Thursday, 29 November 2012

New Release - the first two Penwinnard Stories

New Release:

The first two Penwinnard Stories
 are now available on Amazon
as eBooks or as paperbacks.

The Penwinnard Stories are set in a privately run Boys' Home in Cornwall. It caters for 24 boys of between 11 and 18 (or until they leave school.)

Ian MacKender is the manager, and likes to boast that he runs the best institution of its type in the whole of the UK and very possibly, the whole of the world. The boys think it's the best as well. It's right next to the beach.

Penwinnard means place of the falcons.
The boys are proud to be falcons. 
(This image with the kind permission of Greta van der Rol.)

 The first two Penwinnard Stories have just been released on Amazon.

Amazon author page:


'Angel No More' is the first of stories.

He calls himself Robert Kelly, known as Bob. They call him the mystery boy.
A boy is discovered walking on a country road. He is injured, exhausted, lost and alone. He refuses to tell what happened to him, and the name he gives matches no records. But he tells a story, a story of routine kidnaps, murders, and abuse. It wasn't him, though - he was never there. ‘Someone’ had told him about it. This is the story of Bob, who would never again be called Angel.

Ian Mackender is the manager of Penwinnard Boys' Home. . He knows his boys, he knows the good and bad of them. He understands them better than they understand themselves. But this new one? He doesn’t understand Bob.

When the story finally breaks, the ramifications will be felt worldwide.

 'You Gotta Have Manners' is the second.

Sid wants a new family and is willing to go to a lot of trouble to find one.
As he says rather too often, 'You Gotta Have Manners.'

A review for 'You Gotta Have Manners'

After reading ‘Angel No More’, I was hoping for more of the same – and I wasn’t disappointed. Although the focus is slightly more on young Sid, who’s desperate for a new adoptive family, there is still plenty of action involving the other boys. We’ve said goodbye to some characters and we meet a few new ones, but as before this is a fly-on-the-wall account of life in a privately-run boys’ home in Cornwall. And it’s beautifully done too, with just the right amount of detail. The author has perfect timing – knowing when to focus in on something specific and when to pull back and give us the wider picture, resulting in a satisfying read. Thoroughly recommended again.  (see on Smashwords) 

The next Penwinnard Story?



Sunday, 25 November 2012

Cyber Monday - great eBook deals.


Black Friday may be gone,

but Cyber Monday is just around the corner!

Check out some great ebook deals – for less than the price of a sandwich you can feed your imagination! -

Great reads for less than the cost of a sandwich, some free, some on special at 99c,  none more than $3.00.

                       List put together by Joleen Naylor, 
                                 author of
                              Shades of Gray (Amaranthine) 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Sample Sunday - a book about a eunuch

This is a sample of my best novel - 'Not a Man.'

The blurb:  From boy of the slums to Oxford Graduate. This is the story of Shuki Bolkiah, modern day eunuch.

"Not a Man' is set in an unnamed country of Arabia. Shuki is aged ten, and a 'bed-boy.' His master wants his beautiful boy to stay beautiful, so arranges for him to have 'a small operation.' This traumatic event changed forever the life of a clever, determined boy.

Shuki learns to manipulate his master. He learns to read and write, he gets his master into the habit of giving him large sums of money, and he makes friends with the master's sons.

Shuki becomes more beautiful with every passing year. His master becomes more possessive, more jealous, and Shuki is guarded. When his master takes him to England, he escapes and starts a new life with the money he's saved. He is fifteen.

