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Mere Mortals by [Erastes]
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Mere Mortals Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Length: 256 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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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: 598 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Lethe Press (March 24, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 24, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TSC8XQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #788,004 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gerry A. Burnie on March 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a completely unique take on historical MM fiction in England. Set in 1848 in the dark northern country, it's a first-person narrative that leaves a lot to the imagination, much of which is as surprising to the reader as it is for Crispin Thorne, the narrator. It moves along at a detailed, somewhat relaxing pace early as Crispin tries to find his way into his new life as a ward (basically, adoptee) of the mysterious, handsome Philip Smallwood, along with his two new companions, Jude and Myles, also recent Smallwood wards.

While it becomes clear somewhat early on from conversations among Crispin, Jude and Myles what may have prompted Philip to adopt these three particular lads (whom I suppose are either sixteen or eighteen years old, the one point the author has unaccountably left out), the actual reason is not really implied until much later, and not actually revealed until near the end. No matter. In between is good enough as the lads come to know, trust and then distrust each other, while Philip, who appears for the first time a week or so into the book, emerges as one wonderfully benevolent soul.

Then all hell breaks loose and even though you could see the catalytic circumstance coming which defines the entire premise of the book and the future of our protagonists, it still captures your senses and your imagination. Swiftly moving from that point the plot takes on a distinctive over-the-top turn which is based on the grief of love lost, the joy of love rediscovered, but also the horror of how love can possess and become a destructive obsession.

This one could have gotten totally out of hand but it's the way Erastes ends this book which not only ties it all together but allows you to exhale. I have rarely, if ever, read a book of this genre that ended so abruptly, yet perfectly wrapped up, in one paragraph. I'm still a little out of breath.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
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. It's very abrupt when it ends, and leaves the readers with a lot of questions, which was frustrating for me.

However, the rest of the book was delightful. The story is told from Crispin's point of view, and I found the descriptions and language to be wonderful for the time period. The story was rich in details and I felt that I was living in the world Crispin and the others inhabited. As far as the major point of mystery, it doesn't become clear until very late in the novel. It is hinted at, but it is more of a vague teasing than anything else.

I completely fell for the characters. I loved Crispin and hurt with him when he was rebuffed by Jude. And while I disliked Myles at first, he grew on me. I wish I knew more of what happened between the end of their time on the Mere and where they are in the last few lines of the books. It's a very large gap that would be interesting reading.
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4-1/2 stars
Another fine historical read but at times it was a bit twisted, which for me only made it better. You can't help but love Crispin and because of it you're questioning everything the other characters say and do. Well worth all the questioning and emotions and by the time you're at the end, you really don't want to let anyone go.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. I've mentioned before how much I enjoy gay gothics; they can be very entertaining and I'm always happy to add another to my collection. And here's a fairly new one with all the conventional trappings---young people confined to a mysterious and remote old mansion by an enigmatic benefactor, grey mists and freezing winds without, hidden passages and secrets galore within. Oh, and no gothic would be complete without a rather melodramatic finale!

It was fun trying to figure out the mystery during the earlier portions of the story, because no hint as to the precise nature of the backstory was given until about half-way through the text. I think the book succeeds admirably, and I found the narrator likeable. My only real complaint is that the story finished up very quickly indeed after the big climactic scene. While there is an epilogue set a number of years in the future, I would have liked to get a sense of how the two main characters got to that point in their lives; I can't quite imagine how they made the transition, given the realities of their situation at the end of the previous chapter. But this is a small nit-pick; if you enjoy the genre, I'll happily recommend this one. I think it's probably my favourite of the books by Erastes that I've read so far.

Very nice cover artwork for this title; simply gorgeous.
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