A HOT LOVE AFFAIR WHICH STILL CHALLENGES THE AGES ...
THE LEGEND OF TARZAN shows more flesh ...
NOW DISCOVER ONE OF HISTORY'S MOST-CELEBRATED REAL LIFE ANCIENT-WORLD EROTIC ROMANCES ...
OPINIONS OF "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" - brief excerpts from 22 USA & UK Amazon reviews ...
JANE (Canada), at Amazon USA
"...I recommend it to any historical fiction fan, especially any fan of the redoubtable Mary Renault. ..."
J.R. Tomlin, author of historical fiction, at :- http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
"Five stars ... a tour de force ..."
Elisa Rolle, Amazon Top 1000 Reviewer, USA & UK, & at : http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/1092070.html
" ... an absorbing new book ... compelling writing ... action sequences that are brilliantly staged & paced ... on a higher plane than mere homoerotic titillation ... courageous & convincing ..."
Reader Down Under (Australia), at Amazon USA
"... extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire ... a mix of mystery, comedy, gay & straight romance - is an entertaining read ..."
Laura Staley, Historical Novels Review, USA, at :-
"... an age-old love story with a twist ... an unexpected delight ... his storyline hooked me immediately ..."
Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson of READER VIEWS, Austin TX, USA
"... You will feel engaged and challenged ..."
Nan Hawthorne, author Beloved Pilgrim, at Amazon USA
"... extremely readable ... it's a page turner ... Gardiner has written an interesting & gripping story ..."
Kim at http://www.desicritics.org/ India
"... Five Stars ... a compelling crime mystery ... a hard book to put down ..."
Terence Charters, Hobart, Australia, at Amazon USA
"... An adventure through Hadrian's world. The story is easy to read and full of the homoeroticism that we love about this era. ..."
P. Novotny, London, at Amazon UK
"... a definitive Five Star read for me ..."
Aleksandr Voinov, UK, reviewer at Speak Its Name
"Five Stars ... A masterful recreation of Ancient Rome ... the historical details are a delight ... characters are outlined in a vivid way which is like meeting old friends ... "
Ernest Gill, Hamburg, at Amazon USA & UK
"Five Stars ... as a reimagining of the Hadrian-Antinous relationship in the context of the age it is fascinating."
Muriel Perkins, Texas, at Amazon USA
" ... this is a novel about the nature of love ... but this is far from just being a gay romance. ..." Kit Moss, historical author, at :- http://kitmossreviews.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/the-hadrian-enigma-forbidden-history-by.html
"A truly exceptional book on 'What Greek Love" is all about ..."
John R. Shelton at Amazon USA
"Five Stars. I so enjoyed this book. Highly recommend it ... "
NOTE: ***Amazon USA's book or ebook purchase site with its 22 reader's reviews (twelve awarding Five Stars for excellence!) can be read in full by clicking on :- http://www.amazon.com/Hadrian-Enigma-Forbidden-History/product-reviews/0980746906/ref=sr_1_1_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History
(C) George Gardiner
ISBN13: 978-0-9807469-1-4 (at Amazon USA, UK, Europe, Australia etc) in 498-page paperback or Kindle ebook.
The scene: ancient Rome, 130 years after Christ yet two centuries prior to Christianity being legal. Caesar Hadrian is the popular ruler of a vast pagan empire at the height of its power & wealth.
Hadrian, one of Rome's "five good emperors" searches for & eventually locates the love of his life .. Antinous, an elite Greek athlete, huntsman, & cavalry cadet. They become 'companions' under the ancient Greco-Roman mentoring tradition of an erastes (mentor) & his eromenos (student).
During an imperial pleasure tour of Egypt Antinous is discovered dead in the River Nile. Hadrian is distraught. Is the death a drunken prank gone wrong, suicide, murder, or something far more sinister? Hadrian assigns historian playboy Suetonius Tranquillus to investigate.
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA is the outlawed record of Caesar's investigation into one of history's most suspicious fatalities. It reveals more than Hadrian may want to know, or wants others to know. Set in a society increasingly reflecting facets of our own times, it portrays an era of torrid relationships, raging ambition, wealth inequalities, & uninhibited morals within a severely macho culture of honor, shame, pride & prejudice.
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COOL GAY STUFF now posts current selective miscellany in both columns ...
In the film, Patrick returns to the city for the first time in almost a year to celebrate a momentous event with his old friends. In the process, he must face the unresolved relationships he left behind and make difficult choices about what’s important to him.
LOOKING: The Movie screens on HBO (USA) on July 23.
Monday, June 27, 2016
---- selected lines from the opening pars of a news report by Nico Lang at ADVOCATE.com (USA), 27 June 2016 :-
'Pope Francis believes that it’s time for Catholics to apologize to the LGBT community.
.... “I believe that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it has offended,” he said, “but has to apologize to the poor, to exploited women, to children exploited for labor; it has to ask forgiveness for having blessed many weapons.”
"The church must ask forgiveness for not behaving many times — when I say the church, I mean Christians!” he added. “The church is holy, we are sinners!" ....'
---- see Nico Lang's entire controversial report at www.advocate.com/religion at :-
---- see another perspective on this issue at The Boston Globe (USA), 28 June 2016 :-
Sunday, June 26, 2016
---- the brief introduction to a news report by Yesim Dikmen published at HAARETZ (Israel), 26 June 2016 :- ,
'REUTERS - Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of London on Saturday for an annual parade celebrating gay and transgender rights, with many expressing concerns as Britain gears up to part ways with the European Union after Thursday's referendum.
Saturday, June 25, 2016
---- the opening pars to a news report by Zack Ford at Think Progress (USA), 24 June 2016 :-
'President Obama announced Friday that he is officially declaring a national monument at the Stonewall Inn, commemorating the historic rise of the modern LGBT movement that started there. In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the gay bar, spurring the LGBT patrons to riot and begin organizing resistance efforts that turned into what is now known as Pride.
Technically the new national park is Christopher Park, the area directly across from the Stonewall Inn. Obama’s proclamation notes that the park has become “a popular destination for LGBT youth, many of whom had run away from or been kicked out of their homes,” as well as a place of organizing for other LGBT milestones ....
----- see more of Zack Ford's commemorative post at http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt at :-
Friday, June 24, 2016
---- the opening pars to an extended essay by Mike Albo at Daily JSTOR (USA), 24 June 2016 :-
'.... it is Gay Pride month, the LGTBQ community is increasingly visible, and the society at large is slowly embracing new definitions of sexuality and gender. Just this week, Jamie Shupe of Oregon, who prefers the article “they,” is the first American to be granted the legal right to pronounce themself “non-binary” under the law.
Then, the shooting in Orlando happens, and we are in darkness. What becomes visible is the hate and anger towards sexual identity outside of the heterosexual norm, and once again, questions about the relevance of gay sexuality bubble to the surface, as they have so many times in the past.
The core issue always seems to boil down to: Should gay people be alive? Are we as “worthy” to humankind as heterosexuality? Are gays ancient? If not, it follows that we gay people are simply modern cvreations. ....'
---- see more of Mike Albo's insightful essay at http://daily.jstor.org/gay-culture at :-
Thursday, June 23, 2016
---- as part of the brand's Pride Month effort, writer Kristina Monllos submits an exclusive. Here is the opening par to Kristina's report, published in ADWEEK (USA), 21 June 2016 :-
'If you pick up this Sunday's print edition of The New York Times and thumb through it, you'll find that it features a couple full-page print ads from American Express that show the brand's support for gay marriage.
It's no coincidence that the brand is rolling the ads out on Sunday, June 26, since that's the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court's ruling to legalize same-sex marriage.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Issues Statements in support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month 2016 and the joint guidance on transgender student protections provided by the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the Department of Justice ---- the opening par of a formal statement by the US Commission on Civil Rights, published at PR Newswire (USA), 20 June 2016 :-
---- see more of this formal statement at www.prnewswire.com/news at :-
Monday, June 20, 2016
---- at a time of the western world's tendency to be prejudicial about aspects of Islam or the Muslim members of their societies, we present the opening pars of a lively & challenging interview with USA-Iranian (& Muslim) comedian Negin Farsad, published at SALON online magazine, 18 June 2016 :-
'Salon talks to Farsad about her debut memoir and the power of comedy to combat racism and launch social change.
New York City-based comedian, writer and director Negin Farsad’s debut nonfiction book, “How to Make White People Laugh” (Hachette Book Group, 2016), is best described as 'memoir meets social-justice-comedy-manifesto'. ....
.... Her illuminating memoir offers a frank and hilarious conversation about growing up as an Iranian-American Muslim woman in a post-9/11 world, as well as what it means to have a hyphenated identity. It’s at once a comedy and a reflection on the power of comedy to initiate social change — with plenty of research, graphs, images, and footnotes to back it up. Salon spoke with Farsad about her career as a social justice comedian, and what inspired her debut. ....'
---- see more of this striking interview with Farsad at www.salon.com at URL :-
Saturday, June 18, 2016
---- selections from the opening pars of a well-researched historical reflection upon homosexuality in the Muslim world by Shoaib Daniyal at SCROLL.in (India), 19 June 2016 :-
'Muslim societies have ignored their own history of accepting homosexuality, latching on to a twisted colonial legacy instead. ....
.... While a clear motive is yet to be established [about Omar Mateen's criminal actions at Florida], it is a fact that modern Muslim societies condemn and shame homosexuality. In most Islamic countries, Muslims cannot come out as gay without risking stigma and bodily harm.
It is, however, important to point out how recent this homophobia is. For much of history, Muslim societies have been incredibly permissive of same-sex love. ....
.... At the height of the Islamic Golden Age – a period from the mid-8th century to the mid-13th century when Islamic civilisation is believed to have reached its intellectual and cultural zenith – homosexuality was openly spoken and written about. ....
...... Most modern Muslims, therefore, have little knowledge of what the Islamic Golden Age was really about, even though they keep on wanting to go back to it. ....'
---- see more of Shoaib Daniyal's challenging & informative essay at SCROLL.in at :-
Thursday, June 16, 2016
---- at a time of continuing challenges by advocates of Judeo-Christian puritanism, Joe Morgan at GAY STAR NEWS (UK/USA) offers 25 concepts from religious authority which dispute a grossly puritan interpretations of doctrine :-
'Take a look at the actual facts that should have homophobes who pick and choose what to preach quaking in their boots :-
1. There is no record whatsoever of Jesus preaching against homosexuality.
2. Paul writes: ‘Make no mistake: no fornicator or idolator, none who are guilty either of adultery or of homosexual perversion, no thieves or grabbers or drunkards or slanderers or swindlers, will possess the kingdom of God.’ While this is another line that many use to attack gay people, others suggest ‘homosexual’ is actually a [16th Century] mistranslation of ‘prostitute’.
3. The Bible explicitly tells you not to force people into believing or boasting about your religion.
4. The church sanctified gay marriages in the so-called Dark Ages, with one being the Byzantine Emperor Basil 1 (867-886) and his partner John. ....
.... and 21 further related appraisals of the status of homosexuality in religious texts.
---- Check Joe Morgan's full list of 25 facts at GAY STAR NEWS at :-
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
---- the opening pars of a substantial publishing announcement at USA TODAY (US), 15 June 2016 :-
'Prince William is offering a show of royal support to the LBGT community in one of its darkest moments.
A day after signing a condolence book for victims of the Orlando shooting, he has become the first member of Britain's royal family to appear on the cover of a gay magazine with the July issue of Attitude, akin to America's Out.
The magazine, which went to press mere days before the massacre at Pulse, arrives on newsstands next week. The digital version is already available for purchase. .... '
---- see more of the Attitude report at USA TODAY at :-
[ Note: Text-only items received by smartphone users as SMS's (short message services) will possess supporting images or videos at the twin-columned Blogger Cool Gay Stuff platform at url :- http://mmromancenovels.blogspot.com.au/ ]
Monday, June 13, 2016
---- an excerpt from a post at The Pride, Los Angeles' LGBT Newspaper, 12 June 2016 :-
' .... There are no words that capture the heartbreak we feel today. The tragic shooting massacre last night in Orlando, which took the lives of more than 50 people, is nothing short of horrific. This is a terrible reminder to the LGBT community that, though we’ve achieved so much in our fight for full equality, there is still much work to be done for love to prevail. .... '
---- visit the original post at http://thepridela.com at :-
---- see too the National Gay Media Association's (USA) statement on the Orlando shootings at :-
Sunday, June 12, 2016
---- the opening pars to a substantial news report [via Associated Press] posted at The Star (Toronto, Canada), 11 June 2016 :-
'WARSAW, POLAND—Thousands of people marched Saturday in colourful gay pride events in Italy, Poland and Croatia urging support for minority rights in the mostly Catholic nations.
---- an introductory par to a substantial essay on acknowledging gay performance in sports by Terry Schlichenmeyer at Washington Blade (USA), 10 June 2016 :-
' .... Less than a generation ago, if a professional athlete came out publicly as gay, it was cause for controversy (at best) and harassment (at worst), from the stands and from the locker room. In today’s arena, however, gay and lesbian athletes enjoy wider acceptance from fans and followers. Sadly, the intolerance that formerly came from the bleachers can now just as easily come from behind the scenes. .... '
---- see more of Terry Schlichenmeyer's interesting opinion-piece, with thanks, at www.washingtonblade.com at :-
Friday, June 10, 2016
---- brief pars from the introductory section of a substantial book review at The Guardian (UK), 10 June 2016 :-
'A Boy’s Own Story chronicles a teenager’s journey to adulthood in the 1950s midwest USA. .... A Boy’s Own Story is both a masterpiece in the literature of adolescence and a pivotal book in the history of gay writing, opening up the landscape of teenage homosexuality with revelatory frankness. .... More than 30 years on, in a culture in which sexual truth-telling is ubiquitous, it retains its power to startle: in the tense insouciance with which it describes a 14-year-old’s lust for his father, or his earning money to pay for a hustler; or in the hair-raising betrayal that brings the novel to its close, a wilful act towards which we see the whole narrative has been moving with an awful logic. .... '
---- see more of Alan Hollinghurst's appraisal of US author Edmund White's highly-regarded book at www.theguardian.com (UK) at :-
---- • A Boy’s Own Story is a 1982 196-page semi-autobiographical novel by Edmund White. It is now to be published as a Picador Classic on 16 June.
Thursday, June 9, 2016
---- three selected introductory pars from an extended report by Brook E. Wells & Jean M. Twenge at ADVOCATE.com (USA), 8th June 2016 :-
'Attitudes around LGB individuals have clearly changed in the U.S., and those changes may trickled down to shifts in sexual behavior. ....
.... So what’s going on? It’s hard to tell from the data alone why these shifts have happened, though there are many possible reasons. Rising acceptance of same-sex sexual behavior may be related to the tremendous work of LGB rights activists around issues including marriage equality; inclusion and antidiscrimination policies in schools, government, and workplaces; HIV and AIDS; and the negative impact of discrimination, particularly on LGB youth.
That work has helped more and more people become public about their same-sex attractions, behavior, and/or identity. The more people who are public, the more Americans report that they know someone who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual, which then helps to reduce prejudice. .... Simply put, there is likely a cascade effect here — the more accepting we are, the more people are public about their lifestyle, .... '
---- see more of Wells'and Twenge's challenging report at www.advocate.com at :-
Monday, June 6, 2016
---- the opening par from a well-researched extended report & defining graph written by Carrie Weisman at Alternet (USA), 6 June 2016, with thanks :-
'What's often called 'Shemale' porn is consistently among the post popular categories. Colin Allerton is a numbers guy. As director of business development of porn retail site adultempire.com, he keeps a close eye on what trends upward and what doesn't. On his radar is something called T-porn, that is, porn featuring pre-operative transgender women, and its most loyal viewers tend to be heterosexual men. .... '
---- see more of Carrie Weisman's report at www.alternat.org at :-
---- and check the comparative international audience sizes in the table-graph in the side column, as well as the surprisingly insightful YouTube readers' correspondence at the Alternet site.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
---- the opening par from a substantial article by Alex Garner, a Senior Health Strategist, posted at HuffPost Queer Voices, 4th June 2016 :-
'For the past thirty years the term, “safe sex,” has been a part of our vernacular. The term’s popularity seems to have waxed and waned but it’s always been there, relatively unchanged, while the world around it has changed drastically. In light of advancements in HIV treatment and prevention, such as PrEP and undetectable, does the term still have any meaning? And if not, what does that mean? .... '
---- see more of Alex Garner's informed post at www.huffingtonpost.com at :-
Saturday, June 4, 2016
---- the opening few lines from a substantial news report by Associated Press published at The Eagle (Israel), 3rd June 2016 :-
'TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — Colorfully-dressed drag queens and bare-chested muscular men on floats partied alongside thousands of others from the LGBT community at Tel Aviv's annual gay pride parade on Friday, the largest event of its kind in the Middle East. Israeli media reported that 200,000 people joined the festivities. .... '
---- see the entire AP report & pics at www.theeagle.com at :- http://www.theeagle.com/entertainment/party-in-tel-aviv-gay-pride-parade-regions-biggest/article_dfc148c7-8d7e-5b69-860a-64f2390af67f.html
SELECTED TRAILERS OF RECENT GAY-THEMED (OR SIMPLY GAY-INTEREST) MOVIES ....
