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The Henchmen of Zenda was written by KJ Charles. This m/m adventure story is an homage to The Prisoner of Zenda, a minor classic from the Victorian era. Now, I have never read The Prisoner of Zenda before, but Charles is one of my favorite authors, so this was a must-buy for me.

Jasper Detchard is an English mercenary who finds himself in the small European country of Ruritania. The king’s half-brother wants to claim the throne for himself, so he is assembling a band of men to help him achieve his goal.

Between all the political machinations and double crossing, Jasper manages to catch the attention of Rupert of Hentzau, a fellow mercenary. This isn’t a romance novel by any stretch of the imagination, but somewhere along the way, Jasper and Rupert realize that they share a mutual attraction. The only question is whether they will both survive in these uncertain times long enough to do something about it.

This is a rollicking adventure! Jasper is a candid narrator with a wicked sense of humor. He’s mostly objective, but he does purposefully withhold information from the reader, only to reveal it when he feels it’s an opportune time. The book is fairly fast paced; even in the duller moments when they’re waiting for Something Big to happen, there’s always some sort of scheming going on in the background.

I would recommend The Henchmen of Zenda. I don’t think you have to read The Prisoner of Zenda in order to appreciate this book; I never felt at a disadvantage because I haven’t read it. This book is a delightful guilty pleasure, and I certainly hope Charles writes more like it in the future!

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