REVIEW: The Englor Affair by J.L. LangleySaturday, November 8, 2008 13:00
The Englor Affair picks up just after the end of My Fair Captain, J.L. Langley’s first story in her Sci-Fi Regency series. The blurb makes it sound like his brother is still missing but that isn’t true. He was rescued in the first book. Most of the major world-building and the Admiral’s decision to return to Englor to see what he can discover about the kidnapping plot is found in MFC, too.
To catch new readers up to speed: This series is set in the far future. The planets Regelence and Englor both have societies based on the English Regency period. This gives the books a familiar feel for Historical Regency readers – we see members of the aristocracy going to balls and the opera and discussing matters in Parliament. At the same time, there are elements familiar to sci-fi readers – starships, computers of all sorts (including AI butlers!), fragger guns and more. While some might think the two genres wouldn’t play well together, Ms. Langley makes everything fit together in a surprisingly seamless way.
Regelence society is patriarchal – so patriarchal that male-male relationships are the norm for the aristocracy. This not the case for Englorian society. Englor is a more literal interpretation of England’s Regency era. Homosexuality is frowned upon and, at the beginning of The Englor Affair, there are rumblings of having it declared punishable by death. Awkward if you’re the Crown Prince and gay… just ask Simon.
As we begin, Prince Payton of Regelence has been asked by his new brother-in-law, Nate, an Intergalactic Navy Admiral, to hack into an Englorian computer system. They are trying to find out why Payton’s brother, Aiden, and Nate’s son were kidnapped by an Englorian spy. To carry out his mission, Payton is disguised as a member of Nate’s starship crew.
After arriving on Englor, Payton continues his attempts to decipher coded messages and break into the Englor Marines computer system. At the same time, he tries to find out all he can about Simon Hollister, a colonel in the Englor Marines and heir to the Englorian throne. Simon may have a connection to the coded messages. One evening, during a visit to the base gym, Payton meets an extremely handsome redhead (guess who). Even after he learns the identity of his redhead, Payton ignores Nate’s earlier warnings to stay away from Simon.
While trying to unravel mystery behind Aiden’s kidnapping and its connection to Englor, Simon and Payton also must deal with Englorian society’s view of same-sex relationships and how it affects them and their future – especially after they are caught in a compromising situation. After Simon learns that Payton is really a Regelen prince, it becomes clear that the only option is marriage. One does not compromise a prince and just walk away like nothing happened, after all.
Since things were accelerated a bit, Simon and Payton must figure out the dynamics of their relationship at the same time they are trying to solve the mystery. Payton is quite young (19!) and still trying to establish his independence, especially since in Regelence young men are chaperoned until age 25 or marriage, whichever comes first. Simon is older and, as a Englorian Marine and royal heir, used to being in command. It isn’t surprising that they clash a bit.
It was a good decision by Ms. Langley to not show Englorians magically accepting the relationship between Simon and Payton, since that would have rung false in a Regency-based society. However, she didn’t dwell on the negative view and showed several other same-sex couples stepping forward in support so it isn’t difficult to see changes and, hopefully, a larger acceptance coming along as the series continues.
If you like Regencies, sci-fi, and M/M stories, give this series a try. I do recommend starting with the first book since it sets up some major plot points (and it’s just really good, too). For those who have never read M/M and are interested, I say this is a good series to start with. The Regency-like setting allows for familiar elements and I enjoy the notion that the young men of Regelence are protected and guarded just like their female Earth-bound Regency era counterparts (and we all know how things usually turn out for those young ladies). For those who have been anxiously awaiting this sequel, you won’t be disappointed.
In hiding who he was, Payton found himself…and the man he would grow to love.
After his brother is kidnapped, Prince Payton Townsend masquerades as an Admiral’s assistant in order to track the culprits through the tangled mysteries of the planet Englor. He finds way more than he bargained for in the form of Marine Colonel Simon Hollister.
Simon is no ordinary soldier. He’s heir to Englor and his life is mapped out for him: throne, bride, and eventually an heir. He never expected a dalliance with Payton to blossom into love, or that the organization that taught him to lead would threaten that love—and their lives.
Danger and intrigue abound as they learn more about their shared enemy, and about each other. What they learn could help them rise above to an enduring love—or pull them apart.
Read an excerpt.
Other books in the series: