Title: The Sol of Jupiter
Author: Thaddeus J
Publisher: Thaddeus J
Rating: A List
Blurb: Turner Michaels is an idealistic junior enlisted communicator that wants nothing more than to successfully execute his duties. After being transferred to a light armored reconnaissance unit in the middle of the Mojave Desert, the young U.S. Marine starts to feel a bit overwhelmed and out of place from his usual role of support – that is until he is reunited with his old friend Jace Sozio. Reconnecting with one another is simple, but neither of them could have imagined the intense yet awkward attraction that would grow between them. Though admitting these feelings to one another poses a dilemma for the men, as neither wants it to threaten their close friendship.
Taking things to a whole new level raises a number of other questions as well. First and foremost, would their peers accept them, or would they have to forever hide their relationship? And admitting their true feelings for one another is easier said than done. Their harsh supervisor is demanding and makes life miserable for the pair, and they also have a number of very good (though sometimes annoying) friends that make them question if they even need enemies. But with the help of their family and inspiring leaders the two will discover that loyalty and support are stronger than bigotry and misperception. Proving that the Corps indeed is a sacred brotherhood where men can trust one another with their very lives.
Review: I am usually wary of military themed books, because my husband is a veteran of the US Army and I was an Army wife for years. So I was thrilled reading a book with accurate descriptions of being a Marine. That said, if you have zero military knowledge this book will be a tough read. So open it up and go slow, ask a buddy who served if you get lost in the terminology. Because the story is worth the effort.
One of my favorite scenes in the book, and there are dozens of them I loved, is the first one. The two young men are on the bus heading to Boot Camp. You can feel their anticipation, fear, nervousness, and joy of starting something new, becoming something new..a US Marine.
These two men, from different backgrounds, come together in friendship, bonding as no other can, as brothers in arms.
When Michaels and Soze meet again at their permanent duty station their friendship picks up where it left off. They are at the beginning of very successful careers, seeing themselves as lifers. They both know that the Marines are what they want to do with their lives and all the choices they make will affect this.
These young men joined shortly after 9/11, like so many others, called to duty out of a spirit of patriotism. Unfortunately, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was still in effect and would destroy both of their dreams if the reality of their relationship was ever found out.
Michaels was lucky enough to find a roommate and friend in Maxwell to share his struggles as a gay man in the Marines. Mike is an intense young man. He loved the order and discipline of the Marines, and took his job and life very seriously. He also fought his attraction to his best friend, trying desperately not to lose the closest friend he’s ever had.
Soze isn’t in the closet, he doesn’t even acknowledge he is gay, until his attraction to his best friend becomes overwhelming. He struggles with these feelings for Mike, and his other buddies see him struggling, and don’t know what to do to help him.
There is this moment in the book. Michaels is standing toe to toe with someone who is bent on destroying him because he is gay. It is the culmination and turning point in the book. We see confusion, hatred, love, and the lives of three men potentially imploding. As Mike says:
“There is no greater friend, or greater enemy than a US Marine.”
He puts it all on the line. He will do anything to save his lover’s career. Even if that means taking on another brother in arms to do the right thing. I stood up and shouted, cheering Michaels on!
These men are worth the time to learn about your Marine Corps. Their story is intense and believable. I saw their lives, their careers unfolding, their choices to make a life together work. The ending is incredibly satisfying.
When I finished this book, it stuck with me for days. Even now as I write this I’m brought back into the sandbox with them as they devoured each other with their first kiss. Uniforms ascue, weapons set aside, belt buckles scrapping their stomachs as they breathe in each other for the first time. *sigh*
Reviewed by Beans