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Fortunes of War

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In 1588, two young men fall in love; Dermot, an Irish mercenary serving the Spanish Ambassador in London and Robin, son of an English Earl. Seperated by seven years of war, the two meet up again in the Caribbean, where Dermot now commands a privateer. The couple's adventures on the Spanish Main make a swashbuckling romance in the best pirate tradition. A rip-roaring yarn f ...more
Paperback, 347 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Gay Men's Press (first published 1995)
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Average rating 4.01  · 
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Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 3.75 stars

Fortunes of War is a dashing, swashbuckling adventure split into two parts - Part 1: The Black Sheep (~40% of the book) and Part 2: The Privateer (~60%). Robin, the youngest son of an English Earl, meets a man like no other: Dermot Channon, a mercenary that has accompanied the Spanish ambassador who is seeking refuge at the Earl's estate. Peace is precarious during this time period as war between Spain and England is looming around the corner, but creates the perfect backdrop t
Aug 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, gay
A rather silly but also rather enjoyable Tudor/Armada/Spanish Main/Irish/pirate adventure and gay love story. Hey, come on, everybody needs some froth now and then! (Pay no attention to the lads on the cover, who appear to be rent boys hired off some London street and bear no resemblance to the book's characters!)
Aleksandr Voinov
I enjoyed this as a historical gay romp. Keegan seems to be doing their homework in terms of research. It would need a good edit to fix typos and punctuation (and, please ye gods a good cover), but the book has many strength. For once, here's a unique voice, and a book that's way more ambitious than "they meet, they fuck, they fall in love".
Elisa Rolle
The end of the XVI century is a fascinating period but is also bloodier than the more fancy Regency. In het romance it’s not common to find love stories set in this period, but if you manage to, you can bet they are 90% of the time about pirates. Most of the time, English captains like Drake are the heroes, but sometime also the Spaniard are selected as heroes, above all if they can claim some English ancestors, even if they will be also ready to state they are or feel more Spanish than English. ...more
Sep 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
In 'Fortunes of War', Mel Keegan wrote an affectionate romance with action. Two young men meet on the eve of war. Irish Spanish Channon meets a young man in disgrace. Elizabethan England is not friendly to a young man who is caught being seduced by a young wife of an older man. Even less so, does Robin’s father permit Channon’s courtship. Robin flees to London for a life away from his father, Channon is caught up in war. So, too, is Robin, when is brother is held to ransom on the far side of the ...more
Gerry Burnie
Nov 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
I love a plot-driven story, especially if the plot is as meaty as “Fortunes of War,” by Mel Keegan [Dreamcraft, 2005]: the intrigue-ridden court of Elizabeth I, war and rumours of war, likable lovers and pirates. It has them all.

The story is written in two parts; the first part being an introduction, and here Keegan has done a masterful job of introducing the main characters while capturing the conspiratorial nature of the Elizabethan court. The two main characters, Robin and Dermot, are ably su
Aricia Gavriel
"Gay Times" called Fortunes of War "a fine example of this genre," and they got that right. In many ways it's like a gay Errol Flynn film, but that description utterly fails to do justice to the wealth of research behind the book, the lyrical prose, the characters with whom you fall in love. Keegan has a way of drawing characters that strikes a chord at least with me. Always one of my favorite writers -- and, incidentally, it's so nice to see Keegan back after years in limbo, struggling through ...more
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m-historical
This is a fun but very uneven book. I read it back in the early 00s, when it was hard to find anything in a similar genre. I adored it at the time. Now, it's worth reading if you stumble across a copy, but it's nothing special.

The first half is all ridiculous romance where a man's first time is written not just like a woman's but like a woman's from an extra trashy bodice ripper. (There's a "single drop of blood" afterwards. Oh please.) The second half is a swashbuckling yarn without much going
Historical gay romance, set in the sixteenth century, with lots of intrigue and piracy. Oh, excuse me, they're privateers for Philip of Spain. Whatever. Gay pirates. You know you like it. They are privateers for only about half the book, because this is an amazingly long read -- seriously, I'd gotten to the part where Dermot Channon the mercenary shows up at the earl's house and falls in love with, and of course deflowers, Robin Armagh the earl's youngest son. And then I looked down and realized ...more
Jun 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, m-m
Pros AU (with the serial numbers filed off, of course) with Bodie the-Irish/Spanish-impoverished-noble-mercenary (later turned privateer) and Doyle the Irish/English-small-abused-virgin (later also turned privateer). I can't say this was my favorite Doyle characterization ever (I think I would've enjoyed it more not knowing this was Bodie and Doyle), but I did like the story. It is very engrossing, a real page-turner. I liked it better once they were away from Elizabeth I's court (I hate politic ...more
I'm not sure if I'll finish this book, even though I'm finally at the pirates part of the story.

I liked the start of the book and reading about 16th century England. Maybe the romance moves a bit too quickly (insta-love), but it was still promising. It moved along nicely. Then in the middle of the book the MCs lost my sympathy. There was some impulsive and unnecessary angst, really the events surrounding the MCs provides you with enough angst already, and it was resolved within a few pages. Then
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Okay. The writing won t win any prizes, the plot s Bad!Fan!Fic with a vengeance, and the characters are only faintly disguised Bodie-and-Doyle in this case, A/Ud into an Elizabethan poirate fantasy, classified if only by me as a doublet-ripper. But! Hot Gay Sex all over the place! Angst! Suffering! More Hot Gay Sex!!! A guilty and furtive pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless. Witness the fact that someone nicked my original copy and I have re-bought it! (And, I might add, with one of the worst c ...more
Aug 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gay-historical
Of course the writing of Fortunes of War deserves 5 stars.
But Robin Armagh is a selfish cad, a wicked deadbeat father, enabled by 'lackland' Channon. Those poor fatherless twins. *sniff, sniff* with the itsy bitsy white silk hanky.
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A self-confessed science fiction and fantasy devotee, Keegan is known for novels across a wide range of subjects, from the historical to the future action-adventure. Mel lives in South Australia with an eccentric family and a variety of pets.

Every Mel Keegan book is strong on gay or bisexual heroes (also, often, on gay villains), and some of these heroes are the most delicious in fiction: Jarrat

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