaction. Erastes is IMO extremely talented author and as you can see I am giving this book four stars, because I feel that many many readers may love this book and deservingly so. But I feel my reaction also has merits and for readers who may share my tastes, I want to let them know.

The language in this book is so very beatiful. Norfolk of another time truly comes alive and it definitely transported me to another era. Had this book been a historical travel guide, I would have given it ten stars.

Unfortunately for this book, as much as I like being transported to another era, characters are something which I want to like as much (actually much more) than the settings and here I hit a wall, big time.

It is not that the characters are two dimensional, not at all, I can *see* that they are fabulously drawn and multidimensional, what I could not do is *feel* for them. Book absolutely failed to engage my emotions to relate, to sympathize with ANY of the three boys and this is a really hard thing to do, I will tell you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Gothic but unsatisfying
Other reviews of this story mention the pace, the gothic feel, etc. and while all of that is true - and I very much enjoyed the story and the characters up until near the end - the... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Reta
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystery, Romance, Thriller! Loved it!
I really enjoyed this book! The story line was great! It was a Mystery, romance, thriller all in one! I wish it went on but like many great books it had to end. Wow. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ricco De Luca
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable
It starts out rather interesting and even thought it seems the writer is trying to hand us little puzzle surprises there is no realy mystery to the book. Read more
Published 21 months ago by JTeuy13
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable read
Another pleasant historical romp from this very capable author who just gets better with every book. Read more
Published on November 20, 2012 by Searlas Lochlainn
2.0 out of 5 stars Can we stop the shame-based gay literature?
I got this book because of the interesting concept in a Gothic setting. As a period, Gothic mystery, it works well. The author is a good writer. Read more
Published on August 19, 2012 by SpirituallySpeaking
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful gothic tale
I debated a four star review, but really, my grievance with the book is a minor one compared to the rest of the book overall. My one issue is with the ending. Read more
Published on May 29, 2012 by J. Lavoie
4.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable gothic tale
The gothic novel (which first appeared all the way back in 1764 with The Castle of Otranto) generally features a marvelously old-fashioned style of storytelling. Read more
Published on January 11, 2012 by octobercountry
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect suspenseful romance, but for the ending...
Erastes is truly gifted in bringing a historical setting to life. The novel overflowed with detailed description, but never felt bogged down by it. Read more
Published on November 3, 2011 by Jem
5.0 out of 5 stars An Author Worth Reading
The air of the cold Norfolk Broads seeps into your bones from the very first page of "Mere Mortals". Read more
Published on June 18, 2011 by Sue Roebuck
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy This Book
Erastes is master of historical prose, and this book offers some of her best. Rest assured, the plot is believable and intricately woven. Read more
Published on June 14, 2011 by "Sunday Awakening" by KevaD
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More About the Author

Erastes was born in Essex in 1959, and has lived in too many places to count since.

She writes gay historical fiction and short stories which have been published in over 20 anthologies. Her first novel Standish (Regency) was nominated for a Lambda award and her second, Transgressions (English Civil War) is part of the ground breaking line by Running Press and was a Lambda 2009 finalist for gay romance.

Her latest releases are Mere Mortals, a gay gothic set on the Victorian Norfolk Broads, and Muffled Drum, set during the Austro-Prussian war of 1866. Her next release is "Junction X" set in the 1960's and out November 2011.

She's the owner of Speak Its Name ( the only place on the planet to review gay historical fiction.

Erastes is represented by Professor James Schiavone

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