Captain’s Surrender by Alex Beecroft




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Captain’s Surrender by Alex Beecroft


Ambitious and handsome, Joshua Andrews had always valued his life too much to take unnecessary risks. Then he laid eyes on the elegant picture of perfection that is Peter Kenyon.

Soon to be promoted to captain, Peter Kenyon is the darling of the Bermuda garrison. With a string of successes behind him and a suitable bride lined up to share his future, Peter seems completely out of reach to Joshua.

But when the two men are thrown together to serve during a long voyage under a sadistic commander with a mutinous crew, they discover unexpected friendship. As the tension on board their vessel heats up, the closeness they feel for one another intensifies and both officers find themselves unable to rein in their passion.

Let yourself be transported back to a time when love between two men in the British Navy was punishable by death, and to a story about love, about honor, but most of all, about a Captain’s Surrender.

[No image because it’s sadly not the best cover art]

*reviewed for Manic Readers Reviews


Joshua Andrews is a young Irishman full of equal parts ambition and shame. His love of the sea is surpassed by nothing except perhaps his self-loathing at his sexual orientation. Although he’s come to terms with the direction his desires lie, he lives in the perpetual shadow of the consequences. Those consequences vividly set an engrossing backdrop as the novel opens with a gruesome and riveting scene of a man executed for the heinous crime of being a sodomite. The specter of such cruelty is still fresh when Josh sees Peter Kenyon, a new officer on their ship and within that one glance; Josh gives both his heart and his secret away.

From that first glance on, “Captain’s Surrender” is a non-stop journey traveling oceans and cultures, featuring romance, honor, expectations, action, dishonor, and finally acceptance. Although described as gay historical erotica, the best description I can give this book is historical fiction. Certainly all of the above elements exist and the romance between Josh and Peter is integral to the storyline, yet that romance barely plays more than a passing interest for almost half the book. Instead, the author delivers a dynamic account of life at sea in all its honest cruelty and purpose.

Without being too gruesome or ineffectual, the power structure aboard a Royal Navy vessel is described and the cruelty of its petty tyrant. The reality of life is not always pretty or easy, a theme repeated throughout the book. The rich imagery of the naval battles allowed me to easily imagine the scenes and fights, complete with the sounds and smells associated. Adding in well-defined characters with a quick moving plot, this story delights on many levels.

Joshua is easily charming with his insecurities and inner melodrama. His belief that he is damned and equally strong belief that he is somehow not worthy of Peter paint a picture of a complicated yet loving young man, struggling against the deep need of what he wants and what he feels he deserves. He’s long come to the conclusion that he will not marry, yet struggles as his lover so blithely discusses an anemic and almost passionless marriage to the daughter of a local wealthy man.  This kind of casual cruelty is the backdrop for Josh and Peter’s illicit love affair dictates by Peter’s whims yet supported by the depth of their mutual need and desire.

Peter has the arrogance and ease of a man who has lived an almost charmed life and privileged life, with little real tests to his ideals and convictions. He has an innocence regarding his beliefs that would be more suited to a much younger man. Through the course of the book, those ideals are repeatedly tested up until his final decisions regarding his life and needs. It takes Peter a long time to accept the truth of his actions and desires, longer than it should have and to realize his own complicity in his affair with Josh. The final realization of his actions and his motivations is a perfect description of the sometimes confused and passive man. Yet above all, his dedication to Josh even in the face of societal standards, danger and his own beliefs, is a remarkable testament to his character.

Although Peter and Josh are the most compelling of the vast cast of characters, they are by far not the only well-written and beautifully drawn ones. The various secondary characters from Captain Walker to Comptroller Summersgill, Onichi and Giniw to name a few, all add a depth to the story amidst the historical setting. Each character has a very real and defined purpose giving a warmth and honesty that adds yet another layer to a complex and well-written tale. Josh’s time with Giniw especially is very refreshing and the necessary catalyst to provoke Peter and Josh out of their safe, yet confining expectations.

While there might have been one or two missteps along the way, they were entirely minor and the lovely prose and story more than made up for any area that was found lacking. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more of Josh with Giniw and Onichi. Their interaction was vital to Josh’s redemption of his own self worth that it would have been nice to expand on that, his decision to leave and how ultimately he returned to Bermuda.  However, these and other slights are small within the vividly lush setting that creates a wonderful story.

As I said at the start of this review, “Captain’s Surrender” reads more of a historical fiction book with elements of action, romance, culture, bigotry, and honor set across the oceans in a stunning tale that delights from the beginning to the end. The lack of explicit sex only adds to the satisfying romance and story of two handsome and stubborn men determined to live their lives together within the British Royal Navy. The author had delivered a wonderfully crafted historical that is sure to please romance lovers.

Get it HERE!

 Read the review at Manic Readers here.

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