Davy Archer is a midshipman on the HMS Calypso, an up and coming young officer who hides a secret that could get him hanged. He is in love with Lieutenant William Marshall. The two have even become friends, but Davy dare not risk Will's ever knowing it is more than that. But when the two officers, with their Captain, are kidnapped by pirates, the torment they both suffer, their imprisonment and patient plans for escape bring them so inextricably together that neither can deny the love between them. Keeping what they've found, however, may be almost more difficult than escaping and taking over the pirate ship.
One of the joys of this book is that it's really hard to summarize the plot in a few lines. There is so much to enjoy. The plot on its own is a real page turner, and I adored the way that Davy grew over the course of the book from being something of a born victim to a character who was strong and sure of himself. I loved the historical background. The Navy is a glamorous thing in itself, and here you could almost smell the tar and sailcloth and gunpowder, and feel that you were in the presence of men like Nelson. (As an aside, I think I've fallen in love with Captain Smith!) Will and Davy are both in their own ways so admirable and likable, and their plans so ingenious that I was cheering them on all the way. And the build up of both friendship and sexual tension between them was so well done that the sex when it came was infinitely sweeter because you had to wait for it.
Even if you don't have any interest in the Age of Sail, you can read this as a wonderful adventure and love story, but if you do, then this is a must read. (I have this one in paperback myself for frequent re-reads.)
It's 1796 and not only is love between men taboo, it is punishable by death. Lt. David Archer is an officer in His Majesty's Navy and a gentleman of Regency Society. He is also hopelessly in love with his shipmate, Lt. William Marshall. David is certain that his feelings, if expressed, would be met with revulsion. Afraid of losing the strong friendship that he has forged with William, he vows to never speak of or act on his desire, promising himself to take the secret to his grave.
Although William is young, his innate talent has allowed him to quickly rise above his humble background and gain a reputation as a promising officer. The Royal Navy is his world, and in that world there is no room for anything as frivolous as romance.
Then, in a twist of fate, the two men are abducted by a ruthless pirate who finds pleasure in toying with his captives. Thrown together in close quarters and wondering if they will survive, they're are faced with some difficult choices. William struggles with his growing feelings for David and, try as he might to dismiss them, he can't. When David makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect the man he loves, the reason for it is clear and the passion that the men have denied for so long is realized for the first time.
Before the lovers can have any sort of life together, they must first escape. After that, they face an even greater challenge-is their love strong enough to survive a clandestine life under the ever-present threat of the Navy's implacable Articles of War?