The Blood Of Kings - Michael Curlovich

Ladymol's Review

I really enjoyed this easy to read book and finished it off in one day. It’s not graphic or explicit in anyway, although totally steeped in male on male sex.

Jamie is a young man who wants desperately to leave his hometown. He has a brief and brilliant affair with his best friend on the High School swim team, Tim, but Tim won’t come out and when caught by the coach, backs off Jamie and deserts Jamie for college.

Undeterred, Jamie follows him to the same college and they start up again, in a desultory let’s-not-be-seen-together way. This unsatisfactory relationship culminates in Tim declaring that he’s going to get married. Jamie isn’t as heartbroken as he’d expected because he’s just met the gorgeous Professor Danilo, an expert in Egyptology. Although he’s studying music, Jamie takes a summer course with the professor and ends up becoming his research assistant to earn some extra money.

Other things succeed in taking Jamie’s mind off Tim’s betrayal: a serial killer is loose on the campus, killing young men in ritual sacrifice.

Who is Danilo? Why is he so interested in Jamie? The story ploughs along with great intensity and easy writing that’s fun to read. I particularly liked the way the author took the theme of homosexuality and turned it into something akin to a thread of power that only runs through those that have the “blood of kings”. The place of homosexual men in history is taken and dissected in a novel and engaging way. If I had an older teenage son who was having trouble coming to terms with his sexuality, I would consider giving him this book. I think it would be enormously comforting and encouraging to see what great company he was in.

I think this book was written to be a first of a series—the ending certainly made me feel that the author didn’t want to close off all his avenues.

I recommend this one as a pleasant easy read with no sex discussed in terms more explicit than “we made love”.

Oh, an as an afterthought, how spooky is this? I’m doing a project for my son’s homework (what? Some kids do their own course work? No!), writing his name in hieroglyphics. This book came as I was in the middle of it. I opened it at random. There was the name Jamie (same as my son) in hieroglyphics. I’m trying to work out the chances of that being random.


Cerisaye's Review

Simplistic style with choppy sentence structure is a real turn-off with this book, published by Alyson not some vanity press or POD.  My hopes were raised by the synopsis- gay vampires and Egyptology, how could you lose?  Perhaps my expectations were too high.  We’re eclectic in our tastes here, and pretty damn tolerant, but we insist upon good writing, and I’m afraid this book doesn’t make the grade.   

Swimmer-boy Jamie is hurting from an on-off affair with high school sweetheart Tim, so deep in the closet he gets married for cover.  To keep his mind off the heartache he buries himself in work.  That means playing Chopin and exploring his new-found interest in a pair of Kissing Kings (Akhenaten and son Smenkhare ) shown to him by enigmatic professor of Egyptology, Danilo Semencaru.  Turns out they’re powerful vampires with a bloodline extending through the ages.  Danilo wants Jamie to learn all about them and the Set cult.  Of course he also wants into his pants.  And Jamie is eager to play footsie.  Though the clever professor makes him wait ever so long, teasing with a kiss here, a touch there.  Wish  I could say the sex makes up for other inadequacies (hey, I forgive much for hot man2man action), but the author isn’t any better at erotic writing. 

I got so annoyed I wanted to fling the book away. But I read on.  Easier when you can vent your spleen in a vitriolic review. It’s a short book but it took days because I kept putting it down.  Given the pile of gay DVDs seducing me away, I confess I skimmed most of it. 

There’s a subplot involving gruesome serial killings of young men on the university campus.  Eviscerated by someone or something hungry for blood. 

Danilo takes Jamie down to the basement to show off his mummy collection, warning him under no circumstances must he venture below into the sub-levels of catacombs…so it’s only a matter of time before he does precisely that.  What happens next is like something out of the backroom in QAF’s Babylon.   

 I like the premise that gay men have the blood of ancient Egyptian kings.  Danilo says to refuse the power of this blood by not accepting what you are is to collude with extreme homophobes who’d refuse gay men their right to exist.  Denial of their nature a kind of living death.  Danilo shows Jamie his shrine to famous gay people from history, kings & queens, politicians, writers, artists, composers, philosophers.  This recognition of homosexual achievement is empowering.  Gay people are normally ignored in historical records, or, like Abe Lincoln, it’s claimed they couldn’t possibly be gay because there wasn’t such a thing before the 20th C.  Look at the recent controversy over Oliver Stone’s film about Alexander the Great.  Even the watered down version that made the final cut caused offence because it showed a lover of men.  History has been doctored like the Soviet Union used to wipe out those who fell from favour.  Reclaiming the past is part of Gay Pride.  So, good ideas, great vampire mythology, shame that bad writing limits expression and development. 

Danilo is interesting but I couldn’t buy Jamie as the love of his life, Antinous to his Hadrian.  Don’t waste your time and money.  Better to read LadyM’s stories or Michael Schiefelbein’s excellent Vampire Vow and Vampire Thrall.  

Alyson Publications ISBN: 1555838855

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