Spectred Isle by KJ Charles (Green Men #1)
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.
CONTRIBUTOR(S): Ruairi Carter (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
LENGTH: 252 pages (7 hours 34 minutes)
GENRE: Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Genderqueer/Nonbinary Minor Character(s).
As the first book in the series, SPECTRED ISLE establishes the stakes for the main characters, mostly resolving relationship threads rather than logistical ones. This seems to indicate that the mystery at hand will be solved in later books, but that hopefully this main relationship can have a stable configuration going forward. My hope is that these two are good to go, and a new couple would be the focus of the next book. A quick look at the description for the sequel seems to indicate that my hope will bear out.
I enjoyed this and I plan to read the sequel. I've had a good time with everything I've tried by this author, even if I don't always have a lot of specific things to say. One thing I appreciate is their ability to write so many different historical (usually fantasy) m/m romances while still making very different worlds for the stories. I'm particularly interested in the magical/political aftermath of the demise of Randolph's family, as the forces which led to that particularly terrible string of events seem determined to keep messing things up in the name of legacy.
Graphic/Explicit CW for confinement.
Moderate CW for alcohol, vomit, war, death.
Minor CW for homophobia, suicide, suicidal thoughts.