The Sample:

Note: This book contains accounts of sex between a man and a boy, and an account of an illegal operation.
Copyright: M. A. McRae

Part 1

Chapter 1

Ten-year-old Shuki snuggled close to his master. He’d been with him four months now. They’d guarded him for the first few weeks, but it was no longer necessary. From the start, he’d had his very own comfortable bedroom, even with a modern bathroom and toilet attached such as he’d never seen before. Most importantly, he always had enough to eat.
There was little that was traditional or old-fashioned about the Master’s ‘townhouse’. It was large and very comfortable, situated among other similar homes, adjacent to the ‘Western Sector’ where nearly all the Europeans of the city lived.
The Master was a very rich man, though the city he lived in was made up mostly of slums. Shuki was a child of the slums. When the guard had been dropped, Shuki had tried to return home. But while his mother had welcomed him, crying over him, when he said how he lived, she’d grown silent, and had finally told him that he could not return home. He was dishonoured, and his father would kill him rather than have him dishonour the whole family. His father would say he was an offence to Allah.
So he’d gone back. He belonged to Hassanel Daoud now, whom he called Uncle Hass.
They were in the large bed of Hassanel, who gently stroked him awake. It was quite late and Shuki woke reluctantly. He’d have to go back to his own bed now, and it seemed lonely. He snuggled closer to the warm side of his master. Hassanel may have deprived him of his freedom, may have ‘dishonoured’ him, and yet he’d always been treated with loving tenderness. Even when they’d forced him onto the Brieke-tei those first few times, it had been just as gently as possible.
Hassanel spoke to him tenderly. “Do you like living with me, Shuki?”
Shuki answered sleepily, “I like living with you, Uncle Hass.”
“Then you can stay a while yet. I like having you here.”
For Shuki, it was in many ways far better than living with his parents and his siblings, some of whom he’d seen die. There had never been enough to eat at home, and Shuki very much liked having enough to eat. He hadn’t liked the sex at the start, but Hassanel always took care to hurt him as little as possible. At the beginning, he’d always used the Brieke-tei and explained that securing him so he couldn’t move meant that he was less likely to be accidentally hurt. Hassanel knew to always go slowly and Shuki was so accustomed to it now that he seldom felt any pain.
All the same, Hassanel still used the Brieke-tei now and then, explaining that having him fully secured very much excited him. Dr. Moussaoui liked him like that as well. And he liked him secured to the special high bed in the red room, kept locked except for those times. Shuki didn’t really like all the straps on his body as he lay on his back, but when the doctor had him like that, he’d be licked, and that felt good. Often, his penis became stiff under the licking, which always pleased both his master and the doctor.
The only time he’d been hurt was a few weeks before, when Hassanel had loaned him to a friend who’d pushed him prone on the bed in the blue room, entered him forcibly and thrust hard as Hassanel watched. But Hassanel had held him close afterwards, had wiped his tears, and had promised that that man would never have him again.
“You don’t mind Dr. Moussaoui though, do you?”
“If it pleases you, I don’t mind the doctor.” But something was on Shuki’s mind and he asked, “Why did Saeb have to go away?”
“He was fourteen, and no longer pleased me.”
“When I’m fourteen, will I have to go away, too?”
“Not if you stay beautiful for me. There is a small thing that would mean you would stay beautiful, and if you did that for me, you would stay with me forever. Always with a comfortable room of your own, always with enough to eat.” Hassanel laughed, “You might even get fat!” Being fat was something the poverty-stricken residents of Elbarada could only dream of.
Shuki asked, “What small thing?”
“It’s a very small operation. No pain. And what happens is that afterwards you are more beautiful.”
Shuki frowned in puzzlement. “What sort of an operation?”
“A very small operation. Have you ever seen a boy circumcised?”
“They do it on little boys, and they scream.”
“That’s right, but when the children of rich men have it done, the boys don’t scream because they have a needle that means it doesn’t hurt. A rich man like me can afford things like that.”
