Green Men: Spectred Isle – K.J. Charles
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.
First, isn’t the cover art gorgeous! <3<3<3
This book gave me happy goosebumps. This book also spooked me although I am rarely spooked. This book gave me a pleasant case of book hangover. Therefore I declare this as K.J. Charles’ best book to date.
The story is told in dual POV of Saul Lazenby, a disgraced archeologist and Randolph Glyde, an aristocratic arcanist. Both lonely men, both war veterans dealing with the pain and trauma of war. The two kept meeting at certain places and their mutual attraction was undeniable. I enjoyed their banter and Charles’ brilliance at creating dialogue and prose had me mumbling some lines and chuckling at the clever turn of phrase. Randolph is what is usually described as sardonic and tends to evade questions. But when he does say what he really thinks, usually when talking to and about Saul, I can’t help but internally squeal because it’s clear that he loves/adores/worship Saul. Saul is what is described as a tender but scarred soul. I greatly admire him and his resilience. He was just suddenly thrust into another war he had no idea existed but he didn’t back down. Sometimes in a love story, I tend to love one of the pair more than the other but here, I love them both so much.
The rest of the Green Men deserved books of their own. Sam is getting one (hooray!) but I am conflicted because it’s m/f. Yeah, OK, they can’t be all gay as much as I want them to be. Barney and Max definitely should have their own HEA (love ‘em!).
The world building and the magic system are awesome! Rooted in myths and folklore, seamlessly integrated into post-world war 1920s and very convincingly delivered. The time and place was very palpable and imagining the War Beneath and the Great Summonings scared the hell out of me at 3 a.m.
Please do read this book even if you are not into MM.
5 Stars – absolutely perfect