Rating: 5.0 stars
A monster stalks the ancient forests…
It’s 1799, and Cole Seavey is a trapper running from a guilty past, seeking refuge on the vast American frontier. Lost in a raging storm, he finds himself face to face with a terrifying, otherworldly creature that seems to have emerged from a nightmare.
Cole is saved from certain death by a handsome Delaware Indian named Pakim. Together they learn that the monster is the fearsome Wendigo from native legends: a creature with a heart of ice, drawn to the evil of men.
Soon the Wendigo is terrorizing the frontier — settler and Indian alike — and Cole and Pakim join to defeat the mysterious monster. In the process, Cole finds himself falling for the strapping brave and the promise of a new life together.
Unfortunately, the legends say that the Wendigo can only be killed by another creature with a heart of ice. But how can Cole hope to defeat the monster if it means denying the love he’s finally allowed himself to feel?
MAN & MONSTER
After reading Man & Beast I knew I’d come across an author that would join my list of go to authors. Now after reading Man & Monster there is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Jensen is one of a few, a rare breed of author, with an incredible story telling ability.
His ability to so eloquently tell the story of what gay people went through in those strange, unique years at the beginning of the European colonization of America is just a beauty to experience via his prose. The characters are so well developed, so rich in their complete humanness whether evil or benign, that to be able to feel the experiences of the men and women of different ethnicities with all the underlying prejudices of the time and to be able to bring that to life as he does is something wonderful to experience.
I cannot wait for more of this series as I am now invested in this story.
Cole ‘Cold Blooded Cole’ Seavy:
My already thin face was even leaner and when not bound with a leather thong, my black hair hung down to my shoulders. My eyes tended toward a brown so dark as to be black in certain lights — or, I was told, in certain moods. My face was always tanned from being out-a-doors, yet showed a goodly number of freckles scattered over my nose and cheeks. I was rather darkly complected to have so many freckles, but it was a Seavey trait shared by all the men in my family. Handsome was a word I had heard frequently to describe myself, though, frankly, I couldn’t see it.
He slowly rose, facing me. He was perhaps ten years older than me, though I couldn’t be sure. An enormous bearskin hung from his shoulders, but his arms were bare. Several feathers adorned his black hair, which was pulled back into a ponytail. Despite my wandering mind, or perhaps because of it, I thought the Indian had the most appealing face I had ever seen on a man… The brave was taller than I and possessed broad shoulders that his hair would just touch when unbound. His skin was nut-brown — not red as implied by the slur “redskin” — and his face was clear and smooth, untouched by the pox. A small tattoo of a turtle lay upon his right cheek, but most striking were his black eyes that, despite their color, seemed warm and inviting.
Cole Seavey leaves his home in Virginia under the not totally untrue guise of going to find his no-good brother, Gerard. In truth, he’s running away from the fiancé whom he does not want to marry. Cole has never felt attracted to women in the sense that he sees other men attracted to them, so off to the new frontier of the Ohio River Valley. On his way through the high plains he encounters a fierce storm. It is during this storm that he stumbles upon a seriously injured girl and the creature that is hunting her, a Wendigo. Badly injured after his encounter with the fantastical creature, he literally stumbles into Pakim and collapses. It is Pakim that takes him to John and Palmer’s new home.
It is against this backdrop that we’re treated to a riveting story of blooming love between two men, one of which is just becoming aware of what his feelings really mean, and survival in a new frontier, painted against the backdrop of the prejudice, avarice, and malevolence of the era.
This is some of the best writing I have come across, right up with some of the other authors that are my go to authors. The prose flows freely, smoothly, effortlessly, allowing the reader to simply immerse his/herself in the story. It truly becomes a completely immersive experience. I was actually there with Cole and Pakim, John and Palmer and Gwennie and the other so exquisitely developed characters. I really must warn you: this writing is highly addictive!
I don’t do spoilers and yet I must say I was treated to one of most unique and sensually erotic love scenes I’ve ever read. The whole scene at the pima’kan sweat lodge ceremony is one of the most masculinely sensual I’ve ever read. Yeah, I was sweating afterwards.
This the kind of writing that takes one beyond to the next level of reading experience.
Michael Jensen is an author and editor. His books of gay historical fiction include two series, The Drowning World, which is set in 5500 B.C., and The Savage Land, which takes place on the American frontier. Man & Monster, the second book in The Savage Land series, was a Lambda Award Finalist (under the title Firelands).
Michael is also the co-founder of AfterElton.com, which covered pop culture for gay and bisexual men, and eventually become one of the largest and most influential LGBT websites on the internet. In 2006, AfterElton.com was sold to MTV/Viacom in a multimillion dollar deal. As editor, Michael interviewed hundreds of writers, directors, and actors, breaking numerous stories and advancing the issue of LGBT visibility in Hollywood.
Michael lives in Seattle, WA with his husband, writer Brent Hartinger.
I would like to thank Michael Jensen and BK Books for providing OJ He Say! reviews with an advance review copy in exchange for an honest review.