“But I’ve already been circumcised.”
“Of course. This is just something a bit like it. Afterwards, you’ll look a little different in that part, and that will make you more beautiful to me.”
Shuki was suspicious, but reluctant to displease his master by an immediate refusal.
Hassanel said casually, “If you agree, I will give you a present of money and anything else you ask for. There’s no hurry. Just sometime in the next year or so. We’d arrange it only once you’ve agreed.”
“In the next year or so.”
“That’s right, and I’d give you another big present afterwards, and one to begin with when you agree to have it done.”
Hassanel left the subject for weeks after that. Shuki sought information from Nouhad, who was one of Hassanel’s servants, not the one who’d been in charge of him to begin with. He didn’t like Ebelon.
Nouhad was casual. Just a small thing, but rich men like the Master, valued it. Any boy who consented to it, was set for life.
Shuki said, “Saeb was sent away.”
“He was given enough money to feed himself for several weeks. He’s probably got a job by now.”
“Did he go back to his parents?”
“I don’t think so.”
So Shuki’s predecessor may have been turned away by his parents, as he had been himself.
“Did Saeb have it done?”
“He wanted to when he knew he was going to be sent away, but the Master said it was too late. It has to be done before the boy is twelve.”
Before a boy is twelve. That gave him nearly a year and a half. Maybe he could say yes, receive the present, and then run away before. A small operation. Shuki had a feeling that it might mean more than becoming more beautiful.
Shuki had a great deal of intelligence, but he’d had only a few months schooling when he was young, could barely read, and his experience of life was very limited. Hassanel said sometime in the next year or so. It was not urgent, and Shuki tried to find out a little more. Another of Hassanel’s servants denied any knowledge of what it might be that Hassanel wanted, and Shuki chose not to bring up the subject with his master.
Hassanel brought up the subject again one evening when Shuki sat at his feet, leaning against his legs, half asleep because it was late. His friend, Dr. Akbar Moussaoui sat across from him, drinking and talking. Shuki had also been given some of the potent drink, and was now very drowsy.
The doctor said casually, “The Tiniari doctor is in town. Does Shuki want him to do it?”
Hassanel nudged Shuki and said, “Shuki, remember I told you about a small operation you can have? It’s called a Tiniari. Have you thought any more about it?”
Shuki said, “I don’t know enough about it. I don’t know.”
Hassanel said casually, “Just sometime in the next year or so. The Tiniari doctor visits Elbarada twice a year, and is going away again tomorrow, I hear.”
Moussaoui asked, “What have you told your boy?”
“That it won’t hurt, that it’s not urgent, and that I’ll give him a special present plus five hundred gretsia if he agrees. And more after it’s done.”
Five hundred gretsia! Shuki couldn’t imagine such a sum!
Moussaoui said, “He’ll be in much demand if it’s done. If you didn’t want him, there are many others I know who would. He could pick and choose from the richest men around.”
“I hope he wouldn’t leave me, but even if he does, he’ll live a life of comfort.”
Shuki asked, “You said it would make me look different?”
Moussaoui said, “You know how a boy looks a little different after he’s circumcised. A bit like that. Tidier, neater. It’s what Tiniari means, making more tidy.”
Hassanel asked, still in a casual voice, “Do you agree then? I’ll take you shopping for your special present tomorrow if you agree.”
“Sometime in the next year or so.”
“That’s right. Before your twelfth birthday.”
Shuki said, “If you want me to, Master.” Five hundred gretsia!
Hassanel raised his eyebrows at his friend, who nodded. The boy had given consent. Not tonight, though. He’d had too much to drink and his hands needed to be steady.
Shuki was treated with some extra tenderness that night, allowed to sleep with his master all night. He was being rewarded for his compliance.
He was woken by the sound of the morning call to prayers. Hassanel slept on and Shuki smiled. It was one good thing about being away from his parents. Until Hassanel, he’d thought obedience to the tenets of Islam something universal and compulsory, but in this wealthy area, even in the street, only a few pulled out prayer mats or turned toward the mosque.
