Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" has long been considered a masterpiece of high adventure. In "The Low Road, " James Lear reinvents this classic as a satirical, queer, coming-of-age story. In 1705 Scotland, young Charles Gordon reaches adulthood ignorant of his family's heroic past in the Jacobite Rebellion. He sets out to discover the truth ...
Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" has long been considered a masterpiece of high adventure. In "The Low Road, " James Lear reinvents this classic as a satirical, queer, coming-of-age story. In 1705 Scotland, young Charles Gordon reaches adulthood ignorant of his family's heroic past in the Jacobite Rebellion. He sets out to discover the truth about his father, but instead is kidnapped by mercenaries and sold into slavery as the plaything of a group of corrupt military officials. But Charlie's talents, in and out of bed, win him powerful friends as well as dangerous foes. The false priest, Lebecque, violent Captain Robert, depraved General Wilmott -- all contribute to Charlie's "education." Eventually leading a makeshift army of sex-crazed layabouts, Charlie faces the might of the English forces. Will he triumph, or is it better to retreat to the safety of his sybaritic lifestyle? James Lear expertly interweaves spies and counterspies, scheming servants and sadistic captains, tavern trysts and prison orgies, into this delightfully erotic work that can take its place alongside his acclaimed novels "The Back Passage" and "Hot Valley."
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I always enjoy the boyishly playful erotica in James Lear?s books, and the ?The Low Road? does not disappoint. However, I was expecting a bit more battling and sword fighting action, especially for being set in Scotland in the 1800s. The setting is one of the reasons that attracted my interest so strongly to this book. Compared to Geoffrey Knight?s Fathom?s Five books, where there is a real sense of danger mixed in with the arousing sex of muscly and well hung men, ?The Low Road? definitely stands up to as an equal. Where I believe that the novel really excels is that it actually does have a plot, unlike the two Jay Starre books I?ve read, and it isn?t just a 200 page book full of nothing but sex, sex, and more sex. The plot does seem to drift away at times, and gets easily side tracked by M/M action, kind of like its main character Charlie.
I find that James Lear enjoys writing about the rich, spoiled, young youth at the edge of entering manhood, whose life experiences are forced by outside influences which teaches them how to mature into men. So when Charlie loses his first love who he gave his virginity to, and a suspicious yet attractive tutor/priest enters the family estate at his mother?s request. Charlie works out for himself that Lebecque is a threat to his rightful claim and inheritance to the Gordon estate, by marrying his mother the Madame Gordon. Charlie soon finds both his heart and destiny puts him on a road not only to growing up and earning an honorable reputation, but will also will further his education in the acts of love and sex.
As the story continues its narrative, we learn about the hardships, loose of hope, and the strong will of the Frenchman Lebecque, through the letters he has written to Charlie, without knowing whether Charlie is even getting them. Fortunately with these letters, the book is able to deliver a more masculine sense of adventure and more dangerous element of action.
By the end of Charlie?s travels, he will learn what real, true love is. But he?ll also worry that his confession of lust filled with various partners, shameless acts of voyeurism, and also because of his self-indulgent procrastination on his difficult way to not only find but to also rescue Lebecque if he is even still alive, could very well deny him the one he loves and cares for. His hormonal impulses may very well cost him more than what the sex is worth with strangers and stragglers, which lasts only for a short while in a fading memory compared to a lifetime spent with the one who got away.
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