I am bewitched with the rogue’s company. If the rascal have not given me medicines to make me love him, I’ll be hanged. – William Shakespeare
Once upon a time, there was a rogue who was less a criminal than he was the end result of an uncontrollable circumstance which transformed him into a self-appointed harbinger of justice. Once upon a time, there was a gentleman who was as much a harbinger of justice as he was the end result of an uncontrollable circumstance which served to reveal the only life he’d ever known was little more than an illusion, and this is the story of how they not only brought an end to the evil they were both sworn to fight but how, in the process, they managed to find a love worth fighting for.
J.K. Pendragon’s The Gentleman and the Rogue is a historical mystery wrapped within a heroes and villains drama and tied up in a romance between two men who represent opposite sides of the law but both stand for good, fight for right, and pursue justice in the face of near insurmountable odds against them succeeding, let alone surviving.
It’s the story of a man who metes out his own brand of vigilante justice, a man who doesn’t always fight fair, who will lie, cheat, and steal to win. It’s the story of a lawman who will bend and break the laws himself to save the innocent and attempt to earn the trust and the truth of a man who trusts no one and will say anything if it serves his purpose. But, where there is honor among thieves, there is also the capacity to love.
The Gentleman and the Rogue is a quickly paced story of betrayal and of treason and of the lust for absolute power that corrupts absolutely, and in some ways it defies classification: I want to call it steampunk, but it’s not steampunk. I want to call the Rogue a superhero (a la Batman) without all the cool gadgets—though he does have some gadgets that were pretty special for their time—but he’s really more heroic than super. So, rather than try to pigeonhole it, I’ll just say that the story was briskly paced and entertaining, a bit spare on the world-building but fun and, I thought, worth the read.