Band Sinister by K.J. Charles

Sir Philip Rookwood is the disgrace of the county. He’s a rake and an atheist, and the rumours about his hellfire club, the Murder, can only be spoken in whispers. (Orgies. It’s orgies.)

Guy Frisby and his sister Amanda live in rural seclusion after a family scandal. But when Amanda breaks her leg in a riding accident, she’s forced to recuperate at Rookwood Hall, where Sir Philip is hosting the Murder. 

Guy rushes to protect her, but the Murder aren’t what he expects. They’re educated, fascinating people, and the notorious Sir Philip turns out to be charming, kind—and dangerously attractive. 

In this private space where anything goes, the longings Guy has stifled all his life are impossible to resist...and so is Philip. But all too soon the rural rumour mill threatens both Guy and Amanda. The innocent country gentleman has lost his heart to the bastard baronet—but does he dare lose his reputation too?

CONTRIBUTOR(S): Cornell Collins (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
YEAR: 2018
LENGTH: 224 pages (7 hours 59 minutes)
AGE: Adult
GENRE: Historical, Romance

Queer Rep Summary: Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s).

BAND SINISTER is a delightful and intimate story, where two men with bad blood between their families, end up closer than they could’ve imagined after Amanda breaks her leg and is forced to convalesce at Phillip’s estate, accompanied by her devoted brother, Guy. Phillip, for his part, is with his dearest friends since boyhood, who have shared every intimacy with one another. Including, to Guy’s astonishment, sexual intimacy among men, the idea of which is as alluring as Phillip himself.

I very much enjoyed the polyamorous tenor of the story. While the main romance is between Guy and Phillip, it’s within the context of Phillip’s longtime friendship, physical intimacy, and bonds deeper than romance with his two friends. The characters are vibrant and distinct, and the cozy setting of the manor house let the romance spend long stretches undisturbed by outside concerns (until near the end when unfortunate relations intrude once more). Amanda has written a novel which is inspired by the rumors about the hellfire club, but they turn out to be very lovely people. She and Guy have some consternation about how to handle the fact that she's written a book based on these people they have now come to know.

I like how cozy this feels, even the minor element of concealing the gothic novel's origins was less stressful than I normally find lying to be in relationships. I wish there were a sequel, but this feels very complete and I'm pleased with the ending.

Graphic/Explicit CW for sexual content, classism.

Moderate CW for injury detail, medical content, medical trauma.

Minor CW for infidelity, homophobia, religious bigotry, racism, slavery.

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Two men and a woman in formal garb stand, arm in arm. The woman is laughing and the men are standing comfortably, one is holding a cane.


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