The Line of Succession 5: Royal Prerogative, Harry F Rey
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Deep Desires Press
Genre: Gay Romance
Tags: Alt-British Royal Family, Drama, Romance, Erotic, Series
Length: 181 Pages
The crisis facing the British monarchy is rushing headlong to catastrophe. To show the world that Britain is ready to embrace change, Prince James has embraced a royal referendum, to let the people decide who will be the next monarch.
Will the British people accept James, a gay man, as their soon-to-be king? Or will they break with centuries of tradition and sidestep him to embrace his sister Alexandra, a woman who promises great reform?
But the crisis extends much deeper than the tabloid headlines.
James and his fiance Andrew struggle to adjust to their newfound status in life and in the public while facing endless obstacles. With an indignant Church and affronted mothers trying to stand in their way and all of the drama in the palace regarding the new hot young servants, James is a tabloid headline away from losing it all.
Meanwhile, Alexandra and Faisal’s shaky marriage is on the verge of crumbling. She’s willing to sacrifice her marriage—there’s no cost too high—if it means she can win the royal referendum and become the Queen she knows she’s destined to be and secure a royal future for her children.
And in the background is Lizzie, the illegitimate daughter of Prince Richard and half-sister of James and Alexandra. She’s all too happy to help if it means bringing her war against James to a bitter conclusion, and perhaps destroying the monarchy.
One thing is clear: The battle for the line of succession is far from over.
I love this series, the intrigue and the connection to the goings on behind the scenes of this alt-British monarchy is so close to the bone of the real thing, so intriguing. No murders this time around, although Prince Richard’s legacy lives on, and there is the Gaveston Protocols hanging in the background, but the stakes are high and there are some long-game chess moves in play. I’m not saying that I truly know the British royals, but I have my cynicism and my imagination and have lived long enough to watch what goes on in and around the Firm. And we all know about people’s behaviour around power.
What I also respect about this series is that Harry F Rey makes some subtle social commentary, and also takes a look at what it would be like to have a gay king upon the throne. James is warming the seat of power temporarily, but there’s going to be a referendum between himself and his twin sister, Alexandra. The polls show James as the peoples’ favourite, but Alexandra cannot be easily dismissed because she is one formidable woman. She’s allowed her children to be shipped off to Riyadh instead of being with her. She distances herself from her husband, Faisal, because his being Saudi gets in the way of the people wanting her as their queen. I mean, tsk tsk, you can’t have a person of colour on the throne, gay seems more palatable to the general public. Alexandra has always been the most politically and machinations savvy. James is no fool, and his and Andrew’s handling of the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Ireland was clever. However, he seems to be more interested in fun and allowing Samuel, the twat, to lead him astray. Not smart, James. Then there’s Lizzie Windsor, the dark horse, the illegitimate heir hiding in plain sight, manipulating some of her own chaos. Lisa Mantis the head of MI5 has her agenda, the PM is in it up to her neck. And then there’s Greg Hoddington, the Gazette editor’s son, a former lover of Andrew’s, who is back and a little pissed off.
This series has an ensemble cast. From the royals, to their staff, to the many manipulators, to lovers – some that can cause big ripples. But Andrew and James are the main characters. Its their love story, one which has been fifteen years in the making. So much devotion between them. But it’s not always easy to like/love James and Andrew. I have attachments to both but I could have knocked their bloody heads together in this one, especially James, but they are spot-on for who and what they are. The privilege they both come from. Bear in mind this is meant to be erotic romance and genre fiction, not standard ‘mm’. Both men sleep with other people, often in tandem, sometimes more clandestine, and they have had an open relationship for a long time. Here, though, both men push the boundaries.
I like Alexandra because she is determined in a difficult situation. The women are naturally bypassed for men but not on her watch. Not if she can help it. I felt closer to and sorry for Faisal in this book. Faisal could have put his slippers under my bed anytime throughout the series, he is one hot man. He has tried everything to be the perfect partner to Alexandra, to be seen as a proper Englishman, but it feels and looks like it’s all for naught. Which bites.
These books aren’t standalones, you really do need to have read the books prior to get the most out of what’s happening. Multi-arcs are interlinked and building and colliding quite deftly.
The writing is, again, clever and sharp and observational and sexy. It’s also well edited and presented.
I thought this might be the end but it seems there is (at least) one more series book in the offing, and the title keeps you guessing, ‘God Bless the ?’ *Pulls out hair.
I honestly have no clue where the author is taking this series and the characters. It could end in multiple ways and I wouldn’t be surprised with any of them. I mean, eesh, Andrew and James might not even end up together. Maybe Riyadh is the future for some of the main ensemble, maybe not. Someone is going to be on the backburner for the throne, but I am not sure which way Rey is going to play this. I thoroughly enjoyed this addition to The Line of Succession series. 5 Stars!