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Wicked Gentlemen (Hells Below) [Paperback]

Ginn Hale
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.64
Price: 7.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Paperback: 217 pages
  • Publisher: Blind Eye Books (16 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978986113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978986117
  • Product Dimensions: 20.4 x 13.9 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 326,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fresh approach to fantasy romance 15 July 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
In Wicked Gentlemen, author Ginn Hale takes us to an alterate world where angels who fell from Heaven in Lucifer's war have asked God for salvation and redemption and returned to the human realm. Their children, called Prodigals, now live alongside humans, though tend to be shunned and forced to live in a ghetto called Hells Below.

The main story follows the connection forged between one such Prodigal, Belimai Sykes, and Captain William Harper, an officer in a police force which is more like a priestly order. Technically, it's two books, one told from each of the characters' points-of-view, but it achieves an overall story arch.

This is so much more than a gay romance. Anyone looking for something new should read Wicked Gentlemen. The relationship between Belimai and Harper is so real, despite the supernatural overtones, and the world is one we can probably recognise from our own. Civil rights (in this case for Prodigals), class divisions, family drama, romantic dilemmas, these are all portrayed in an enjoyable and engaging manner for the reader. The villains are also deliciously malicious and we do fear for the characters' safety.

I can't really say how much I enjoyed this book, with the only downside being it was way too short.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Immersive 8 Mar 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this title.
The characters were likeable and not overly complicated, yet they expressed a believable depth, which I tend to find lacking in similar stories.
The plot was unique, I've never read anything to compare it to, and it retained my interest.
I strongly recommend this book if you're looking for a gay fantasy/murder mystery.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wicked Gentlemen - Good and funny 21 Jun 2013
By Aina
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
What an enteraining book. I much appreciated reading a fantasy steampunky novel that actually was well written. I recommend this.
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4.0 out of 5 stars And then what happened?! 11 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wanted more of this book!
I felt it was just a bit too truncated and not fleshed out enough. I'm usually happy to go with the flow and not have everything spelled out but in the case of WG, the rich setting could have done with more explanation. I love the alternate-reality take on Christianity and would have liked to explore the story of the Prodigals leaving hell and the structure of the inquisition-policed society a bit more.
That said, Ginn Hale keeps the pace up and manages to successfully split the story into two parts with different styles of narrative - an interesting move. I really enjoyed her writing style and the fact the decent little plot manages to hold it's own and not just become a vehicle for the slashiness.
If I'd been told it was a book about a flying junkie demon I'd probably not have bothered, but the author manages to carry off the more outré fantasy elements with aplomb.
The characters of Belimai and Harper are engaging and I liked how their relationship was emerging by the end of the book. (I admit I found Belimai a bit whiny at times but that's probably just me). The lack of explicit sex wasn't a disappointment for me, although I would be happy to discover any fanfic that expands on Harper and Belimai's relationship!
I'm looking forward to more from Ginn Hale.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  82 reviews
52 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sequel, please 30 July 2007
By Jem - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hale has put a fantasy twist on a classical historical setting, The Inquisition. During that time in actual history, Roman Catholic zealots persecuted, tortured and killed many people in an effort to "find the truth" (forcefully convert those who didn't believe) and root out "heresy." It was a shocking time in history, and as such, it is a dark but appropriate setting for this story.

Generations ago, the priests of the Inquisition convinced the Lords of Hell to embrace salvation. The descendants of those demon lords are called Prodigals, and they are a heavily persecuted minority easily identified by their black fingernails and unusual eye color. Forbidden to leave the Capital city, or use their demon abilities, they are packed into the Prodigal ghetto called Hells Below. The Inquisition priests are now the only law enforcement and use brutal methods to keep the Prodigals in line. One such Prodigal is Belimai Sykes. He was taken by the priests and forced to "confess." During these interrogations, they addicted him to ophorium, and broke his spirit in the process. William Harper is an Inquisition Captain, who comes to Belimai for help in finding his sister - known for her Prodigal sympathies. She disappeared after many Prodigals turned up mutilated and murdered. This unlikely pair will face dangerous obstacles, and uncover horrifying truths in their investigation. And though they know society will never allow it, they are drawn to each other....

Hale's debut is astonishing and extremely well written. The book flowed smoothly, with a lot of action and great dialog. Belimai's sly comments and secretive nature capture a reader, while Harper's deep desire for justice and happiness are all too real. These two men are so well developed, they come completely to life. They are deeply flawed people, who you can't help but feel for. Their relationship isn't instantaneous - it builds with each chapter as the two become more entwined in the case, and each other. There is sex, but it isn't gratuitous, or graphic. In fact, those moments are revealing and touching as the two men try to find a moment of bliss in their dark world. The mystery of the missing sister and the murdered Prodigals is intricate, with surprising twists that keep a reader guessing what will happen next. Though the ending felt a little rushed, with everything coming to a climax in the last chapter, it was very satisfying. Hale has left room for a sequel, which I can only hope comes to be. I want to spend more time with Prodigals.

This is one of those rare books that will stay with you long after you've finished the last page. Wicked Gentlemen is a delight!
61 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be enthralled by this amazingly well written gay gothic fantasy. 22 July 2007
By R.Parklane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This one transcends my expectation. If this is a debut, I am in awe of this writer's talents. She has created an amazing alternate world which is bleak, stark and disturbing, in which demons live among humans. The demons are the minority and the victims as they are despised and prosecuted in this twisted world.

Her 2 protagonists are most appealing. Belimai Sykes is a private investigator and a descendant of demons imbued with rare powers. He is also a drug junkie and in self exile. He may appear cold and indifferent with his scathing remarks but underneath he is one vulnerable, lonely and tortured man with a terrible past. His hiring by one Captain Harper set off a chain of events which nearly consumed both of them. Captain William Harper is an inquisitor belonging to a sort of priesthood in charge of upholding the law. Harper is an equally fascinating character with his strong sense of justice and quiet solid strength. Harper too has an unhappy past which left him "closed-up" and unable to express his feelings. Both men could not be more different. Yet from the day they met, they held mutual respect for one another which evolve from a one night stand to awkward yet committed lovers. Throughout the story they never utter the 3 words. Yet their love is credible and convincing as they slowly come to understand each other. Their few confrontations are such emotional and bittersweet moments.

The plot is highly original, fascinating, fast paced, exciting, with never a dull moment. There are twisted elements of religion here which add to the dark tone of the story. The story is divided into 2 parts. The first part is told through Belimai's intense and distinct narration. The second part is expressed from Harper's view point and just as effective and engrossing. I found myself holding my breath frequently and was glued to the book until the ending. And what a satisfying ending. If only there are more on these 2 characters. Read this. You will not be disappointed.
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All Hail, Ginn Hale 15 Oct 2007
By Blake Fraina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Did you ever finish a book only to feel sad that you can never again open it anew and discover its delights for the very first time? Rarely if ever, I'm sure. Well for me, Wicked Gentlemen is one of those books.

And I am completely envious of any lover of dark fantasy and/or gay romance who has yet to crack the spine on this gem.

First time novelist Ginn Hale has created a world so tangible, so complete, that I felt as if I could smell, see, taste and feel everything right along with her characters. The basic premise, an alternate reality (resembling a gaslit, Victorian England) wherein a corrupt theocracy has called up the descendants of ancient Biblical demons (Prodigals) with promises of redemption only to ghettoize and oppress them, comments on a number of modern day social ills but never comes across as obviously didactic or preachy. In addition it has a complex plot, part mystery and part thriller, that's never short on nailbiting moments. But for me the most enjoyable aspects of the story were the two amazingly complex, yet subtly drawn, protagonists and the tender love story that develops between them. With her characters, Hale never hits a false note. She shows, never tells - meaning that one learns about the tortured, drug-addicted Prodigal, Belimai Sykes, and reserved priest/police captain, William Harper, from their actions, rather than a lot heavy handed exposition. They can be infuriating as often as they are endearing, but these contradictions only make them seem, like everything else in the book, utterly real.

And they're sexy, too.

This is a wonderful novel. I hope that positive word-of-mouth continues to bring it the legion of fans it deserves.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant and lovely 27 July 2007
By Amy Lane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's been a long time since I've been moved to review something, but this book was something exquisitely special.

The author very skillfully gave us just enough information about this world where 'Prodigals' (descendents of fallen angels) roamed the earth--but thanks to mankind's predictable bigotry, never in actual freedom. I was not overwhelmed with 'world building' but I was intrigued by twisted Miltonian version of Victorian England, where the upright (and uptight) Inquisitors (priests/policemen) walked the gas-lighted streets above, and the Prodigals carved out an existance in the 'Hell's Below'. The love story between Bellamai (and isn't that a delicious name? I've been whispering it to myself all day as I read) and the young Inquisitor who hires him is pressurized with all of the things not said. Bellamai is perverse, prickly, almost paralyzed with self-loathing, and this makes his vulerability to his new lover just that much more poignant. William Harper has been hiding everything--from his sexuality to his love of the beautiful, supposedly damned 'Prodigals'--under his oppressive Inquisitor's cloak. His complete protectiveness towards Bellamai (and the very masculine refusal to talk about their relationship in any but the most sideways terms) made their moments of contact, of exposure, all the more beautiful.

This was a surprising and romantic book--and it will haunt me pleasantly for a wonderful, long time.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 29 Oct 2007
By Luna Eclipse - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This multi-faceted gem of a book tells the fascinating tale of an alternate reality England in which the Inquisition is still in full swing, demons exist and are considered second class citizens, and a man of the cloth must seek out the help of one such creature to uncover the mystery behind some very grisly murders. Part murder mystery, part dark urban fantasy, and part gay romance, the author has deftly and seemlessly managed to combine multiple genres to create one hell of a story. This book is exciting, action-packed and sexy, and kept me guessing the whole way.

What I appreciate most about this book however, is the romance that developed between the two main characters and how greatly it differed from other books with this same subject matter. I've read dozens of books in the past in which gay characters would fall head-over-heels in love with each other at first sight, being all lovey-dovey and extremely irritating as well. In Wicked Gentlemen though, the relationship between Belimai and Harper is refreshingly saccharin-free and actually quite realistic, and rather than detract from the story (as is the case all too often in other gay romance books) it actually added to it.

There is alot of character development, and I really got a feel for all the characters and what they were going through. Belimai was definately my favorite though, and his sharp wit and caustic remarks had me cracking up. I can't possibly recommend this book highly enough, so you should definately check it out. I'm sure you'll love it as much as I have.
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