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Wicked Gentlemen

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,209 ratings  ·  250 reviews
Belimai Sykes is many things: a Prodigal, the descendant of ancient demons, a creature of dark temptations and rare powers. He is also a man with a brutal past and a dangerous addiction. And Belimai Sykes is the only man Captain William Harper can turn to when faced with a series of grisly murders.

But Mr. Sykes does not work for free and the price of Belimai's company will
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 1st 2007 by Blind Eye Books (first published May 1st 2007)
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It's a long time since I've relished a book this much -- or had that sense of having lost myself in another world. Hale's marvellous creation of a Barrie-esque AU England and her wonderful characters held me spell-bound for an entire evening. I was very sorry when it ended as I could have followed the adventures of Captain Harper and Belimai Sykes very contentedly for another 300 pages.
Centuries ago the fallen angels accepted certain legal restrictions in order to get out of Hell and live on earth. Now their diminished descendants are second-class citizens, living in a ghetto and scapegoated by the Inquisition. Responsible for policing crime as well as heresy, the Inquisition uses torture and drugs to extract confessions, and is subject to little external control.

Belimai Sykes ran afoul of the Inquisition years ago and was never the same. Thus, he is less than pleased to have
First comment: this book is the winner of an award (the Gaylactic Spectrum Award for Best Novel-2008) ... and deserve it!

This unique fantasy M/M book is divided in two stories, with the same characters, but different storyteller.

Book one
the first part of this book is a deep immersion on Belimai thoughts and feelings.
Belimai is a tormented "Prodigal", aka, a half demon. That's all... can't say more. You will discover, at Belimai will, his past and pains. With his unstoppable sarcasm he will let
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Wow. This was amazing. This was true literature, the beauty of the prose still lingers with me. It's made me doubt my own abilities as a writer.

It also had everything I love: unique world building in a modern fantasy framework (as opposed to epic or high fantasy), suspense, murder, mayhem, a broken protagonist, characters that are unique and that I love, unusual theme, etc. I had no idea how they would get to a point where anything worked out at the end, right up until the epilogue.

My favorite
Aah, Wicked Gentlemen …what a treat this is. Brutal murderings, a dark and gritty world, mystery, violence, demons, vengeance and addiction. Tis just my thing.

Ginn Hale’s imagination and inventiveness is, as always an awesome thing to behold. She creates a world where demons or prodigals now live under oppression in a city of night built under the city of men – she calls it Hells Below, and the atmosphere is repressive, dark or at best, gas lit. The streets above are crooked and the smell of pis
Emanuela ~plastic duck~
Dec 12, 2010 Emanuela ~plastic duck~ rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emanuela ~plastic duck~ by: Geoffrey
I fell in love with this book! I loved the world, absolutely adored the characters. They are so wonderfully imperfect and at the same time that's what makes you like them. Their relationship was hot and intense, even if the book was almost chaste.

The book has a very dark atmosphere, but it's not claustrophobic, even if there are a lot of moments when the two characters are confined in small spaces. There are many themes - violence, torture, addiction, religious fanaticism, prejudice, you name i
4,5 stars

It would have been a 5 stars rating if I had had my fill of the murders plot lines, but I revelled in this world, in every street, every alley, windowsill, roof-top, every dark corner and gas lamp from White Chapel to Hell’s Bellow.

I fell for Belimai and the “Flower of Evil” texture of his thoughts, all dark melancholy, self-loathing and opium induced poetry. I liked that it wasn’t overplayed and that the sounds, scents and touch he is so attuned to, brought as much grittiness as reveri
Oh my, so much goodness in packed in this little book. Mystery, deception, intrigue, gore, addiction, demons, injustice, revenge, redemption and flying. The flying is totally cool. And from it all, the unlikely pairing of Harper and Belimai. They have a guarded, yet genuine connection and their repartee is most enjoyable. I hope to see more of these two (I heard a rumor!). ...more
This is not really my genre, steampunk fantasy religion, all big no-nos for me as a rule. The results. Absolutely amazing. Yeah yeah, never say never. Belimai is a drug addicted Prodigal (demons no longer live in hell and are "people") and Harper is a priest, aka cop. The cops use torture in the name of religion to generally get confessions from people, often Prodigals. However Harper and Belimai end up teaming up to catch some serial killers who are preying on Prodigals, Belimai nearly getting ...more
LD  Durham
Feb 01, 2008 LD Durham rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to LD by: CarvedWood
This was a good one. The book has two short stories and an epilogue. At first, I was disappointed that the first story ended and we moved away from the first person POV of Belimai, but the next story was even better.
My two gripes: a fade to black in the first story (I wanted to see! I'm a voyeur) and the abrupt ending. It wasn't a bad ending, just abrupt. I loved these characters and I wanted to be eased out of their lives, not dumped out.
Best part: Ginn Hale's sensual details that pull you ri
2.75* rounded up to 3*

