Wednesday, November 9, 2011

By Honor Betrayed by Alex Beecroft


Lieutenant Conrad Herriot and Seaman Tom Cotton have been master and servant for over a decade, and friends for almost as long. When Tom is injured during a skirmish, Conrad forgets himself and rushes to Tom's side, arousing suspicion about the true nature of their relationship.

All Tom wants is the chance to consummate their love and embark on a new life together, outside the law that condemns them. Yet he fears Conrad won't risk his career and his honor to become Tom's lover.

Conrad believes his lust for Tom will damn his soul. There's also their difference in class-a gentleman doesn't socialize with a common tar. As Conrad struggles to refute the gossip on the ship, he must decide whether to commit the crime the crew's already convicted them of, or part from Tom for good to save both their necks...

Reviewers: Fashionta
The theme of forbidden love in the Age of Sail always held a special fascination for me. I suppose it's the constant fear of being discovered in such a confined space as ship quarters that piques my interest even more.

And what a terrific book! I had almost forgotten how perfectly Alex Beecroft has mastered this genre. She gives us a wonderful love story, fabulous action with an exciting plot. It is beautifully written and as always very well researched.

Right from the start we jump into the action. Lt. Conrad Herriot intends to surprise a pirate ship which is lying at anchor near the French coast. From there everything goes extremely fast and as always the description is so vivid and lively that you cannot but savor each moment of it.

Towards the end of the battle Conrad sees Tom, his servant and friend, being hit by a blade and totally loses the ability to think straight. He concentrates on fighting trying to drown dark thoughts that are almost suffocating him. When everything is over he rushes to Tom like a madman, totally ignoring his captain and another officer. That day will be the turning point in both their lives.

Tomorrow he will have to face Captain Fortescue and explain the disturbing display of concern he showed towards Tom, but in the meantime he is sent to his cabin to get some well deserved sleep.

Tom wakes him up as the ship pitches and tosses her way through a winter squall and a wonderful scene ensues. They try to act as usual, but fail miserably; something is in the air, a very tangible tension and on top of that the ocean is raging, torrents of water pouring between planks above their head. They scarcely say a word, but a wealth of meaning is in their silence and the way they keep staring at each other.

Tom's eloquent soft brown eyes say it all. He has long ago admitted to himself his love for Conrad and for nearly ten years has been patiently waiting for some sign his feelings are returned. Unlike Tom, Conrad is constantly fighting with himself and until now, he has always been in denial, always panicking and pushing any dangerous thoughts away. He is terrified to cross the threshold. He dreads the day when he will have to choose between... love and everything else. He knows deep down that now it is only a matter of time.

The interview with Captain Fortescue doesn't go over well. Conrad has to justify his behavior towards Tom, explaining their friendship that started when he arrived at the ship, a thirteen year old midshipman, and Tom, a boy born and grown at sea, showed him the ropes. When later he bought the comission he managed to keep Tom as a servant. The Captain decides to separate them and reassigns Tom elsewhere, although they have done nothing wrong. It's so unfair!

Years of repressed emotions with Tom by his side had been frustrating, sometimes even painful but also full of intense happiness. It's life without him from now on that would be hell on earth.

Fortunately the story is far from being finished. It is only the beginning and there is more hardship the heroes will have to endure and more obstacles to overcome. Conrad will have to go against everything he has been taught to save them both and surrender his heart and soul to Tom.

I devoured this book in exactly the same way I had False Colors and Captain's Surrender.
I didn't want this story to end. I am just waiting for the next one. I give 5/5.

Publishing Date: Nov. 7, 2011
Publisher: Carina Press
Review Courtesy Of: NetGalley


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