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Captain's Surrender Paperback – January 7, 2017
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“Thrilling! On every level, Captain’s Surrender is thrilling. Alex Beecroft spins image, voice, character, setting, and story into a captivating whole, accomplishing the rare feat of inducing in the reader a forgetfulness that we are, indeed, reading.”
~ Rainbow Reviews
“I can best sum up Captain’s Surrender as a book that left me craving more - not because the ending was lacking in any way, but because I just didn’t want it to end at all.”
~ All About Romance
“Now this is what I’m talking about. If you want a taste of what floats my boat when it comes to gay historical fiction, (no pun intended), then this is it.”
~ Speak Its Name
“Alex Beecroft has written a truly engrossing tale of life in the British Navy. The story is written with seamanship expertness that puts the reader in the middle of the action…. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to more from Alex Beecroft.”
~ Rainbow Reviews
“…a breathtaking and expertly written historical m/m romance. The author does a wonderful job of recreating the world of 1779 for the reader. I truly felt like I was transported back in time… The romance between these two men is complicated but also very sensual. The author has written a novel that is an exciting and satisfying blend of romance and adventure.”
~ Romance Junkies
“Adding in well-defined characters with a quick moving plot, this story delights on many levels, with elements of action, romance, culture, bigotry, and honor set across the oceans in a stunning tale that entrances from the beginning to the end. …The author has delivered a wonderfully crafted historical that is sure to please romance lovers.”
~ Manic Readers
From the Back Cover
Ambitious and handsome, Joshua Andrews had always valued his life too much to take unnecessary risks. Then he laid eyes on the elegant picture of perfection that is Peter Kenyon.
Soon to be promoted to captain, Peter Kenyon is the darling of the Bermuda garrison. With a string of successes behind him and a suitable bride lined up to share his future, Peter seems completely out of reach to Joshua.
But when the two men are thrown together to serve during a long voyage under a sadistic commander with a mutinous crew, they discover unexpected friendship. As the tension on board their vessel heats up, the closeness they feel for one another intensifies and both officers find themselves unable to reign in their passion.
Let yourself be transported back to a time when love between two men in the British Navy was punishable by death, and to a story about love, about honor, but most of all, about a Captain's Surrender. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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That said, the structure could use some improvement. The story makes a couple of slightly-confusing jumps in time. More grievous is that the author seems uncertain whether the story's main source of conflict is internal (viz. Anderson and Kenyon's guilt about their relationship) or external (the social forces that would separate them, as personified by Captain Walker); the split in emphasis makes the resolution of each feel a little underwhelming. (There were also a couple of eye-rolling moments - Kenyon's discovering Anderson alive during his duel with Walker and Magically Finding His Reserve of Strength/Skill comes to mind - but I'm willing to chalk those up to it being a romance and thus having a certain quota of cheesy tropes to fill.)
Still, I appreciated the three-dimensional development of the leads, and their attraction to each other felt plausible, as did their relationship. Plus, no reliance on unlikable female leads to push them together. And the allusion in their names was subtle enough that I didn't get it until the final climactic moment, so well done.
- Beecroft is a good writer. Her sentences are crisp and her phrasing is creative, which makes for fast reading that flows well and is interesting to read.
- The story seems well-researched and includes (for me) the right amount of details about the historical time period: enough to give a good picture of various settings in late-18th-century England without making the book seem like a history textbook.
- Although I wasn't a fan of the FACT that Joshua is so paranoid about his sexual orientation being discovered, I did think that his paranoia was well portrayed. He wages a constant mental battle: one moment he's longing after Peter and the next he's berating himself for his illegal desires.
- Another thing I think is explored particularly well is each man's moral struggle over desiring another man when they've been told their entire lives that homosexuality is the worst of depravities.
- Almost the entire story is tense and stressful. Joshua starts out struggling with what he believes is unrequited desire for Peter, but even when the two men begin a physical relationship, there isn't a single moment when they're entirely relaxed because they're always looking over their shoulders, expecting at any moment that their illegal relationship will be discovered and they'll be hanged for it.
- The book contains almost-constant violence and/or danger and/or angst that have nothing to do with the romance. Although Beecroft doesn't depict the story's various atrocities in much detail, she doesn't shy away from describing unpleasantness, either. Here's one example early on: "They threw Hare's body over the side along with a boy of thirteen called Joseph Zacharias, guilty of falling asleep on watch, who had been given the choice of starving to death or being thrown out to swim home. He was alive when the sharks got him, but the prevailing opinion was that it was still the better choice."
- I couldn't make myself believe 100% in the strength of the men's connection. The book isn't very long (190 pages), and I'd guess that at least 30% of it details occurrences in the lives of secondary characters rather than the lives of Josh and Peter. In addition, it takes Peter a while to recognize/admit to his desire for Josh, and then the two men are apart for several chapters in the middle of the story.
Overall comments: This is certainly a well written story, but I didn't enjoy it all that much. The book's romance receives limited attention because we simply don't see the two heroes TOGETHER very much, and when we do, they're constantly worrying about being caught and put to death. It does contain a few sex scenes, but they're not graphic at all; they're basically fade-to-black.
Peter Kenyon comes on board the Nimrod to take the place of the recently executed-for-sodomy first officer. The assignment is temporary as he is to be given his own command once they reach Bermuda. The captain of the ship is a barbaric tyrant that makes Captain Bligh look like a swell guy. Peter is forced to share quarters with midshipman Joshua Andrews. Peter takes Joshua into his confidence about his mutinous contemplations, and Joshua confides his amorous attraction to Peter. Once they reach Bermuda, they begin a love relationship, but each understands that it is only a temporary arrangement. I won't reveal any more of the plot so as not to spoil the outcome.
The author has chosen a unique method to convey the story. Using multiple points of view is a common writing style, but for the first half of the book, Beecroft relegates a different point of view for each chapter. It works quite well in that you can see the contrast of how Peter and Joshua are perceived by other characters to what is really going on inside their heads. Nevertheless, I found myself looking forward to the chapters that featured the point of view of one of the two lovers. The second half of the book was more traditional in its point of view shifts with the majority being assigned to Josh or Peter.
Where the novel really shines is in its historical texture. Beecroft has really done her homework here. The luscious descriptions of the decks and sails, the smells of battle, all give you just enough information to clearly picture it without overwhelming you with extraneous details. Dialogue is also very authentic. I particularly love the way she paints the goriest details of battle while having shipmates so desensitized that they even make humorous jokes about the carnage.
Another well written passage occurs near the end where Peter wanders the deserted village late at night while he struggles with his inner demons. I was reminded of Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady or Gaston Lachaille in Gigi as they wandered the streets in soliloquy at the end of those movies. However Peter's thought process is much baser as he has some truly ugly thoughts at this point.
It's also refreshing that the erotic factor is kept in check. Of late it appears that the women m/m writers are much less bashful about explicit sex than we gay male writers are, so it's nice that Beecroft chose not to go full erotica.
I hesitate to mention one minor inaccuracy - the biblical quotes spoken by the Reverend are taken from the New International Version rather than the King James Version (with all its "thee"s and "thou"s) which would be the only English-language translation of the bible that existed in 1779. The modern language of the newer translation felt really out of place.
All in all Alex Beecroft has written a wonderful age-of-sail novel that can be enjoyed by fans of sea stories or m/m romance.
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For original review, please visit the Prism Book Alliance® blog online.
I have always adored historical stories and when I first became obsessed...Read more