Book Review: The General and the Horse-Lord by Sarah Black

The General and the Horse Lord by Sarah BlackTitle: The General and the Horse-Lord
Author: Sarah Black
Genre: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy from publisher
Published: April 5, 2013 by Dreamspinner Press

General John Mitchel and his favorite pilot, Gabriel Sanchez, served together as comrades and brothers-in-arms for more than twenty-five years. They followed the warrior’s path: honor first, and service, and the safety of the tribe. Their own needs for love and companionship were secondary to the mission. Retirement from the army, however, proves challenging in ways neither expected.

When old warriors retire, their armor starts falling away, and the noise of the world crowds in. That changing world sets up longings in both men for the life they might have had. After years of loving on the down-low, the idea of living together in the light seems like pure sweet oxygen to men who have been underwater a little too long. But what will it cost them to turn their dreams into truth?

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: This book is squee worthy, utterly unique and beyond compelling.

The Set Up: General John Mitchel and his helicopter pilot, Gabriel Sanchez (nicknamed the Horse-Lord) served together in the military for twenty-five years and were secret lovers the entire time. Now they’re both retired from the army and wanting to redefine their relationship and lives.

Why I Read this Book: This synopsis totally captured my attention with both leads being retired from the military.

What I Liked: I am going to try rational reviewing here but I really just want to squee! This is an utterly compelling romance because it explores what happens after the I-love-you’s. This is a romance of how two secret lovers build a life together with all of life’s complications, joys and trials. John “The General” and Gabe “The Horse-Lord” fought side by side in the US military for twenty-five years and they were lovers that entire time. But their relationship was snatched in bits and pieces were they could never share a morning-after coffee or publicly claim each other. As John says, now the men need to “work on the two of them becoming a couple, becoming a family, rather than just two independent men who loved on the down-low.” I loved this unique exploration of a mature relationship where the men’s joy in each other deepens to contentment with their relationship and the world at large.

I should mention here that I adored this non-explicit sexual relationship. The sexual intimacy is alluded to here but not graphic. However, their relationship contains a sensuality that more than makes up for the lack of erotic content. This may be the only MM novel I’ve read where a blowjob is halted to allow for a meaningful and emotional complicated conversation—and I still loved the novel!

What I Also Liked: The plot involves Gabe and John negotiating a new, joined life which includes their respective families as well. John is raising his college-aged nephew since his parents died five years previously. Kim is an absolute gem of a character. As Kim told John as a child, his soul is the “color of butterflies” and he’s a gentle, humorous and powerful secondary character. His ex-boyfriend’s abuse of power is a huge part of the plot and showcases all the lovely characters in this book. Gabe has two children and they’re also complex characters with the perfect balance of maturity and immaturity with pouty sulking in amongst accepting their new lives gracefully.

The plot of Kim’s professor who abuses his power to sleep with vulnerable gay students and then batter them is a compelling storyline. It showcases John and Gabe’s partnership and ability to work together while simultaneously involving them in the gay community that is “out” in a way John and Gabe can only envy. I love the outcome of this plot and what it says about John, Gabe and the family built around them.

What I Didn’t Like: This is a delicious book that’s like the perfect piece of cake, just the right flavor and size.

IMO: This is a must read for anyone looking for a complicated MM romance out of the ordinary. Go on, read it and squee for yourself.

J9’s Rating:
5 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


  1. Sounds wonderful, even if the cover stinks.

  2. LOL. The title and cover makes me not want to read this book. But your 5 frog rating has me interested.

    1. I know!! This is absolutely a case of don't-judge-a-book-by-its-cover (or title!) Such a unique & good read.


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