The Velvet Web - Christopher Summerisle
Okay, this is not great literature. You're going to forget the boys' names a few days after reading this. But I guarantee you'll enjoy this book while you are reading it! (and I advise not doing that on a train or work, or anywhere public, really).
It's porn. Let's not mistake that.
Don't buy this book if you want a gay romance and are a bit iffy on graphic details. You get graphic all the way through, great graphic: pounding, relentless, hot. It's such a relief (tee hee) after all the literary pretensions of something like At Swim, Two Boys, which bored me to death.
Set in the nineteenth century, a young man enters a remote college in England, thinking he's been invited there to use the library. He soon finds out that the college is a secret sect of young men, dedicated to the religion of fucking! He soon gets sucked (tee hee again) in, and starts to enjoy every moment of the rituals and gradual breaking in. There's almost every position described in loving, hot detail, and lots of nice variety in setting.
It's a visual book. You can conjure great images because the scenes are so vividly described.
There's just enough characterisation and plot to make you stay with the book as a novel, and not just skim the pages to find the next great scene.
If you are
put off by too graphic sex, and prefer a novel you can lose yourself in emotionally,
then this one is probably not for you. But, if you want to dip into your
first gay porn, or enjoy porn and want to read a really good one, I recommend
this book highly.
It is 1889 and a young man innocent in the ways of the world arrives at secluded Calverdale College. This institution, hidden deep in the English countryside, has a rather unorthodox curriculum.
Daniel McGaw is a history student fresh from Cambridge researching the life and writings of Calverdale's founder, Robert Hanbury, 6th earl. Publicly pious, Hanbury led a bizarre double life, professing his true faith as the religion of kissing and sucking.
You've probably guessed by now where this is headed. Unabashed gay male erotica, i.e. porn. If that's not your cup of tea, then I wouldn't bother reading further.
Hanbury considered sex an act of worship subject to strictures he laid down to control the brotherhood. To give one amusing example, each initiate takes turn to lie fallow for a season, like a farmer's field, unable to indulge in pleasures of the flesh. Any deviation from the rules is punished severely.
Okay, it's not literature but it's reasonably well written by the standards of the genre, and makes an enjoyable read for those not averse to graphic and unrelenting gay sex. It includes non consensual and BDSM scenes, so be warned, the book is probably not for you if you're seeking gentle romance. There's oodles of sex but not a lot of joy or passion it has to be said.
I'll be frank here, this is masturbatory material.
Plot and characterisation are entirely incidental. It doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is.
Daniel is drawn into a world of secret passages, hidden chambers, and forbidden texts. He's initiated into the rites of the orgiastic sect, the velvet web that binds all at Calverdale to secrecy lest they be exposed as perverts.
It's all terribly gothic. In fact it made me think of Hammer House of Horror movie classics, with their very 60s take on 19th century hair, clothes and make-up. It's difficult not to laugh at lines like "I feel sure there is more spunk to be drawn out of my thing." There's an original comparison of anal sex to the eating of olives, an acquired taste, but before you know it you're cramming things down your throat. The college has a buttery that seems to exist only to provide the copious amounts of lube the brothers get through pursuing their religion It's all about sustaining maximum pleasure by exercising restraint, no tenderness or love permitted.
Daniel is different. His passion is awakened by the freely available sex at Calverdale, but for him it's not enough. He falls in love with Stefan, a French boy even more innocent then he is. Will he prove strong enough to break free of the web and find his way to his heart's desire? Read the novel and find out.
Publisher: Idol Press in the UK, London Bridge Trade in the USA. ISBN 0352332085
Buy it from Amazon UK Here
Back to Fiction Review Index