Don't Ask, Don't Tell is recalled ...
HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY review of "THE HADRIAN ENIGMA" ...
A fair-haired young man, dressed in rich ceremonial armor, is found dead in the Nile River. When he is identified, everyone realizes the dangerous political implications of this death, because Antinous was the eromenos—the lover and protégé—of the Roman Emperor Hadrian.
A grief-stricken Hadrian appoints two members of the court, Suetonius and his patron Clarus, to find out how and why Antinous died. They have two days to find the answer, permission to interrogate anyone except the Emperor and Empress, and the promise that they may forfeit their lives if they fail to satisfy Hadrian.
Failure is a distinct possibility. While Antinous was well-liked and respected, the circle of suspects is wide, as it often will be when the victim is the confidant of an absolute ruler. The two sleuths quickly draft unlikely but able assistants to help them, including a scribe and an observant, multilingual prostitute.
The book offers an extensively researched picture of life in the Roman Empire of 130 AD. Gardiner is equally convincing when writing about imperial politics and succession laws, marriage and sexual customs, philosophy and the theater.
But The Hadrian Enigma—a mix of mystery, comedy, gay and straight romance—is an entertaining read.
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA - an unedited review by historical novelist NAN HAWTHORNE ...
THE HADRIAN ENIGMA | A review by historical fiction author J.R. Tomlin ...
" .... In 130 AD, while accompanying the Emperor Hadrian on a tour up the Nile, the beautiful youth Antinous plunges into the Nile and drowns. Hadrian, near maddened with grief, declares Antinous a god. However, Suetonius just happens to be along on this imperial tour. Already the author of juicy books on contemporary Roman life, he is perfectly placed to investigate this mysterious death, so Emperor Hadrian commands him to investigate and find the murderer within 48 hours or suffer the consequences.
In the imperial compound on the Nile, Suetonius searches for clues. Here, semi-isolated, the bubbling cauldron of the Roman court has been transplanted to a fabulous tent city. Yet, the mystery of Egypt is an ever present backdrop to this baffling death. .... Why was Antinous clad in heavy ceremonial parade armor and weapons when he died? How did he come by a slit on his left wrist and strange marks on his throat? And how can Suetonius unravel all this when the Emperor refuses to let Suetonius even touch the body to examine it? The characterization is vivid and the historicity meticulous in this novel. I enjoyed savoring the characters and setting as Suetonius unraveled the imperial goings on. .... "
See more of J.R. Tomlin's review at her author's blogsite "Writing & More" at : http://jeannetomlin.blogspot.com/
AN UNEDITED REVIEW OF 'THE HADRIAN ENIGMA"....
By a reader down under (New South Wales, Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is for: THE HADRIAN ENIGMA: A Forbidden History (Paperback)
George Gardiner's absorbing new book, which focuses on the relationship between the Roman emperor Hadrian and his young paramour, Antinous of Bithynia, quite possibly heralds the thrilling emergence of a new Mary Renault. (As uneven as it is in some places, to my mind it is a big improvement on Margeurite Yourcenar's book on Hadrian from the 1950s).
Gardiner begins his narrative with the discovery of the dead body of the beautiful youth, who has apparently drowned in the Nile. He coopts as his central figure cum narrator the actual historical figure of Suetonius Tranquillus, who is charged by the supreme colonial ruler Hadrian Caesar with the urgent responsibility of uncovering the reasons for, as well as the manner of, the death. Suetonius works night and day as a kind of investigator/ prosecutor and his dogged inquiry drives the plot. The narrative unfolds as a kind of antique murder mystery, then, and one of the book's great strengths is in the well-paced twists and turns of the plot, throwing up a number of suspects and scenarios along the way that keep the reader intrigued until the very end. Gardiner's humour shines through this character, who is forced to carry out his investigation under the double pressure of a pressing deadline (why is Hadrian so intent of winding it all up in such a short time, we wonder) and the threat of execution if he doesn't come up with the answers.
