2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2011
To tell the truth I did not expect much from this book even if I hoped for a couple of hours of easy fun; I stand corrected, at least partially and I am glad about it.
First of all this is a real fantasy novel, not just an excuse of a plot to introduce gay characters in an original setting. Mr Lanyon has apparently read some good authors and has build his own fantasy novel which sports gay characters but can stand on its feet even among general readers.
The setting is clearly and heavily mutuated from the India colonised by the Britons in the XIX century; the author exploits cleverly this setting and faces us with a world in turmoil that provides the necessary stimuli for the action.
The plot is not the most original ever conceived but it is consistent and flows unerringly to its end. The writing is good, proficient, with no frills but not shabby.
The only flaw I could find occurs more or less halfway through the book: the two main characters, up to then slowly building trust and attraction, suddenly find themselves caring for each other a lot. This seems to happen overnight and disrupts the pleasure of seeing them getting to know and love each other. I can only suppose the author cut a couple of chapters he considered unnecessary and did not notice the problem.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2013
Well, well, this is a bit of a departure from the Lanyon novels I have read so far. Instead of what I have come to look at as his trade mark who-dunnit style novels featuring one nervy, self-doubting, often writing hero and a dark, and handsome, square jawed, no nonsense police or detective type confronting crime and danger and their own issues somewhere in the States, here we are in a different world. The two hero types are true Lanyon but it's a world inspired by the Raj, the Anglo-Indian empire and the great mutiny. Strange, as in Major Valentine Strange is a literary brother of Cromwell's Richard Sharpe of the Indian adventures. There are hints of the 'Far Pavilions' of the 'Siege of Krishnapur' even of 'Passage to India' and of Kippling. In some ways this even reminded me of Pratchett's 'Nation' and its parallel British Empire, even though Lanyon's creation is quite capable of standing on it's own feet. Lanyon twists things beyond the usual Indian setting and takes us to a parallel world where India isn't quite India and magic is very much alive and kicking - mostly in the heroes' balls. The heroes being aforementioned Major, formerly of the Benhali Lancers, Valentine Strange and Master Aleister Grimshaw, last survivor of a disgraced colonial family and a witch. The story follows the established fantasy pattern. The heroes go in search of a magical object, face many dangers along the way and come to the brink of the end of the world. Finally, well, ... you better read it for yourself. Meanwhile they discover things about each other and themselves. This is well crafted, like most of Lanyon's novels and he has invested quite some effort in creating his world and making it coherent in itself. The characters are alive and if there is the odd hint of Indiana-Jones-like settings, the story is all the more fun for it. It's a story more elaborate than Lanyon's lighter novels and it has serious points to make about the choice between right and wrong and facing ones own demons etc. The 'romance' side of it is lightly done and never less than simply part of the story that is more a Romance in the classical and fantasy sense of a story of a heroic quest.
I for one hope that Strange follows Sharpe's example and has a few more appearances to make. After 'Strange Fortune' why not go for 'Strange Times' or 'Strange Friends' :-D
on 3 February 2011
I like Kindle but nothing quite beats a nicely turned out paperback and Strange Fortune was just that.
It wasn't the usual murder mystery many readers have come to love from Josh Lanyon but it was still a mystery novel with a few dead people in the mix, (none of whom died from natural causes). It's one big difference was it was set in a mythical land where people practiced magic and witches were commonplace.
Valentine and Grimshaw's relationship is a nice slow burn which grows from mistrust to something worth fighting for and if you are looking for smut then you will be disappointed, that isn't Lanyons style.
A good story well worth reading.
on 28 January 2014
Really enjoyed this book. It was a story to get your teeth into.
The guys were great together, leading us into their attraction to each other rather then getting it on just after meeting each other.
I loved the magic and mysterious intrigue involved. It makes you wonder if we really should be disturbing ancient tombs nowadays.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2010
This should be an out and out 5 star rated book ... it's a walloping great adventure story with 2 sexy just-meant-for-each-other heroes (once they eventually realise it)! Mr Lanyon has also done an excellant job of fantasy world-building - based on a more refreshing eastern-style culture than the usual "medieval european-ish" (although I must say his choice of names for some characters seems oddly out of place for this setting - "Grimshaw" fits better with "Open all hours" or "last of the summer wine" - but I guess the US readers wont notice?)
I ordered my copy from amazon US when it first came out - maybe UK available version is better(?) - but my copy has just too many editing & proof reading mistakes in it ... so many that it did wrench me out of the story at times ... hence I've deducted a star.