A gay Atlantean prince combats gossip, a creepy priest and throngs of serpents in an attempt to deliver his ill-fated city from annihilation.
Sixteen-year-old Aerander is the crown prince of Atlantis. Like other noble sons, he is training for the Boys’ Panegyris, a festival that showcases the athletic prowess of royal young men. As is customary, Aerander has taken a boyfriend of equal nobility to hold hands with (and incite flurries of tittering gossip). Aerander’s powerful father, Pylartes, disapproves, but when two of the royal boys go missing amid growing political unrest, decorum regarding homosexual flings is the least of Pylartes’ concerns. Aerander’s distant cousin and former best friend is implicated, so Aerander works to solve the mystery and clear his family’s name. The advent of an elusive, legendary star (the titular seventh Pleiade) leads Aerander to the missing boys. In so doing, he unearths the macabre truth behind their disappearances and unravels an ancient mystery. Heterosexual characters are the minority here, and sexual content is unflinchingly included, though at times it can read like a Chatterly-esque romance: “Calyiches climbed between his thighs…awakening a shy sensuality.” Saving the day is Aerander’s foremost goal, but contemplation of the complexities and realities of same-sex relationships is a close second. Varied, vivid landscapes will entice discerning fantasy readers, and beefy vocabulary keeps the narrative hearty.
A marriage of equality among fantasy, mythology, action and same-sex romance. (Fantasy. 14 & up)