A Gentleman’s Position, K.J. Charles
I love K.J.Charles writing – and this series is another winner for me. The Magpie books will always be special to me with their blend of magic but this series, set in what feels like a similar time but without magic is a treat to read.
As always its full of rich and sometimes obscure language, where English is used to the fullest ability, where I have to look up words 😉 gamahuching….that’s a new one to me, but the way the words are used adds to the feel of being back in time. If you ever read WW1 poetry and think how rich, lustrous, incredible it is, how the words take us right back in time to the mud of the trenches and the despair at how its so different from what they were told, and then consider how many of todays 18+ could write something like that, then it shows how much beauty of language, the nuances that make it special, the descriptive words that mean choosing exactly the right one and not one that will do has been lost. Annd I’ve rambled again…sorry.
So we’re back with the Ricardians, that little group who enjoy love but not as society deems it legal, right or moral. That’s awful, that people are so obsessed about who someone else loves – sadly its still very true 100 or so years on, though at least legal in some countries.
Its been clear from that past few books that Richard and his valet Cyprian have feelings for each other which they both hide deeply. I love Cyprian’s character, he moves silently, knows everything and everyone, all their secrets, who is best placed to do what – or that’s how he makes it seem. He’s been instrumental in helping the group hide and getting them out of the scrapes they find themselves in.
This time with things between him and Richard coming to a head and going awry just at the time he’s most needed it all looks set to crumble. No-one knows what to do without him, they need him. Ash, gentle puppylike Ash, brother to the Lord Maltravers has done something that risks them all and Lord M looks set to cause serious harm to the group. He’s been looking for a way to get revenge on Francis, to bring down Lord Richard and teams up with one of Dominic’s assistants to bring in Silas for sedition.. Cyprian’s expertise is needed but due to the rift Richard can’t just say – as he does “see to it Cyprian”. They need him, without his special brand of genius, without his way of making things happen, of seeing who can help and what’s needed they risk losing their freedom.
I love the way KJC makes me look at things from Richard’s viewpoint and I’m nodding and agreeing with him, and then from Cyprian’s view and again I’m thinking “ yes, exactly”. Its a hard line to tread, protective or overbearing, is Richard trying to stick to his morals in not pursuing anything with Cyprian because its an abuse of power, or is he doing Cyprian a disservice, treating him as though he doesn’t know his own mind? Tough line, and one that’s so relevant in many situations.
When it comes to the final countdown, sorting out the mess the Ricardians face, Cyprian is at his very best, and once more I’m full of admiration for him, the way he so succinctly assesses what’s needed, and swiftly sets about putting it into action, moving people and places, deftly sliding everything into position for the final dénouement – and oh how successful that was.
A terrific read, kept me glued to the page once more, and full of amazement at KJC’s talent for writing stories that are full of mystery and yet reality, people who feel so genuine, some I love and some I love to hate. I feel as if I’m there with them, worrying and wondering, grieving when love looks to be lost and then feeling ecstatic when things go right. Roll on the next book 🙂
Stars: Five, another wonderful, rich delve into history and the life of the Ricardians.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.