From Publishers Weekly
The famously insatiable lover is brought brilliantly to life in this lively, suspenseful debut novel by Abrams (coauthor of The Multi-Orgasmic Couple
; The Multi-Orgasmic Man
). Framed as Don Juan's long-guarded diary, the narrative picks up at a gallop and never relents, tracing Don Juan's orphaned upbringing at a convent and torturous monastery before he escapes and joins a band of thieves. He is soon introduced to the Marquis, who trains the then amateur Lothario to become equally adept at swordsmanship and seducing women. (Abrams's background in Taoist sexuality is evident in the latter's scenes.) Don Juan develops a reputation as "some kind of demon," but the Marquis, who is close to the king, protects Don Juan from the inquisitor general's plans to punish him. Nevertheless, Don Juan resists the Marquis's plea that he marry to save himself, claiming he has no interest in love—until he meets pistol-packing firebrand Doña Ana. Abrams renders his hero with sympathetic understanding, and his erotic exploits—though heavy on plumage ("I sipped the moist nectar of her mouth as she opened her petals to me")—round out Don Juan instead of providing one-handed reading material. The story unspools with the invigorating trajectory of a thriller and the emotional draw of historical romance. (May)
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Set in the city of Seville during the reign of Philip II, at the end of the sixteenth century, this purported diary of Juan Tenario recounts his childhood raised by nuns in a convent, adolescent disillusionment, and escape to the city of Seville. There he becomes, first, a cat burglar, then the protege of the powerful Marquis de la Mota, who teaches him spying, swordplay, the appreciation of fine wine, and the seduction of women. The plot is lent tension by Tenario's increasingly complicated life: King Philip wants him to marry (someone, anyone
); Don Ignacio, the head of Seville's Inquisition, wants him to burn; and the marquis plans to marry his only true love, Dona Ana. Abrams takes liberties with the social details of the time but treats historical occurrences with accuracy. Characters are stock, and the action is largely predictable. The resolution, however, has its surprises. A fast, suspenseful read. Ellen LoughranCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved