Book Review – The Butcher and the Beast by Sean Michael

Genre: Historical Gay Romance
Publisher: Torquere Press (May 13, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN: 9781102392163

About the book:

“Stephen is a doctor, a practical man who wishes his sister wouldn’t worry so about the pirates that plague their island home. So it’s ironic that Stephen himself is set upon by just those pirates, who carry him off to heal their wounded captain.

John is a pirate Captain, master of his fate, and used to getting what he wants. And he decides he wants Stephen, even when the good doctor wants nothing more than to run away from him. Can the beast convince the doctor the sailors call the butcher to stay with him?”


‘The Butcher’ is the hapless and mild-mannered Doctor Stephen Grey who gets kidnapped while walking the docks one night in Santa Maria – a fictional outpost of the British Empire supposedly set in the swash-buckling pirate era (although the time period itself is never clear). Stephen is a bit of a straight-laced character, a very proper gentleman, very straight (or so he thinks) and engaged to the local governor’s daughter.

‘The Beast’ is the pirate Captain John who has sustained an almost fatal injury, and thus, kidnaps the doctor to have his wounds attended to. He promises the doctor that he “will be released when [he] no longer [has] need of [him].” Captain John is also very, very gay. And not above rape.

The doctor and the pirate end up disagreeing about when this ‘no longer needing him’ part occurs. Captain John turns out to be a lecherous lout who decides that he is ‘in lust’ with Stephen, and pretty much won’t let him go until he has had his ‘way’ with him. I’ve read some bad historical romances in my time, and this is the part where the hero usually ravishes the heroine against her will, but since there are no real ‘rapes’ in romance novels, the reluctant heroine usually ends up succumbing to passion and surrenders to the hero. Well, that’s exactly what happens here, only Stephen is a man.

There were many things I didn’t like about this novel (the virtual lack of plot, the pretentious dialogue, complete lack of character growth other than sexual…), but I’ll just focus on the part I really hated. I’ve never really liked novels where there is virtually rape – it doesn’t really matter to me if the ‘victim’ eventually feels aroused and becomes a willing sexual participant – it does start out with the ‘victim’ trying to defend herself (or in this case, himself) against unwanted sexual attentions. That’s the part I don’t like about this novel – it feeds into that ‘gay man is a sexual predator’ thing who converts an otherwise ‘straight guy’. In this case, Stephen is initially appalled and disgusted by John’s sexual attentions – but eventually John ‘turns’ Stephen and kindles or awakens sexual desire in him too.

Just about the only good thing I can say is that Sean Michael writes a good sex scene, but even those were spoiled by the Captain essentially forcing himself (even violently) at first on the good doctor.

Other reviews of The Butcher and the Beast are found at at Speak Its Name.

Check out The Butcher and the Beast and help support Sean Michael.

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~ by RandomizeME on May 9, 2009.

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