Man & Beast – Savage Land Series, Book I
Genres: Gay Fiction, Historical
What is the line that separates man from beast?
The year is 1797, and 24-year-old John Chapman is lost on the American frontier with winter falling fast. Near death, he stumbles upon a lone cabin, and the owner, a rugged but sexy frontiersman named Daniel McQuay, agrees to let John winter over.
John and Daniel quickly find themselves drawn to each other, the sex between them unlike anything John has ever known. But as the weeks turn into snowbound months, Daniel begins to change into someone brutish, and the line between man and beast disappears.
With the arrival of spring, John flees, eventually finding refuge in the company of a group of frontier outcasts, including a brash young settler named Palmer. But in the wilds of this savage land, love is not so easily tamed, and John soon finds himself calling upon the raging animal within him to save the man he loves.
What I think of the book:
I’ve been lucky with my To Read and Review list this month: out of the three books on it, I absolutely enjoyed… All three.
I started Man & Beast months ago, but after the first few chapters, I had to stop reading – engaged as I was – due to receiving ARCs of other books. Once I opened my Kindle back to Michael’s book, I started it from Chapter 1. It was good enough that even with a second read, I was still interested.
Did I love all of the book?
No. There were places where things were just okay, but they were few, and I didn’t find any part boring. If I were to draw a pie chart, it would have two sections: 95% Loved It and 5% Not Bad, the latter always including scenes where John was alone and mostly when he travelling.
Those are important to the plot and character development so I’m glad they were there; they were just not heart-pounding or fan girl squeal-inducing as the rest.
The book had a surprising (at least for me) amount of action – not like the one we see in cinemas these days with the latest superhero blockbuster (got to love the shiny colors there!), but a far more realistic one. The story is very believable and it must’ve taken a lot of research on the time period to make it so, along with a lot of work on the characters.
And speaking of them – just like the story, they are very realistic.
I felt like I was reading John’s memoirs or his diary (the dates at the beginning of the chapters helped set that vibe too) and I wanted to get to know him. The rest of the characters are also developed, with their backstories and current problems. And they are different from each other. It would’ve been easy to just lump them together, all of them with the exact same principles and desires, just John standing, supporting his feeling of not fitting in. Instead, Michael made them distinct while still managing to convey that.
Who I would recommend this book to?
I’d recommend Man & Beast to people who are tired of modern day gay romance novels and want something old-timey and not clichéd; to readers who want to watch how a character changes through hardship and not because they are whisked away by that sexy billionaire who would mend their playboy ways for the other MC and them alone; to those who are not looking for that “and they lived happily ever after” as a given, but would rather wonder how it would all end until the book actually ends.
My rating: (5 out of 5 apple trees)
Would I re-read this book? Yes.
Do I want other books in this series or by this author? Yep, yep, yep, yep!
Where can you buy the book?
- amazon.com (link takes you straight to the book)
Want to know a little bit about Michael? Read the interview he gave me!
Have you read Man & Beast?
What did you think of it?
Share in the comments!