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review 2016-07-24 05:29
The Gentleman
The Gentleman: A Novel - Leo E. Forrest

I knew I would like Lionel Savage from the start. The poor poet's not impoverished for a lack of sales but from spending his income on books. To climb out of poverty's pit, he hatches a quixotic scheme that lands him in an unhappy marriage to a "vapid, timid, querulous creature," whom Savage accidentally ends up selling to the devil at yet another of the new bride's insufferable masquerades. One thing leads to another, and Savage and a motley cast of characters embark on a madcap adventure to Hades, Hell, Sheol, and/or the Underworld, in order to bring her back.


The Gentleman is Forrest Leo's first book, and I certainly hope it won't be his last as this zany, witty, light-hearted novel is entertaining, fast-paced, and fun. The illustrations are a nice addition to the plot, and I particularly enjoyed the repartee between Savage and his butler Simmons. (Think Jeeves and Wooster-- but with Jeeves willing to strip down to his skivvies for the sake of art!)


The Gentleman is just what I needed to help pull me out of the doldrums that this current election-cycle has me in. It was nice to be able to sit back for a few hours, drink a pot of tea, and enjoy a book that really needs to be made into a movie or Broadway show just as quickly as possible.


One thing this world needs more of is fun, and Forrest Leo delivers.


I recommend this to fans of P.G. Wodehouse and as a nice companion read to go along with "The Devil and Tom Walker."


(ARC, but views my own.)


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review 2014-04-14 04:46
Swordspoint - Ellen Kushner

Authors are often told to write a story, than cut the first few chapters. The advice is meant to put the reader closer to the action and shear away the backstory. Such advice would have served Kushner well.


Once you've trudged through the first eighty pages, Swordspoint casts you into a story full of intrigues and scheming nobles. The highborn settle matters of honor by hiring swordsmen to offer contest to the offending party. Such conflicts often involve two swordsmen, each championing the cause of their respective patron. Public shame is heaped on the losing side who are forced to flee the city and lick their wounds in seclusion.



All nobles seek out the famed swordsman Richard St Vier first, a man unmatched in the deadly art. But nobles play a mortal game, one in which a sword stands little hope.  Each noble seeks to bend Richard St Vier to their plots. There was a time when such a possibility didn't exist. But that was before Richard found Alec,


Love is a double-edged sword. To grasp it is to feel it's bite. There is a certainty in pain, a promise of life, of living. Richard understands the cost of love, even as his exposed wounds leave him vulnerable to the cruel highborn who seek to control him.


You'll want to read this book. After it picks up its stride, it's not enough to stop and wait for tomorrow. Each chapter increases the stakes. The prose is clean and flows. The characters are breathing and real, and the plot is layered and complicated.


Had Kushner cut the first eighty pages, this book would have earned a spot on the exceptional shelf; those books which resuscitate the imagination with charged air. As it stands, it assures a purchase of the sequal  The Fall of the Kings

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