This is compelling writing. Suetonius is a good choice, as he is known for his history of a dozen Caesars, and the author brings him vividly and humorously to life. Indeed, Gardiner skilfully and imaginitively re-works established historical figures and creates a cast of composite characters where necessary to serve his narrative ends. The fact that he can do this convincingly, with such an extraordinary mixture of ethnicities and beliefs, is writing of a high order. The mastery of research is remarkable, not only for Gardiner's command of the details of ethnic artefacts, weaponry, costume, architecture and so on, but also for the complex politics of Roman colonial expansionism in its abrasive encounter with other cultures. The era was marked by a complex intermingling of belief systems, and Gardiner's fictional world is woven from a rich and amazingly detailed fabric. Very occasionally the research seems almost oversupplied but for the most part it serves to underpin his imaginative reconstructions with persuasive authenticity.
Also among the book's strengths are the finely imagined conversations between characters, both historical and concocted, that move the investigation so beautifully along. There are certain set action sequences pieces, too, that are brilliantly staged and paced--the boar hunt, for example, when Hadrian rescues Antinous, and the marvellous climactic scene where Suetonius brings his prosecutorial charges home (albeit uncertainly, with some lines of inquiry that don't pan out).
The only thing that broke the spell for me was Gardiner's occasional jarring choices in language idioms. There's no doubt that the language(s) of the time and place would have been salted with colourful vulgarities, and the dialogue should reflect that, but some of the terms chosen have such strong contemporary associations for us, here at the beginning of the 21st Century, that they they jar and jolt in the reading. `Toyboy' is one example, `getting your rocks off,' `muscular stud' and `gaga' are others that don't ring well to my ear. It's a pity, because sometimes they drop the reader right out of the spell he weaves so skilfully, otherwise.
In contrast, many of the scenes and dialogue move with stately Latinate constructions within a convincing and well-sustained narrative voice. Gardiner has set himself the difficult task of creating a hybrid language that can include both convincing formal language, and everyday vulgarisms, that ring true within his own reconstruction, yet sound right to our contemporary hearing. It's a delicate juggling act and sometimes he drops his balls. (If he had perhaps reserved their use strictly in dialogue, say, to help with characterisation? Perhaps some of his choices might be better realised in a second edition.)
Another of the book's great strengths is hinted at by the book's sub-title. It's a `forbidden history' not simply because Hadrian issues an edict that only the official `party line' should be recorded (and by implication, Suetonius' project of recording events for us to read goes dangerously gainst the edict of his Emperor). It's forbidden history too because Gardiner has constructed a counter-narrative to the centuries of heavily judgemental readings of this iconic same-sex relationship. Positive affirmations of same-sex bonding were exiled in silence as soon as the early Christian commentators started to impose their dominant narratives over all acceptable behaviours and ideals.
In Yourcenar's 50s version, Antinous's moody adolescent pouting makes Hadrian looks like a bit of a fool for dallying with the youth, but Gardiner proposes a heroic reading here that highlights the finer elements of the erastes/eromenos partnering, which was not only tolerated but celebrated in ancient times. For me, this moves the book onto a higher plane than a mere homoerotic titillation and places the relationship where it belongs, in the heroic company of Patroclus/Achilles and the legendary band of Theban warrior-lovers.
Gardiner successfully and daringly recuperates the much-despised and consistently misrepresented ideal of man-to-man love, here based on respect, admiration and the inspiration of noble ideals, as much as the undeniable and enjoyable erotic attraction, which we see only fitful glimpses of among sporting figures and others today. During the continuing culture wars of our own times it's a relief to read this inspiring alternative with its healing potential as an affirmative voice emerging from the diminishing, culturally imposed silence.
In a strange way `The Hadrian Enigma' is reminiscent of E.M. Forster's gay-affirmative novel `Maurice', which Forster was unable to publish during his lifetime. Forster's wistful happy ending for a same sex coupling was unthinkable in the mid-twentieth Century, and even today, it's hard to read such partnering as anything other than morally sinful - such is our pervasive indoctrination by churchmen - or psychologically misdirected (`homosexuality' is still construed as a kind of `failed development' in conventional psychological readings). Certainly such a relationship will still be regarded as second best to the pressing imperative of reproduction. Gardiner has struck a blow with this courageous and convincing re-telling.
So, for me this is a 5 star book for the outstanding and detailed research and the creative work that underpins the imaginative reconstructions; at least 4 stars for its plotting, but only 3 stars for the strange inconsistencies in his prose style. This averages out to a solidly earned 4 stars.
I do hope Gardiner is deep at work on his next book of historical fiction. He certainly has all the skills required.
See this review in situ at Amazon at :-
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Bye-bye for now from George Gardiner's THE HADRIAN ENIGMA news site ...