Gerry B's Book Reviews

Men of Honor: Pirates of the Narrow Seas, #2, by M Kei

A swashbuckling adventure and Romance

Peter Thorton and his lover set out on a quest to rescue a captive duke who is the pretender to the throne of Portugal. Thorton is arrested and placed on trial for desertion and sodomy. Men of Honor continues the further adventures of a gay officer during the Age of Sail, replete with perils, excitement, and nautical detail. Alex Beecroft, author of ‘False Colors,’ says it’s “a book which can stand comparison with C. S. Forester’s Hornblower.”

Available in eBook format

Review by Gerry Burnie

Some time ago I reviewed Pirates of the Narrow Seas 1: Sallee Rovers, and gave it a five star rating—even though I had some minor reservations about pace. I also have some reservations about M Kei’s latest in the series, Men of Honor: Pirates of the Narrow Seas, #2, [, 2010] but there are enough good things to say about it that I think I can go five stars as well.

M Kei is a good, solid writer. Therefore all the technical stuff regarding sentence and paragraph structure, as well as syntax, are a given. Likewise his descriptions—especially of things nautical—are vivid and colourful, and therefore the reader has no difficulty being transported back in time. However, since I wouldn’t know a marlin spike from a hat pin, I agree with one reviewer who observed that the tactical side of the sea battles were a bit mind boggling. On the other hand, they certainly were pulse-raising with their violent bombardments, and gratuitous blood shedding.

As regards characterization, in volume #1 I disliked Perry as being too stuffy and ambitious, liked Tangle for being swashbuckling, and sort-of liked Peter Thornton as being idealistically naïve. Shakil, of course, had just been introduced toward the end of #1, and so it was really too early to tell, In Men of Honor, however, I found Perry just as dislikeable (for the same reasons), Tangle an opportunist, and Peter just as naïve, but a little less likeable [e.g. his automaton’s sense loyalty toward the British Navy that had little toward him in the past]. Nevertheless, I believe it was the author’s intent to give Peter these less-than-ideal characteristics, and as such things like “like” and “dislike” are at the discretion of the reader.

As for Shakil, it is difficult to say. I liked him, even admired him for having a core of steel draped in velvet, but I could not quite get excited about his personality.  He just seemed too ‘perfect’ for me. However, once again I suspect the author has introduced him as much for a future reason as his role in this novel. We will see.

Altogether I have no hesitation in highly recommending Men of Honor: Pirates of the Narrow Seas, #2, as being a darned good read, and look forward to reading volume #3—the finale. Five Stars.


Visitor count to Gerry B’s Book Reviews: 12,152

Watch for the Kindle and Nook versions of Two Irish Lads coming next week. The publisher this time round is Maple Creek Media. Check them out for good service and good prices.


I have approved the interior concept for Nor all Thy Tears: Journey to Big Sky, and am awaiting the final cover proof. Once both of those had been approved, it will go to press. The release date has therefore been shoved back to early August.


Progress on Coming of Age on the Trail: 145/182 – It should be ready for a September/October release.

Have a great summer!


July 24, 2011 - Posted by | Fiction, Gay fiction, Gay historical fiction, Gay romance, Historical Fiction, Historical period, Military history

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