Anybody who has read my reviews before knows how much I love it when an author manages to surprise me. To say The Tide of War managed to amaze me would be an understatement. I knew I wasn’t about to start reading a typical m/m romance when I first opened this book, but little did I realize I was about to lose myself in a tale that would break my heart, make me angry, scare me and leave me with rather big and disturbing issues to think about. And while all of that happened, I also fell in love with two beautiful men. In other words, this book blew me away.
As I said, this is not your typical romance. While the Kyle and Andrei do come together in this book, the relationship between them isn’t what this story is about. In fact, when the story starts both men are married. Kyle is in a marriage of convenience to keep his homosexuality a secret with a woman he adores and admires in many ways, and who has reasons similar to Kyle’s for the facade. Andrei is bi-sexual and very happily married to a woman who not only accepts his attraction to men, but actively encourages him to explore that side of himself. So if you are worried about whether or not there’s any cheating going on in this book, the answer is no. There’s no cheating because there are no secrets.
There is also little to no sex. It happens and is referred to but don’t open this book in the hope of finding lengthy and exciting sex scenes because you won’t find any. Because that is not what this story is about.
This is a story about the horrors of war and the lengths our leaders are prepared to go to for what they perceive to be the greater common good – regardless of the price innocent bystanders may have to pay. This book is about good people doing what they think is right only to discover they’ve been used. This story tells about people stepping up to do the right thing, despite the personal risks involved. The conflict in this book is one without easy answers and all the more intriguing for it.
I realize I’m being rather mysterious in my description, but I feel I should be. It would be a crying shame if I spoiled this story for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
This is not an easy read. There is an awful lot of pain and heartbreak in this story. Kyle and Andrei both face their worst nightmares and have to find a way to keep on going regardless. Their journey had me reading with tears in my eyes several times. But, while the reading may not have been easy, it was very smooth and I found myself unable to put the book down once the story and characters had drawn me in.
While Kyle and Andrei are definitely the main characters and stars in this story, I like that both their women were described as strong and at least equal to the men they shared their lives with. Truly strong women can be few and far between in novels and it was wonderful to encounter them in a book where they weren’t even the main focus of the story.
One thing puzzles me about this book. I had figured out what was going on almost from the start, but I can’t for the life of me figure out whether or not that was intentional on the author’s part. Should I have reached my conclusions at the same time the characters reached theirs or was I supposed to have a head start on them? Even now that I’ve finished the book I don’t know the answer to that question. Not that it matters. The fact that I knew what was coming didn’t make me hurt any less for the characters when they discovered the truth. I cried for them, stared at my screen wondering how anybody could find the strength to go on after what they’d endured.
The worrying thing, for me at least, is that it all made a horrible kind of sense. Not that I would or could condone what happened in this book but I have absolutely no problem believing that those in power might orchestrate something like what’s described in this book and even convince themselves it was the ‘right’ thing to do. And that scares the bejaysus out of me. I would like to say a whole lot more about this topic but I’m having a problem avoiding spoilers as it is, so I’d better stop now.
It is fair to say this book made me ask myself questions such as, how would I react? What would I do? How would I cope? Would I even cope? I love it when a book does that. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next. While the book doesn’t hang on a cliffhanger, the story is far from over when we leave Kyle and Andrei and I’m delighted I’ll get to spend more time with them.
Finally I would like to say that I’m in awe of Lori Witt. It doesn’t matter what she writes, what genre she tackles, or what the gender or orientation of her main characters may be. Every single book I’ve read by this author has impressed me in some way, shape or form while the ideas behind one or two of them (this book included) will stay with me for a very long time. I’m truly grateful Lori A. Witt is as prolific as she is and that I’m nowhere near catching up with all her older titles yet. J