Think of England - K.J. Charles

I'd picked up this one a while back, when I was browsing through the m/m historical fiction ebooks, but had never got round to actually reading it...

 

Anyway, Think of England is set in the early part of the 20th century when one of our main characters (Archie Curtis) is still recovering from his experiences during the Boer War - he had been seriously wounded, losing part of his hand, not in a battle but when a load of sub-standard guns exploded and many of his colleagues were killed or seriously injured. We learn in the beginning of the book that he has recently been visited by the man whose company made the guns in question and who had alleged they had been sabotaged by one of his business rivals.

 

Curtis ends up accepting an invitation to the country home of said businessman in the hope that he will be able to uncover evidence of this claim - he's not the only person invited and the other guests are a cross-section of middle and upper class England of the time. Daniel da Silva is 'not one of us', a well-dressed poet whose sexuality is immediately apparent and who has a talent for making quips which cause Curtis all sorts of discomfort. As Curtis discovers, however, da Silva is also there for more than one reason and they form an uncomfortable alliance to figure out what is going on and also stay alive long enough to provide the evidence for it.

 

What really works well for me is the atmosphere provided by the author and the ways in which da Silva in particular is 'other', though as they discover he is not alone in this. It's a well-written story which makes me want to read more by this author and I'm also pleased to hear that there's a further book featuring these characters in the works, given the set-up for more at the end of Think of England. My only minor caveat is that I'm not convinced that the man on the cover and the mental image I have for Curtis really work too well together, since the way he's described at times makes me think more 'rugby player' than 'man in tux'.