Trent Copeland is in many ways the stereotypical gay man whose life has ground to a halt. Two years after the death of his lover, Trent has become a h...moreTrent Copeland is in many ways the stereotypical gay man whose life has ground to a halt. Two years after the death of his lover, Trent has become a homebody, reveling in the safety of living a monotonous life. He eats the same meals at the same restaurants, he watches the same classic movies on TCM week after week, and he has begun to recycle the same characters over and over in each new romance novel he writes — all to avoid the anxiety of trying anything new. Once a highly successful M/M romance writer, his last two manuscripts have been rejected by his long-time publisher. His agent and best friend have tried everything they can think of to encourage him out of his rut of self-inflicted mourning, all to no avail. But with the rejection of his second recycled manuscript, his two gal pals come up with a plan. They talk him into taking a trip, one on which he’ll go alone, but give up all control to them. They arrange his destination, his flight, his lodgings, and even his transportation for the duration of his stay. Only two days before he leaves do they tell him where they’ve chosen for him. And while he’s a bit miffed that he isn’t getting to go to Europe or somewhere equally suited to his classic tastes, he is a bit surprised at how exciting the prospect of his actual destination is. They have arranged for him to spend two weeks in Bankok, Thailand — exotic, exciting, full of life, and full of gay men just ready to throw themselves at the hunky and desperate-to-get-laid Trent.
It is immediately upon arrival when things start to go wrong. Unbeknownst to him, a mysterious American ex-patriot is carefully watching the arrivals gate, where he has a plant working as a customs agent, ready to slip a very valuable possession into the luggage of a mule. The plan is to follow the mule to another location and make the trade-off. Only, the plant gives the object, a very old and rare map, to the wrong man: our sad and lonely hero Trent. Trent has no idea why this American man keeps following him — asking him for a ride, to meet him at another place, and then following him back to his hotel. His driver and the concierge at the hotel warn him off the incredibly attractive man, who they claim is probably a hustler, and big trouble. Trent is obviously wary after the strange man’s behavior, although he must admit that the man is incredibly hot and definitely starting to get to him. At the same time, our mysterious stranger, whose name is Reed, is starting to mix business with pleasure, at least in his dreams. The more time he spends with Trent before he can get to the map, the more he starts to really like him. It is only after a couple of days of dancing around one another that the lies and deceit surface and both men realize that with the Thai mob after them, they make much better allies than enemies.
So begins a wild journey from Bankok to the caves of remote Thailand, running from goons with guns and their own fear of allowing another close to their hearts.
I have to say that I knew I would love this story immediately upon reading the blurb. I mean, who can resist a story like this — adventure and flight, myths of treasure and ancient mysteries to be solved. It is the perfect premise to a fun and exciting story. All is well and good with that, it certainly lived up to my expectations, though the writing was more earnest than cheeky, which the blurb led me to believe. That was definitely not a bad thing, however. But what EM Lynley did very well was the setting. People often repeat the famous maxim — that they have traveled all over the world, all within the pages of a book. I have not been to Thailand, and I would presume that most who will read this book have not either. However, this story really does portray that maxim well. While reading the book (especially within the first half of the novel, while Trent is being inundated with new experiences) I could smell the spices from the market stalls and hear the bustling noises of the tuk tuks in the busy streets. I felt transported, and slightly angry about the lack of Thai food in my area. :)