A Barb the Zany Old Lady Prerelease Review: Spectred Isle (Green Men #1) by K.J. Charles

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

After the war (WWI) archeologist Saul Lazenby returned home in disgrace when his affair with another man led to charges of treason when some of the innocent remarks he made to his lover were pieced together to cause a disaster for Saul’s fellow soldiers.  After serving his time, he’s lucky anyone is willing to hire him.  His parents have disowned him and he’s found a job with a nice, but clueless and bumbling major who is convinced he can find the location where the body of Geoffrey de Mandeville has been buried. 

Legend says that deMandeville lived as an outlaw, was excommunicated, and was buried alive by the Knights Templar, and his ghost now watches over London and Camlet Moat, where his house was located, in the heart of the city. There is a well in Camelet Moat to which all kinds of legends are attached, including of course, buried treasure, or possibly deMandeville himself. 

All of the arcane activity that has recently increased in the area seems to point to a tear in the veil with deMandeville somehow involved.  The Green Men, principally Randolph Glyde are the only arcanists still remaining who have any chance at all of defeating those from beyond. Glyde is the last of twenty-three generations of arcanists, the most powerful of the families, and may be the only hope of saving mankind.

When both Saul and Randolph keep showing up at the same time in the same place, it’s pretty obvious that one of them is involved in some way with the bizarre, unexplainable things that have been happening recently—things like a tree suddenly combusting before their eyes.  But it’s not until they end up trapped on a spiritual plane together, and Randolph needs to use his arcane abilities to get them out of the trap, that the two realize there’s more than magic between them. 

I can’t begin to do justice to this highly complex and imaginative otherworldly mystery created by the inimitable KJ Charles in early 20th century England.  Her stories are such a fine mix of reality and imagination, they always astound me, and most definitely, always entertain me.  This is the beginning of a new series and it packs a powerful punch! 

Saul is the kind of guy you want to take home and wrap up in arms of love.  Emotionally damaged by circumstances beyond his control, living in poverty, and barely able to earn enough to keep food on the table, his once highly promising career in archeology is lost. He’s now reduced to being front man for a bumbling major on a quest to prove his crazy ideas are based in reality. 

Randolph is from an old, proud family, rich in the heritage of arcane abilities, and responsibility was literally driven into him from childhood.  He takes everything seriously, including his promise to keep Saul safe.  When his cousin Theresa comes back from the dead to impart her knowledge to Saul in Camlet Moat, and Saul agrees to become the Walker of the Moat, the future of the two men is sealed in fate.  That Saul readily accepts everything about Randolph and his abilities, and that they are developing strong feelings of love for one another is a bonus.

If you enjoy tales of the spirit realm, witchcraft, or other inexplicable mysterious happenings, you will likely enjoy this tale. Add in a romance between two men who can’t believe their good fortune to find a possible life partner during a time in history when it seemed virtually impossible, and you’ve got a great story to look forward to.


Cover by Lexiconic Design features a lone man in 1920’s attire, smoking a cigar while leaning against a temple or church wall. It’s probably Randolph and fits the story, but the subdued tones aren’t very attention-getting.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook, 271 pages
Expected publication: August 3rd 2017 by KJC Books
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesGreen Men #1

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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