This book left me feeling disjointed, as if there had to be a much larger tapestry, but someone chopped it off at the edges. The result didn't bowl me over, it left me with sort of a meh-feeling. Or maybe I'm just over fantasy as a genre.

The prose irritated the bloody hell out of me, it was so narcissistic and self-important at times, I was completely distracted. True, it got a bit better towards the end, but then the harm was already done. I'd been distanced from the story
"Even the most degraded and ruined Prodigal is still closer to divinity than are any of us born of Adam's flesh."

Original rating: 3 stars
After rereading (12/12/13): 4 stars

I couldn't appreciate Wicked Gentlemen on my first read, because I had just finished Ginn Hale's Lord of the White Hell series and wanted a similar story. When Wicked Gentlemen gave me something different, I couldn't appreciate the story for what it was. After just finishing my first reread, I was able to enjoy the story a lot
Josephine Myles
It really shouldn't have taken me so long to read this, after so many other writers have told me I'd love it. Yeah, I did love it. Strange, haunting, unputdownable, gritty, enchanting. It was all of these things, and more. I liked the second story best, because Harper rules, but they were both superb. Ginn Hale sure does know how to write, and she has an amazing imagination. I was particularly taken with the prayer wheel damage on Belamai's body--that detail drew me in at the beginning, and keep ...more
Apr 30, 2014 Lena♥Ribka rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans without sex needs.

3,2 stars

Wicked Gentlemen consist of two books. In spite of I enormously enjoyed the first book, the second book didn't meet my expectations.
It is the reason for my muted reaction.

Full review will come later. I hope. I'm slightly disappointed right now.

Wonderfully spare prose as vivid as any riot, paced with the sure hand of a true storyteller. The switch in perspective is distracting, but also impressive.
Blake Fraina
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 charact
Kaje Harper
Once, long ago, the fallen angels who had chosen to rule in hell as demons changed their minds. They ascended to the human world and accepted an offer from the Inquisition to wash them clean of sin and begin again. And so they rose, terrible and beautiful, with powers and strengths beyond the merely human, and were cleansed with holy silver and fire... it was not a great success.

Their ancestors now coexist with humans in an uneasy relationship. The Prodigals are almost human, except for their bl
Wicked Gentlemen reads more like a paranormal with a mystery and romance combined. Whatever genre this book falls into, Wicked Gentlemen exceeded all my expectations. It has a great atmospheric feel featuring the tortured character of Belimai Sykes. Belimai is a drug addicted demon called a Prodical who has been tortured ruthlessly by those who feel they are God’s servants and have the right to condemn Beilmai’s people. Wicked Gentlemen has many religious undertones that deal with the subject of ...more
Ah! The horrors of the Church as government and police force both. This is the background upon which the author develops this tale. I'd always known this book to be considered one of the classics of the genre, but somehow had never gotten to it. Now I know why it is so well liked. The writing talent oozes from the page, with every evocative word, with every sense engaged to immerse the reader into this desperately frightful world.

I, like many fans of this genre, prefer a good dose of sex with o
This book was completely different from anything I have read before so I was not real sure what to expect. Fantasy books and books with religious undertones are not ones that I normally read. But, from the beginning I was drawn into this world that the author created that was both intriguing and believable. I enjoyed how the author created two separate stories within one book, but still intertwining them and tying everything up with the epilogue at the end. The two main characters, who are so di ...more
Jun 26, 2011 MandyM rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those who like mm steampunk or fantasy
Shelves: m-m-romance
I don't know what I can add to the many complimentary reviews of this book. Belamai and Harper are such wounded alienated souls. Their love story is understated but intensely alluring. The world Ginn Hale has created is a dark and dingy place lit with fireflies and yellow eyes. Loved every word of it.
Wicked Gentlemen is a much loved and lauded book that languished in my TBR pile for far too long. Thankfully this wonderful steam punk fantasy lived up to its hype. The evocative descriptions and lush prose create an engaging story. The world building is unique, creative, and awesome, offering familiar elements and characters in a fresh new way. My only regrets are the short length of the two novellas, which limits the potential of both the characters and the stories.