He wriggled out of bed and returned to his own room, not worrying about his nudity. The female servants never came into the men’s section.
A week later, Dr. Moussaoui was again visiting. Hassanel sent Shuki to get the large, bright red toy truck that Hassanel had bought for him, in order to show it to the doctor. It was a wonderful toy. Shuki had never even seen anything like that before the shopping trip with his master. His five hundred gretsia was concealed in four different locations, cunningly chosen, only a small part retained in his bedroom.
Hassanel kissed his boy, enjoying his pleasure in his toy, and enjoying an erotic thrill in what was to come. He said to Shuki that Dr. Moussaoui was to enjoy him that evening as well as himself.
Moussaoui said, “Such a beautiful boy! If you agree, I’d like him on the Brieke-tei, and as I’m feeling a little greedy, I want to enjoy him on the high bed afterwards as well.”
Hassanel pulled Shuki closer and kissed him again, before pushing him gently. “Go and prepare. Shower as normal, then we’ll see you in the red room.”
Obediently, Shuki went and prepared, not noticing that Ebelon was hovering in the hallway. If he’d thought to leave, it would not have been allowed, not now when ‘consent’ had been given and everything was prepared. But he had no thought of flight. His master took his pleasure on his body, other men when he said, and in return, he was treated with loving tenderness and lived in comfort.
All the same, he had every intention of leaving before he was twelve, or earlier if there was any hint that they might think to do it earlier.
The men were waiting in the red room when Shuki presented himself, freshly showered. Moussaoui pulled him close and Shuki felt the hardness under his robe. Shuki was pleased. Moussaoui had given him a present last time, a toy and five gretsia as well. Shuki very much knew the importance of money. If he saved enough while he was with Hassanel, when he grew up, his own wife and children would not go hungry, as he’d so often gone hungry. Maybe he might have a chance to steal more, and then he could have maybe two or three wives, as rich men sometimes did.
Hassanel had the restraints ready, and stroked as he fitted them, carefully arranging the buckles so the boy would not lie on them when he bent over the Brieke-tei. He should be comfortable. It was time-consuming, but neither man begrudged the time spent. It was a part of the build-up. Wrists and ankles, but also knees, upper thighs and waist.
A final kiss, and Hassanel gently pushed Shuki towards the Brieke-tei, a piece of furniture specifically designed to restrain a boy or man in a position convenient for sodomy. Shuki obediently stepped up onto it and bent over, spreading his legs, which slipped into the dips in the shaped leather of the top of the device.
Moussaoui asked slightly hoarsely, “May I?”
Hassanel nodded and stepped back, allowing the doctor to clip the straps to the restraints. It didn’t take long, and Shuki was unable to move - maybe twitch his bottom a half inch to the side, turn his head to the side, clench fists, but that was all. He lay relaxed. He may have been restrained, but except for some discomfort the first few times, he had never been hurt. Uncle Hass said it was the purpose of the device - so a new boy could not move enough to get himself accidentally hurt. And besides, it always gave him so much pleasure to have him like that.
Shuki was not a new boy and had no fear of what was to happen. First his master, as gentle as always. And then Hassanel went to his head and stroked, and Moussaoui pushed himself into his body and took his pleasure, afterwards sighing and saying how good it was, as he withdrew.
They didn’t let him down straightaway, first gently and thoroughly washing his bottom. Mostly he was just sent to shower afterwards, but of course, the doctor wanted him on the high table.
When he was allowed down, Hassanel gave him a glass of Quierro and told him to drink. He and Moussaoui also had glasses. It was strong liquor, but when Shuki made a face and went to put it down, his master had a hint of firmness in his voice as he was ordered to drink. Shuki drank. He didn’t like Quierro much. It made him sleepy, and this time, even a little dizzy. He was given another drink all the same, before being helped up onto the high bed.
