James Morgan has spent years working his way up to a respected position in the Bastard Legion — a feared motorcycle club based in Melbourne.
Lucas Sinclair is also a member of the Legion, although his membership has more to do with his father’s previous position as Enforcer than Luc actually wanting to succeed in the club. Due to a family situation, Luc has been earmarked as trouble by several other Legion members, putting himself at the end of a bad beating one night. When he realizes what is happening, Morgan steps in to break up the one-sided fight up. Morgan takes the injured Luc home where he admits to Morgan that he is gay, and though Morgan insists that he is straight, the two men end up in a passionate clinch.
Life becomes more complicated when Luc asks to be released from the Bastard Legion, putting himself in a dangerously vulnerable position. As Luc and Morgan grow closer, Morgan realizes that he may have found something he values more than Legion life, but the likelihood of him being able to escape the club is slim.
I am a huge fan of the Sons of Anarchy television series so finding a novel focused on a motorcycle club was exciting for me. I really like the way B.D. Roca builds the threat level in Broken Sun. I read the first half of the story on the edge of my seat, concerned not just for the safety of Morgan and Luc as individuals, but also for their relationship. From the beginning of Broken Sun, Roca establishes that Luc is in a precarious situation because he is protecting his sister, who has run away from her Legion member boyfriend. This results in his beating, which could have been much worse if Morgan had not stepped in. Luc then further compromises his safety by asking to leave the Legion. Roca communicates the air of tension in the clubhouse when Luc asks his question and the reply he gets compounds the difficulty of the position he is putting himself in:
“No, no one just walks away from the Legion, not unless they’re a special fucking snowflake. You’re no exception to the rule. Or do you think you are? Think you’re better than the Legion? Than the bloody Legion? Do you, snowflake?”
He slammed a big meaty palm down on the tabletop. The sound cracked the air.
Roca’s use of phrasing and violence illustrates the importance of the Legion to its members, but the reader also has an understanding that Luc has other priorities, like his family and living his life outside the club. I think that because we are aware that Luc is a gay man having to hide his sexuality from the Legion, we acknowledge his need for freedom. Roca ensures that we comprehend the Legion’s attitude towards homosexuality through Morgan’s reaction to Luc’s revelation:
“Scared of the fag?”
The soft words landed like a blow. They’d been intended that way, and they both knew it.
Morgan fought to keep the shock of it off his face.
Sinclair was confirming everything in one casual, taunting sentence. Every racing thought Morgan had back in the pub. Fuck, the guy truly was reckless, reckless and totally bloody –
The breath hissed from between his teeth. “Are you crazy?”
Because talking to Morgan like that could get him every bone broken.
Calling himself gay could get him every bone broken.
It is not only Luc’s character who has issues to deal with, but Morgan’s too. The main threat for Morgan is his brother, Steve, who is also involved in the Legion, but in a drug-making capacity. Although Steve plays a small role in Broken Sun, it is an influential one and the drama he creates in Morgan’s life has a lasting impact.
One of the problems with Broken Sun, for me, was Morgan’s sexuality. He claims he is straight to Luc and has had numerous one-night stands with women, though never a relationship. However, he is clearly attracted to Luc and in the narrative, we learn that “he’d always been aware of both men and women” but that choosing women had been a conscious decision about acceptance. I felt that Roca was using bisexuality conveniently to make a point about the fact that Morgan and Luc’s relationship is special. To me, this felt unnecessary because it is Morgan’s sacrifices and his extreme actions that say more about his feelings for Luc than the issue of his sexuality does.
I also found the time jump in part three of Broken Sun disassociating. Roca tells us that this is “more than a decade,” but does not specify a length of time and actually, [spoiler]the men come back together for Legion business, not primarily because of their feelings. [/spoiler] Rather than this time jump making me believe in the strength of their relationship, I found my interest in the story had been lost. Both men have changed: Morgan seems harder and Luc was more independent and I could not bring myself to want their happy ending.
Broken Sun is gritty, steamy, and tense and though I cannot wholeheartedly tell readers to rush and buy this book, I know there are people who will enjoy the intensity of Luc and Morgan and the relationship they share.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.