Basic Training

Basic Training
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MLR Press
Release Date
October 2011
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ

Joining the Royal Marines is a challenge that only the toughest young men should take on. As one of the most prestigious regiments in the British Forces, becoming a Royal Marine Commando is achieved only by the best.

Platoon Sergeant Col Wilson, called Bulldog, knows all about achievements, and with the responsibility for the recruits at Lympstone, he is adamant that despite the highest drop-out rate in the Forces, his boys should pass basic training to the highest standards.

Yet Sgt Wilson's world of work, gym, training and discipline is heaved out of its angles when the new platoon arrives with Chris Thompson amongst them. A promising, picture-perfect recruit: twenty-one, handsome, tall, a university graduate and a triathlete, and … openly gay in an environment of institutional homophobia.

Col finds himself thrown into turmoil that is nothing like any conflict he'd ever encountered, nor any operational theatre he'd ever fought in. When this particular battle becomes personal, he has to ask himself who is the enemy.

Book Review by Valentina Heart (author,reviewer)
Dec 16, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
153 people found the following review helpful
I've always liked reading about soldiers, the difficulties such career entails and the necessary roughness all of them individually present. I suppose it's that ever-present infatuation we civilians have toward men who can take care of themselves and daily protect others. Mouthwatering muscles, a knack for weapons and the uniform don't hurt a bit, of course. When I got the chance to review BASIC TRAINING, I jumped right on it, expecting hard as nails soldiers, details about the hardship their training presents and a rough but everlasting romance. My expectations were met, but not all the way.

Col is a platoon Sergeant – Bulldog – who has made the military his life. His friends are there, so is his gym, and training others for the work he'd been doing for years couldn't very well be more rewarding. He thrives in the accomplishments of others when they exceed their capabilities and become the best of the best in the Royal Marines.

But no one's life is perfect, and no matter how much he deludes himself, Col is missing a home, a sense of connection and the most important thing of all, he's missing the acknowledgement of his own sexuality.

As always, that one person comes along who changes the rules from the ground up and doesn't look back. Chris is a new recruit, at first glance perfect material for an officer, with all the qualifications as well as enviable physical readiness, but for that one glaring marked box where instead of heterosexual, he declared himself as homosexual.

Chris is determined to succeed and be the best, something he achieves with natural grace and enough determination and stubbornness for three people. The road is not easy, but rewards are plenty, and eventually he gets the career, a promising future and the man who made the ground shake. He gets Bulldog.

Other than the collaboration with Aleksandr Voinov in Special Forces, this is the only book I've read so far by Marquesate. I would be lying if I didn't say it reminded me very much of the previously mentioned book. From the long absences caused by the military life, to the mention of cheating during those months without a warm body in the same bed, it followed the same concept I very much liked in Special Forces.

Even with the similarities, the books are very different, and anyone looking for the same read should take a step back, reevaluate and then return to this book with an open mind.

The guys are manly men, bone-headed and strong. While their road together wasn't easy, there wasn't much conflict to spice up the story. The sex was hot but not excessive and certainly not brutal. In fact, other than one scene with bloody details of an attack, the book never got any rougher and overall is a rather sweet. The progress of their relationship is very slow and stretches over a few years, where it's pretty easy to follow their personal growth and that road to the eventual happy ending.

My remarks revolve around the feeling of familiarity – I just couldn't shrug off similarities to Special Forces – and the fact that the story dragged at times. The time jumps were normal considering the year span of the book, but there were no shocking situations or heart stopping moments (well, except one) to make their lives more interesting. Don't get me wrong, I loved their story, loved the time gap as well as Col and Chris as main characters, but I could have done with a bit more bite and soldiers being soldiers. Political aspects of it aside, I would have loved to read more about the difficult training months, or Chris's tours in war zones with the direct effect it would have had on the other part of the couple.

While not amazing to the point of speechlessness, this book is still one of the best m/m soldier books out there and it should definitely be on the subject fans' reading list.
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September 16, 2019 10:28 PM ( EST )