Friday, January 18, 2013

Under the Rushes

"Under the Rushes" by Amy Lane

Steampunk meets Batman and HOLY COW!

Very Highly Recommended

How do you break a man? You take away the things most important to him. Destroy them, or give them back broken.

Ten years ago, Dorjan allowed himself to believe in his country, his leaders, and his duty. That childish way of life lead to his leaders betraying him, using him to hurt and kill innocent persons, and almost to his own death. Injured, he is used as a scapegoat and barely escapes with his health and sanity. Unfortunately for his best friend Areau, the same can’t be said about him.

Dorjan has loved Areau like a brother for his whole life, and while his friend isn’t gay, they two couldn’t be closer than most lovers. When Dorjan’s father risks everything to return Areau home, stealing him from the very men who hurt and used his son, Dorjan again knows the bitter taste of betrayal.

Now Dorjan is working from within the system, trying to affect change. By day, he’s part of the government. But at night, he’s…something more. Someone who prowls the night, costumed, helping those who most need him and battling to keep the streets clean. It’s there he meets Taern. Funny how fate throws people together again and again, until they get the message. This time, Taern is a young man working the streets, proud, funny and strangely hopeful.

As Dorjan, in concert with his old friend Areau—now…broken and in a strange, horrible relationship with Dorjan—strive to take down the cancer killing their country, Taern is added to the volatile mix. Will it help? Or will it be the final piece, the straw that breaks the camel’s back for Dorjan? Will he be forced to pay the ultimate price?

I’m not normally a fan of steampunk. I find it a little…too much, too noisy and busy and just plain weird. But, damn it, Amy Lane has taken the genre by the short, curly ones, thrown in a liberal dash of Batman and Robin, added a dash of hot gay lovin’ and given us a dashing, entertaining and oddly moving and deep tone poem on love, duty, sacrifice and good old fashioned derring-do.

I was by turns laughing and gasping at shocks to my heart with these characters. Dorjan, whose sense of honor runs so deep he is willing to give and give to the last drop of blood in his body, was the perfect hero. He has a heart so huge, and a will to match it. Faced with loss and heartbreak at every turn, he keeps plodding, one foot in front of the other, resigned to his fate.

Then we have Taern, the perfect foil to Dorjan’s seriousness. Sensual, fun, sexy and stubborn, he is reluctant and wary to give his heart, but quickly and completely falls for Dorjan. He takes it upon his young shoulders to carry the extra load of Dorjan’s burden, and makes it his mission to ensure the big man succeeds, but survives. He is the perfect companion for the seriousness that is Dorjan.

But it is Areau that captivates me. As beautiful inside as he is on the outside, he is brutally treated by those in power, broken physically, mentally and spiritually. Dorjan makes it his mission to cobble Humpty Dumpty back together, but the man that is left…he’s just not the boy Dorjan knew. What he does, what he has become, broke my heart.

Ah, but his redemption; glorious. I think he stands among Amy’s most memorable characters. I adored him, and grieved for him every moment of the story. What he went through, what he became, the potential — just heartbreaking. But then…ah, I can’t ruin the story for you.

And that’s the sign of a wonderful story. It makes you want to grab everyone you come in contact with, and force them to sit and listen to you rave about it and insist they read it. Kind of like I am doing with you right now, as I think on it.

So quit reading now, go to your friendly bookseller, and buy this epic. Now! What are you waiting for?!?



  1. *weeps a little in gratitude and joy* God, Tom-- reading your reviews makes writing the book worth it. I'm SOOOOOOO so glad you loved this story. This one was a heartbreaker to write, and I"m so glad it was worth it to read. *cries a little more*

  2. A wonderful review for a fabulous book. Good job, Tom!

  3. Why is it that reading your reviews always gets me excited about new books? Amy is always a "must buy" for me, but somehow I missed seeing this one. And one of the characters (Areau) is among her most memorable? Excuse me for not hanging around but I need to run get this one. Thanks!

  4. Tom,
    Every single review you write brings another book to my Kindle. Your review have never lead me wrong, and I love Amy Lanes books. I love emotional stories that make me love, laugh and cry. All emotions that make us human.
    Off to by this book, and ready for another emotional adventure.
    Thank you!


  5. This was an AMAZING read!! I loved it, too! Your review nails it!!

  6. I'm reading this for the M/M Romance Group and thank goodness they made this choice. I'm a huge Amy Lane fan anyway, so I would have eventually gotten to this one, but I'm so glad it ended up on my radar now. Fascinating characters, from Dorjan and Areau to their new companions, Taern and lady Krissy. She is another amazing person coming in to help Areau heal. Loved them all and I haven't even finished reading it yet. Thanks, Tam