The book actually consists o
Holy crap, this book goes straight to the favourite shelf. It would go to the favourites of the favourite shelf if I had such a thing.

Wicked Gentlemen is brilliant. It is grimy, greasy, gritty Steampunk at its best. It took me in and held me captive from the first sentence and didn't let me loose at its end. I'm not kidding. I was staring at the empty page after the last sentence in sheer hope more words would magically appear and it would go on. Just because I didn't want to part with it.

My review can't do this book justice because it speaks for itself.

In a way, it was deeply pleasant to share the sense that in this place no one wanted your concern or tactful conversation. It was a lazy community of mutual disinterest and alcohol.

Everything that they seemed to love about me came from the needles they detested. The man they desired was an illusion, an ugly stone made briefly beautiful by a trick of the light.

I wanted to be undone, swallowed whole
Heidi Cullinan
The word I would use to describe this book if I only had one to spare is "beautiful." It is artfully written, which is always nice, but best of all are the characters and Hale's deft, careful hand with them. She is patient in her delivery, and while the mystery and external plot are worth reading, the real treasure in this story is the relationship between Belimai and Captain Harper.

My only complaint is that I would have liked to have gone with them to bed. I felt like I missed part of their sto
Jan 01, 2015 Tj rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
I started this and didn't enjoy some of the vivid descriptions the author used but soon enough I warmed very up to it. It's actually 2 books and conclusion. The first from Belimai's POV the second from Will's with the conclusion once again in Belimai's. I did enjoy getting to see both sides of the story though not of the same events. Belimai was a vivid character while I needed to look harder for Will's. Wonderful alternate world which was able to eventually suck me in. When book two hit it was ...more
Ije the Devourer of Books
This is brilliant!!

The world building is excellent. The story has just the right amount of drama, mystery, tension and love, and plenty of heart beating moments as the heroes seek to avoid detection in their struggles for justice.

I really enjoyed the different characters and all the intrigue of the society. The best part of all is that this book is really two books in one with the story unfolding from the perspective of the two main characters - Belimai and Harper. I now have to work my way th
That was so much fun! There's adventure, romance, intrigue, action, assassinations, and daring escapes; there are two battered souls finding solace in drink and beauty adrift in moonlight skies. What a ride! I thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Harper and Belimai were haunted by the past, and each found his niche with the other. It was an unassuming love story set against the murder/mystery investigation of Harper's sister Joan. The book stands out on account of Belimai's wonderful snark and Hale's ph
4.5 stars – An excellent fantasy mystery about Belimai Sykes, a demon whose self-imposed isolation after surviving harsh torture by the government's inquisition is interrupted by William Harper, an Inquisition Captain who seeks Belimai's aid in finding his missing sister as well as why the sudden rise in demon murders.

Hale is a gifted writer who makes world building and characterization look easy, and I always come away from her writing feeling awed. She always paints her scenes and characters s
Dee Wy
Yes, I know I'm bucking a trend of five star reviews with my three-star rating. Three stars means I did like the book well enough that I'm glad I read it, but it had problems too. Perhaps spending more than $16 to buy and pay shipping on the book (because I thought there was no digital version available - see below) gave me too high an expectation, so I'm going to try to be generous as well as be a critic.

This book is made up of two novellas, for a total of 205 pages of actual story. Not a lot o
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The Backlot Gay B...: Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale 12 57 Dec 22, 2013 01:19PM  
Q&A with Josh...: October Read 2011: Wicked Gentlemen 128 113 Oct 29, 2011 09:25PM  
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“I'm so glad to be grouped with the men you've seen in rotten shape. My hope is that someday I will reach the pinnacle of that appalling list.” 24 likes
“Tell me." Edward had to raise his voice a little. "Do you live by the principle that what people don't know can't hurt them?"
"No," Harper replied. "What people don't know can't hurt me.”
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