He sighed and lay down his head. He really did feel sleepy. Someone stroked his penis and then Uncle Hass moved around him, fixing the restraints. For a change, his arms were bent and then his wrists restrained above his head instead of by his sides.
“A blindfold tonight,” Hassanel murmured.
He’d had that before, the Master saying it gave him pleasure. He didn’t mind it. He couldn’t move and didn’t have to do anything - just lie on his back as the men stroked and murmured tenderly. Then lips started moving over his body, his chest, licking at his nipples for a little, then tracing down the centre of his body. Sucking at his penis then, and he could feel the tingle as it grew stiff. He moaned softly. It felt very good.
A gentle hand caressing balls, but then Hassanel said, “Something extra tonight. It will please us even more.”
His head was gently raised and another strap went around his head. “Open your mouth, Shuki.”
He tried to object, tried to ask what they were doing, but a smooth flattened wooden ball was slipped between his teeth and secured. It didn’t fall further in, apparently attached to the strap that covered his mouth. He tried to tell them to take it out, that he didn’t like it, tried to rub it off on his shoulder. But his muffled objections were ignored and hands just continued gently smoothing over his body, and someone’s mouth was on his penis.
He could still hear as the doctor said, “Legs further apart would be better.”
His legs were pulled further apart and again secured, using the same straps that had held him immobile on the Brieke-tei.
Moussaoui asked, “The sheets?”
“No matter.”
His Master caressed and Shuki forgot his discomfort under the influence of the alcohol and the gentle hands on his genitals. And then Uncle Hass said, “I’m going to lick now,” and he licked.
So good, and again Shuki’s penis was stiff. Suddenly he was convulsing, and Hassanel laughed in pleasure and exclaimed, “That I’d have the first and last emission of his body!”
Shuki didn’t understand, but felt relaxed and comfortable, in spite of the thing in his mouth that wasn’t very big, after all.
He took little notice when there was a slight pain in his arm, an injection of soporific to add to the effects of the alcohol, and then Moussaoui cut slits in the undersheet and worked shaped pieces of hard plastic from underneath through the special ‘high bed’, actually a simple operating table. Their placement was such that they pushed his thighs a little further apart, and worked to help keep him quite still.
They only played for a while then as he sank into a dreaming state, and then Moussaoui brought in some instruments, and Hassanel displayed a precious vase and said, “I’ll keep them as a memento.”
“I’ll show you the best way to preserve them. Do you want to keep the excess skin of the scrotum as well?”
“And you still don’t want the penis shortened?”
Hassanel said uncertainly, “I don’t know … ”
“It seems to me that a eunuch should look like a eunuch. A uselessly long penis would just look a little silly.”
“You said there’d be no scarring.”
“Shouldn’t be. Just a smooth flatness where testicles were, and if you agree, and I very much urge you to do so, I’ll shorten the penis straight after I do the castration. Now, while he’s in position and can’t struggle.”
“He agreed to it, remember, Akbar? He loves me, and wants to please me. Doing it this way was just so he wouldn’t have to suffer any fear beforehand.”
At last Shuki alerted, long after he should have done. He tried to struggle, but could barely move, his pelvis not at all. Hassanel stroked his forehead over the blindfold, and soothed, “Nothing to fear, my boy. Just a little operation to make you more beautiful, as I said. There will be no pain, just a little from the injections.”
Shuki’s thought was panicked - in the next year or so, they said! Not now!
Hassanel murmured, “I didn’t want to frighten you, and I didn’t lie. Tonight is in the next year or so, and soon you’ll have another fifteen hundred gretsia to hide away.”
Shuki tried to scream, but his voice was muffled, indistinguishable, and he could not scream. He didn’t want this ‘operation,’ didn’t know what it would do to him. Didn’t want his penis shortened. It gave him pleasurable sensations sometimes, and besides, he’d be changed. A man was supposed to have a penis!
Moussaoui continued to bathe the area in antiseptic. It would be a professional operation, but he didn’t have the equipment for full anaesthesia, and in any case, that brought its own risks. Even the soporific he’d used was so weak as to be ineffectual, the injection more to impress Hassanel with his care than to make the boy sleep. He did plan to use local anaesthetic, and children were resilient. No doubt he’d soon forget any unpleasant sensations. He asked again, “The penis?”
“Where do you recommend?”
Moussaoui traced a line around the penis. Shuki would be left with an inch maybe.
Hassanel stroked, to Moussaoui’s irritation, but he said nothing. Hassanel was not wearing gloves and had just rendered the area unsterile again. But he was being paid well for the illegal operation, and had the promise of use of the boy as well. Besides, he loved making eunuchs. To think that such a small operation could change the way a boy grew up. Shuki would never develop the capacity for normal sexual activity, but more. His voice would not break, he would remain virtually hairless, would never grow facial hair, and the normal muscularity of an entire male would not develop.
Hassanel made up his mind. “Here,” he said, tracing another line around the penis with his finger, giving the boy an extra half inch.
Moussaoui agreed, marked the spot, and remarked conversationally, “Technically, it’s easier to leave him with the extra length. The catheter is less likely to come out.”
Hassanel was concerned, “It is safe, though.”
“Of course it’s safe. I’ve done several now.”
Hassanel touched the penis again and then fondled the testicles, no longer even noticing his boy’s muffled sobbing. Hassanel was very excited.
Shuki closed his eyes beneath the blindfold. There was nothing he could do, and when he cried, the tears ran back down his throat, choking him. He ceased the useless struggles and relaxed his body, as he’d learned to do when a man used him.
Hassanel stroked him, and said, “Good boy. You’ll be with me forever, always beautiful. Always to give me pleasure. Think about what present you want. Tomorrow, I’ll give you another present, whatever you want.”
But then Shuki tried to twist away as a piercing pain went into the base of his penis. The doctor raised his voice. “Just a few injections, so you won’t feel any pain.” And then there was another. What did he mean, that he wouldn’t feel any pain? The injections were terribly painful!
Moussaoui said, “Now we just wait a while, to give the injections time to take effect. Try to get him to sleep. He should be very sleepy.”
There was nothing Shuki could do to stop them. And when Hassanel soothed and kissed his cheek between blindfold and gag, he did sink into a doze. The men talked very quietly, nothing to do with operations, small or not. Shuki dozed.
At last the doctor stood, ready for business, and explained, “First, I’m going to catheterize him, though not all the way into the bladder. That way he still has control, and yet urine will not burn the wound. It will be left in place for several days. Without a catheter, there could be a blockage.”
The whole area was numb, and Shuki didn’t stir as the soft plastic catheter was introduced, then a metal one that enclosed it.
“This is only for when I cut the penis,” the doctor explained to his friend. “Stops me cutting the catheter, and then afterwards the metal part is removed. This would hurt him if he was normally conscious.”
Shuki roused a little as the metal catheter was forced into his penis.
Hassanel watched in fascination while his hand mechanically stroked over hair. But then the penis was placed pointing upwards, unnaturally rigid and out of the way, as his friend handled his boy’s testicles. It was the last moment for a change of mind. But Hassanel wanted this boy, and he didn’t want him growing into a man. It would make him more docile as well, the doctor said. Not that Shuki had given much trouble after the first few days. He kissed his boy’s forehead and nodded to his friend as the first slit was made. Dr. Moussaoui worked carefully, delicately, and there was not a great deal of bleeding. The boy’s body remained relaxed, and Hassanel thought that he slept.
The penis now, and Moussaoui readied the bandages before starting to cut, the position exactly as Hassanel had indicated, and Moussaoui had marked. For the first time, Shuki twisted his torso and whimpered. Hassanel soothed with promises of money and presents, and a place beside him, as long as he lived, because he would stay beautiful now, just because of this little small operation, that wasn’t even hurting.


Shuki woke early the following morning. He was lying on his side in his master’s bed, and his master curled around him, behind him, one arm embracing him. He always liked that. He enjoyed his warmth and the feeling of safety. But he was sore, and put an exploring hand down. He stilled, trying to remember exactly what had happened. Gradually, events became more clear. The ‘small operation’ was done. They’d cut his penis, and he rather thought his balls were gone.
He touched again, gently, finding the catheter, two inches poking out of the bandages. He’d been so dazed afterwards, but he remembered them insisting he had to make water through it, and that was how he was to do it for several days. And again and again, he’d been told not to touch the bandages. He was to let them look after him. And then the usual - he was loved. He was beautiful. There would be presents, and more money.
Tears began to trickle, but he made no movement to disturb his master, who still gently snored. It was done. There was no point trying to kill him, no point in leaving. Here, he was comfortable. And right now, he needed to be looked after. This was not a ‘small operation.’ He would not show his anger. He would stay and be pampered. But Hassanel had stolen something from him, even more than what ‘honour’ he’d stolen that very first night, when he’d been thoroughly washed, made to drink a glass of the potent Quierro, and then Ebelon and the others had secured him to the Brieke-tei as the Master watched.
He owed nothing to Hassanel and would not forgive him. First, he had to find out just exactly what they’d done to him, what significance it had. Moussaoui wouldn’t tell him, nor, he suspected, the servants. Maybe a Western doctor would tell him. He needed to know.
When Hassanel woke, Shuki appeared to wake too, turning onto his back and sniffling a little. He complained it hurt, which it did, but he didn’t scream at his master in fury, and he hadn’t taken the heavy ornament from the side table and bashed his head in. And when Hassanel asked what present he wanted, he gave him a tiny half smile and asked if he could have lessons in reading and writing. He would not be caught again because he didn’t know enough.
Hassanel was surprised, but Shuki said that one day he wanted to be his steward, or secretary, so he could be useful to him, and he needed to read and write.
Hassanel said, “You don’t have to worry about a future. You’re with me, and I’ll look after you forever.”
Shuki’s eyes filled with tears, “You said I could have any present I ask for.”
Hassanel looked doubtfully at him, then kissed him and put a gentle hand on the bandages that covered the place where testicles had been. His little eunuch, who had agreed, just because he wanted it. And he hadn’t struggled, or objected. Hassanel promised to arrange it.


