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Kim Baker: John’s nephew, 23 years old, adopted from Korean orphanage. He’s like sunshine and rainbow rolled into one. He steals every single scene he is in. He is full of wonderful happy things and being an artist, he also sees beauty in everyday things. He’s brilliant — although he probably will give John grey hairs. A lot. And I wish he has his own story told, like, yesterday (but Sarah Black said that it would be much later if she ever write Kim’s own story *sob*)
Fresh out of the closet, General John Mitchel and Gabriel Sanchez are settling into their new life together when an old army colleague taps them for a rescue mission to Tunisia. Eli and Daniel, two former Rangers working security, have been arrested in Carthage, charged with blasphemy and thrown into prison.
With rampant unrest in the ancient city and an old enemy targeting them, John gathers a team to liberate the two captive men. When he discovers Eli’s boyhood obsession with Al-Jazari’s Elephant Clock, the rescue becomes complicated and strangely beautiful, and John and Gabriel have to risk what they love the most to bring their team home
I have been a fan of Sarah Black’s writing ever since I read Marathon Cowboy. I think she is in class of her own. The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari is a sequel from The General and the Horse-Lord, which was released back in April 2013. Unlike the previous book, which left me feeling conflicted, this one is straight love. In fact, I can say that this is my favorite Sarah Black story to date.
The backdrop story about The Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari and the Carthage is so interesting (I ended up searching Wikipedia for The Elephant Clock!). I love how Ms Black also includes some ‘current’ tidbits, like Spartacus: Blood and Sand or how John’s using a Kindle. However, what makes me in love with this story – and I am still thinking about it hours after I finish reading and sleep on it – is how subtle Sarah Black includes social issues without overdramatizing it.
We have Kim (John’s delightful nephew) with his MFA project, asking about whether “racism really an extension of tribal culture or tribal identity”. We have John working out to save the former rangers without making it a religious issue or American vs. Islam jihadists. Best yet, even if one of the former Rangers is beaten and brutalized inside the Tunisia’s prison, there is still a positive attitude shown by the character.
For me, all the characters including each of John’s team members in Tunisia simply shine. Though Kim — simply my all time favorite Sarah Black character – probably outshined everybody else in this book. He charms everyone – and his scenes are always a delight. From him pushing over a cream-colored couch as part of John’s house décor (back in Alberquerque), to demanding that John needs to get better clothes, to making friends with the other team members when he is in Tunisia, Kim takes everyone by the storm.
Despite the situation that can turn serious, there are still tender romantic moments that touch my heart, as well as humorous scenes that make me chuckle (mostly involved Kim, by the way – he will just give John his grey hairs!).
“Let’s talk about you and me. Not about the past. I want to talk about the future. I want to tell you all the things I love about you. All the ways you turn me on. I want you to tell me all the secrets you’ve been hiding in your heart.”
“I just want to wake up with our heads on the same pillow. This life, next life, forever and ever.”
I’m flying into DC via Albuquerque. Kim is flipping out. He went back to Nordstrom’s with Billy and Abdullah and bought you two new shirts to calm himself down. You’re the only kick-ass general I know who needs three gay boys to dress him, John.”
There is quite an action scene towards the end, as the team is making plans to escape Tunisia – with an elaborate plan which is worthy of a movie screenplay. It gives a boost in adrenaline for an already enjoyable reading experience.
For me, this can easily be categorized as LGBT fiction, rather than just MM romance. It’s romantic, tender, thoughtful, hopeful, and at the same time celebrates the belief of dreams and humanity. I can’t find anything to complain about. Not one.
Title: The General and the Elephant Clock of Al-Jazari
Author: Sarah Black
Release Date: October 25, 2013
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner