Thursday, May 1, 2008


by Colette Gale
Signet Eclipse
Reviewed by Andi

Master, Colette Gale's follow-up erotic novel to 2007's Unmasqued, is a retelling of another great classic. This time around, Gale takes aim at Alexandre Dumas's timeless tale, The Count of Monte Cristo.

After years in prison for a crime he didn't commit, Edmond Dantes intends to exact revenge on those who put him in exile and the woman who broke his heart. He returns to Paris in the guise of the powerful Count of Monte Cristo seeking vengeance.

Mercedes Herrera was heartbroken when her Edmond disappeared, and she ends up in a loveless marriage to the slimy Fernand Morcerf. Upon Edmond's return as the Count of Monte Cristo, only Mercedes sees through his guise, and she soon realizes that his goals for revenge include her.

A blog reader recently commented at my site that she didn't know if she could handle "a sexed up version of The Count of Monte Cristo," so maybe I'm lucky that I haven't read Cristo before, and I'm not terribly familiar with the premise. In fact, I'm far less familiar with Dumas's work than I was with Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera when I reviewed Unmasqued.

While I don't like to brag that I haven't read these great classics (yet!), I do think it put me at an advantage as I read Master. I had no expectations, there was no prior story to "live up to," and I certainly couldn't get my feelings hurt because so-and-so slept with so-and-so. You get the picture. I enjoyed a rollicking and intense adventure about love and sex. And it was juicy! I might even venture to say that it was a heck of a ride. Pun most definitely intended.

While the book started out slowly--carefully laying the groundwork of what is undoubtedly a complicated original novel--it quickly built up speed and became an involving story. What I love about Gale's erotica is that it's literally what every woman I know wants out of the erotic--a well thought story that includes hot sex. It's so much more involving when one can care about the characters and what happens to them in and out of the sack.

I was certainly compelled not only by the smouldering Edmond Dantes, but also the heart wrenching life of Mercedes Herrera. Trapped in her icky marriage to Morcerf, she's given up the dream that Edmond might still be alive, and she focuses much of her attention on her beloved son, Albert. She really is very devoted to his well being and keeping him safe as he begins his journey through the world as an adult.

There are a variety of convincing, very human characters in this story. It's not just about the sex. So, if you're longing for a retelling, this might be a book you should consider. I'm off to secure the original novel.

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