Title: Spectred Isle (Green Men #1)
Author: KJ Charles
Publisher: KJC Books
Release Date: August 3, 2017
Genre(s): Gay Paranormal Historical Romance
Page Count: 271 Pages
Reviewed by: ColinJ
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Archaeologist Saul Lazenby has been all but unemployable since his disgrace during the War. Now he scrapes a living working for a rich eccentric who believes in magic. Saul knows it’s a lot of nonsense…except that he begins to find himself in increasingly strange and frightening situations. And at every turn he runs into the sardonic, mysterious Randolph Glyde.
Randolph is the last of an ancient line of arcanists, commanding deep secrets and extraordinary powers as he struggles to fulfil his family duties in a war-torn world. He knows there’s something odd going on with the haunted-looking man who keeps turning up in all the wrong places. The only question for Randolph is whether Saul is victim or villain.
Saul hasn’t trusted anyone in a long time. But as the supernatural threat grows, along with the desire between them, he’ll need to believe in evasive, enraging, devastatingly attractive Randolph. Because he may be the only man who can save Saul’s life—or his soul.
A grand start to a new series. I was unsure for some time as to whether this would be the case as the central characters are not the most likeable. For one, circumstances have brought him low and he deserves better, but he doubts himself. This is a little too familiar to characters from other books. The second is so arrogant that it is hard to like him at all. Of course as time goes on the weak man proves strong and the shell of the other is fractured. It is not so much the characterisation then as the storyline. There is good tension throughout without it becoming uncomfortable and things happen in the nick of time as you would expect, but that makes this a rollicking tale. It’s been a while since the Green Man has been the focus of a book and this take of the classic is an interesting twist. The setting of post-WWI is quite key to the story and has historical relevance where so many of our best minds were lost.
The relationship between the two central characters is similar to many other such series such as Widdershins. They are a mixed matched pair that under other circumstances would be unlikely to find love, but this allows for an exploration not only of their backgrounds but also what is missing in their lives. It is a little unlikely that with so many personal and social barriers surrounding them that these would be so readily swept away without a backward thought but such seems to be the case here.
This author writes a good story with a pace that keeps the reader wanting more. Thankfully there are no signs of dwelling on the ‘he loves me/he loves me not’ plotline or extensive asides to provide background. The story evolves quite naturally with plenty to enjoy along the way.
A number of threads are left open at the end of the book to allow for a number of sequels. I look forward to the next adventure.