The Henchmen of Zenda
Jasper Detchard is a disgraced British officer, now selling his blade to the highest bidder. Currently that's Michael Elphberg, half-brother to the King of Ruritania. Michael wants the throne for himself, and Jasper is one of the scoundrels he hires to help him take it. But when Michael makes his move, th ...more
I love Ze ...more
OK, that might be a bit much. But it really is marvelous. The writing is excellent and the daring-do characters are so much fun. This is definitely an intrigue/swashbuckler tale with a dash of romance, as opposed to the other way around, but it is a perfect read IMHO. Just smashing.
ok, but seriously, i did really like it. full of intrigue and adventure, and as i'd never even heard of The Prisoner of Zenda before, much less read it, i literally had no fucking clue what was going to happen next. so that was quite fun, although at some parts i have to admit i was slightly confused - but everything cleared up eventually.
about the romance. it wasn't ...more
I’ve been looking forward to The Henchmen of Zenda, K.J. Charles’ ‘queered’ retelling of the classic The Prisoner of Zenda, ever since she announced it months ago, and in fact the book made my ‘most eagerly awaited of 2018 list‘ at AAR. I love a ripping adventure yarn, and that’s exactly what the author has delivered – a tale of swashbuckling derring-do featuring a pair of amoral, cynical and devil-may-care anti-heroes, palace intrigue, poli ...more
I just don't know, guys! Charles is one of those authors I can just depend on. I know I will have great writing (check), a delicious pairing (check check), and an interesting or clever plot (checkity checks), but maybe not being familiar with the book this kind of spins off from kept me from connecting? I don't know.
"Michael has forbidden me to fuck you, but since I imagine that has deprived me of at most half an hour's mild entertainment--"
"Oh, now, that's j ...more
In the meantime I simply have to ask, for those of you who've read it, are those Easter eggs* in the last few pages, OR WHAT???
I mean, unless I'm sadly mistaken, isn't that (view spoiler)[Allan Quartermain who's referenced here: "a South African hunter... putting together a party for ...more
You may, dear reader, be familiar with the popular adage “don’t judge a book by its cover”?
In this case, I beg you, DO judge a book by its cover, for the art designed to accompany The Henchmen of Zenda faithfully conveys the spirit and substance of the book: a classic ripping yarn of swashbuckling Ruritanian highjinks, which is unabashedly gay AF.
Do you like dashing chaps in inadvisably tight trousers and big white shirts? Scene ...more
CONTENT WARNING: (no actual spoilers, just a list of topics) (view spoiler)[ homophobia, coercion of will, domestic violence/isolation, threats to children, discussion of sexual assault (hide spoiler)]
Things to love:
-Jasper. A despicab ...more
Another entertaining tale from KJ Charles!
I haven’t read The Prisoner of Zenda, and so had no idea of Ruritanian romance. But I thoroughly enjoyed the outcome - a blend of adventure, political intrigue, complex characters, and an out-of-the-ordinary romance.
The book introduces us to Jasper Detchard, a mercenary with little to no scruples. He moves from one European country to the next, doing the bidding of whoever buys his sword. But Jasper has one fatal flaw ...more
Every time I find out that KJ Charles has a new book coming out, I get ridiculously excited, but this time I was over the moon. Why? Because this time, KJ has taken a classic tale of adventure, manly courage and unstable politics, and flipped the entire thing on its head by retelling this story with queer men, untraditional antiheroes and badass women.
While The Prisoner of Zenda has been on my TB ...more
“I live by danger. That is quite different.”
“You love it, and you know it. I want action. Intrigue. I want . . .” He turned in the saddle, arms wide, indicating the world around us. “I want all of it. I want to live as though every day is my last; I want to fight for foolish causes and gamble everything on the turn of a card. I want never to set a guard on my speech or my thoughts. I want to take al ...more
I love The Prisoner of Zenda, I love K.J. Charles's writing; a twisted mirror version of the original should have been a 5-star read. So why wasn't it?
