What in the world did I read?
June 18, 2015 7:37 PM   Subscribe

The new EL James thread jogged my memory about a bad book I read several years ago. It was a historical fiction novel with a title like "Through an Amber Spyglass: 1651", except that wasn't the phrase or the year. Help me find this NSFW trainwreck of a book!

I bought the book at a library sale at least three years ago, but I seem to remember it was published fairly recently (after 1990, anyway.) It was described on the back as being "a worthy successor to Dorothy Dunnett" or words to that effect. It was definitely historical fiction, and it had a title that was a phrase and then a year. It wasn't a romance novel; it was marketed as historical fiction in sort of a The Pillars of the Earth vein.

I'm about 80% certain the book was about a real historical figure (male), possibly a villain of some kind. The book was also about a made-up character, a woman in the disguise of a young-ish boy. It mostly took place in France, and the love story (if you want to call it that) started with the main male character establishing dominance over the servant boy by an anal sex scene of dubious consent. Various 'gritty' adventures and political intrigues followed. I remember almost nothing else about the book, except the main female character's preference for anal sex due to prior sexual trauma. As you can imagine, Googling those details is not yielding the results I was looking for.

Book nerds of Mefi, what in the world did I read?
posted by WidgetAlley to Media & Arts (3 answers total)
Best answer: Are you thinking of Mary Gentle, A Sundial in a Grave: 1610?
posted by yarntheory at 7:55 PM on June 18, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: yarntheory nails in like 20 minutes! Thanks, Metafilter. I could not find that book.
posted by WidgetAlley at 7:57 PM on June 18, 2015 [2 favorites]

Hah, that's the book I thought of immediately as well. Although I don't remember the anal sex - IIRC the link in question was some kind of submission / embarrassment thing for the male character. Or is that a different Mary Gentle book which features a main character with a sexual kink?
posted by pharm at 1:40 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

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