I think it's a case of clashing strengths. KJC is brilliant at allusive dialogue, at strong characters whose changing motivations draw us in, at HEA romantic relationships. Anthony Hope's PoZ is about heroism, action, black and white characterisations. KJC does a good job of imitating his style, which is deliberate, description-heavy, and ...more
This story is a wild ride from the start. It's told form Jasper's POV, a jaded and disillusioned henchman who is loyal to his friends and the people he cares about. He is comfortable with who he is, absolutely unashamed and unrepentant about his lif ...more
A retelling of Anthony Hope’s 1894 classic adventure story The Prisoner of Zenda from a different point of view, K.J. Charles’ The Henchmen of Zenda introduces us to Jasper Detchard, a disgraced and debauched former army officer who unrepentantly fights and fucks his way around Europe, making his living as soldier of fortune. He’s approached by Michael Elphberg, Duke of Strelsau (from the small European kingdom of Ruritania) t ...more
For some reason I was thinking I had read The Prisoner of Zenda back in High School. Turns out I did not. And as such I think I was missing all of the innuendo and references - which would have made this a richer experience.
Not that reading it seems to have been necessary as this book was complete and extremely enjoyable on it's own...especially the audiobook! Antony Ferguson did an exceptional job with the narration. (He's credited as narrating a book on the Periodic Table and I'm excite ...more
An excellent behind-the-scenes explanation of the events that took place in The Prisoner of Zenda. More intrigue, more deceit and backstabbing; spies and double-triple-quadruple agents galore! In other words, a truly delightful read! I hope there is more to come :) (Please, KJC! PLEASE! I am not above begging!)
That said, I strongly suggest to not to skip the original!
... you won't regret it! :D The books complete each other perfectly!
When KJ Charles is on, she’s on. This book is all the things: fun, ridiculous, hilarious, swashbuckling, hot, FUN. The high pulp style suits her so well because she can pack the book full of joy and all the sneering and sniding she likes to write works because it’s comic and joyful.
On top of that: she upends the classic Prisoner of Zenda and I love stories that do that. It never hurts to remember who writes the official accounts and what likely happened instead, even when it’s pulp fiction.
There are times I really enjoy adventures with scheming, danger, politics and a certain trembling uncertainty, even better if it's pseudo-historical and taking place at simpler times like the late 19th century and if it's based on a story I know but tells that story from the perspective of another person, making one of the villains of the original story the hero and shed a new light on everything – throw it at me … doesn't matter if the romance part is getting into the backseat as long as it ...more
I think my favourite thing about The Henchmen of Zenda is the unabashed fun KJ is having with rewriting the original book, calling it out on its bullshit, while still showing her love and appreciation for it. This book is glorious. It’s a joyful romp, poking fun at the conventions of the genre, completely unashamed. I couldn’t stop grinning while reading, every new page exciting.
I’ve read Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda in preparation for this book and I’m so, so ...more
I've long been a fan of Zenda, both the knowledge and the many film versions (FYI Douglas Fairbanks is by FAR the best film Rupert and you won't convince me otherwise) but I have to say that this is the one I've enjoyed most. For a start cynical cool-as-a-cucumber Detchard is exactly the type of hero I love, and that he appears to be comfortably a romantic was a nice surprise. So this isn't really your usual All For Love romance. It's an adventure with a bunch of characters wit ...more
First of all, please read the author's own notes before you embark on this:
K.J Charles's review
Second: Once you've read the last comment you'll know what to expect.
This is not a love story. It is a very 'roguish' take on a well-known Victorian pulp novel, with some 'romantic elements' (but no more). So if you are after real romance and love, this is not for you.
Third: I've never read the original book. Although the author assures us that this isn't necessary to understand her version ...more
KJ Charles is such an excellent writer. I loved the dialogue throughout the novel and the banter between Jasper and Rupert was delightful. It was also super steamy. *fans self* I would happily read more advent ...more
It's the end of the 19th century and Jasper Detchard is making his living as a mercenary. He's been decommissioned from the army for bad conduct and his family back home in Britain wants nothing to do with him - these might have ...more
This book was interesting, and also if I'am not a big fan of 1st POVs, and here the one writing the story and telling it is Jasper Detchard, it was still easy to understand the other characters emotions and feelings. Maybe not completely, but still enough to be sure that Jasper and Rupert of Hentzau, really cared for each other. This is not the typical romance, and if you want to read about something like that, this book isn't for you. Here there is more description, more plot and more fo ...more
She lives in London, UK, with her husband, two kids, and a cat of absolute night.
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