Dr. Stewart McKenzie leaned back in his chair and sighed. Mrs. Finnigan again, and no doubt it’d be the usual complaints of lethargy and insomnia. All she needed, he thought, was a little honest work. Or maybe if her husband would pay her some attention. He was sorry for her, really. She had a miserable life, but there was nothing he could do about it. Opportunities were limited in a city where it was perilous for a woman to go out alone.
Elbarada. He made a good living, and Western trained doctors were scarce enough that his periodic drinking binges didn’t lose him patients. And at least in Elbarada there wasn’t a beckoning pub on every street corner. Not that it was difficult to get liquor, just that one had to make a special effort, rather than having it thrust into one’s face. Stewart was in his mid-thirties, of average height, square-set, and looked healthy and alert - at least this day.
His secretary smiled at him when she entered. If she had the chance she’d have him, even with all his faults. It wasn’t very often, and there were few opportunities for a woman in Elbarada, or not when one wanted a better life than that of the native women - that of slaves in all but name. Now she said, “Can you cope with one last patient today, Stewart? After Mrs. Finnigan?”
Stewart smiled ruefully at his friend, “Not if it’s Mrs. Reuben, Joe Squires, or Eustice Camilleri.”
Anne gave him a teasing look. “None of those. It’s the most beautiful boy I’ve ever seen. Arabic, about eight or nine, by the look of him, alone, and oddly self-possessed. I asked him if he can afford the seven gretsia, and he offered to pay in advance.”
Stewart frowned and asked, “Did he look sick?”
“Not in the slightest.”
“Well, it’ll be something different. But no more after that. I’m tired.”
Anne Kennedy shook her head. He really didn’t work very hard! She said, “I’ll send in Mrs. Finnigan then, the boy afterwards. And you’ll have to use Arabic. He has neither English nor French.”
Stewart was actually pleased when Mrs. Finnigan had something wrong with her this time, nothing serious, but it made him feel better to prescribe a treatment.
Then Anne showed in the boy, who stopped and looked at him with a cool, assessing look at odds with his appearance.
Stewart was a little taken aback. As Anne had said, he was the most beautiful boy - limpid eyes, long eyelashes, a slim, graceful body, and a sensitive mouth.
The doctor sat down behind his desk and looked at the card that Anne had handed him. “Shuki?” he asked.
Shuki said in a composed voice, “My name is Shuki Bolkiah.”
“And what do you need a doctor for, Shuki?”
Shuki took a deep breath, and said, “They did something to me. I need to know just exactly what it means. My master just said that it would make me more beautiful, but I think it means a lot more. I want you to tell me, the whole of it.”
Stewart was puzzled. “What do you mean they did something to you?”
Shuki looked away. He’d managed these past four weeks to control his emotions, to be as loving and obedient as necessary to his master. As promised, he was having lessons in reading and in counting, and that was important. Yet suddenly it was difficult.
The white stranger watched him, puzzled. At last Shuki said, and there was a quaver in his voice, “They said sometime before I was twelve, but I’m only ten, and it was done before I could run away.”
Stewart was beginning to have a sinking feeling, and his voice was very gentle as he said, “What was done, Shuki?”
The gentle voice enabled Shuki to put on his mask again. Hassanel and Moussaoui spoke gently. “They called it Tiniari, and said it was a bit like circumcision.”
Stewart tried to be matter-of-fact. “How long ago?”
“Four weeks.”
“Take off your robe and hop onto the table, I’d best have a look.”
Shuki pulled off the robe, standard wear for the men and boys of Elbarada, though at his master’s home he often wore clothing of a Western style.
Stewart tried to wear his strictly professional veneer as he inspected closely. Shuki was silent.
At last, Stewart said, “It was a professional job. There is no sign of infection, though probably the tip of the penis is still tender.”
Shuki nodded, and asked, “Finished?”
“Finished. Get dressed and come and sit with me, and I’ll tell you what you want to know.”
Shuki sat up and reached for his robe. Stewart waited for him, trying to steady himself. This sort of thing was supposed to have been stamped out generations before. He’d never before seen a eunuch, certainly not one made recently.
But he was a doctor, and doctors sometimes had difficult jobs. Shuki helped him. “I understand that I will never be able to have sex like a normal man would. And I’m guessing that even if I could achieve something like sex, I will not be able to be a father.”
In a carefully steady voice, Stewart replied, “That is correct. At your age, you would not have experienced sexual excitement, and so you won’t miss it. You will not have erections, and as you said, you cannot be a father.”
Shuki’s voice was cool. “What else? They keep saying I’ll stay beautiful, but surely I’ll still grow up.”
“Of course you’ll still grow up.”
Abruptly, Stewart couldn’t restrain his fury and got up and paced. Shuki watched him in some surprise. Stewart exploded, “To castrate a boy in order to have him stay beautiful! It’s unforgivable!”
Shuki gave him a crooked smile, “I’d worked that part out for myself as well.”
“It’s also strictly illegal. You can have him charged! Grievous bodily injury!”
“What country are you from, Dr. McKenzie?”
Stewart took a deep breath and asked, “Do you think he would not be punished?”
“He’s a rich and powerful man, and his friends are rich and powerful men. And he would say I agreed. Trying to have him punished would have me thrown out to starve. Or I’d simply disappear. There is nothing I can do.”
Stewart put his head around the door, and asked, “Anne, will you get us some soft drink please?”
Stewart said nothing for a while, just sitting at his desk and drumming his fingers. Shuki waited.
Only after they’d both finished their refreshing drinks did Stewart start to talk again. Shuki listened in silence, only querying when Stewart explained that he would not grow as strong as a normal man. His instincts had been right. He would not ‘stay beautiful’ forever, and unless he could be useful, for instance as a secretary to Hassanel, he would be likely to find himself homeless. And with his status as a eunuch, he could not expect to be accepted among men, and maybe not strong enough to do heavy manual labour as his father did and his brother was destined to do. If he grew up. He reminded himself again that at least he had a good chance of growing up.
He stood and courteously thanked Stewart for his time, and then suggested, “If you wish, you can have sex with me instead of me paying. I do have the money, but it’s very important that I save as much money as I can. It may need to last a long time.”
Stewart looked at the beautiful boy, a eunuch, and to his shame, his body was responding to the invitation. Really, he should inspect, make sure he wasn’t being damaged by the sex. Shuki cautioned, “You would have to be gentle, of course. If I bleed, my owner will guess, and then I might find myself begging on the streets.”
Stewart said gruffly, “You will not be charged for this visit. And I do not want to have sex with you. Make another appointment whenever you want. I will try and help you if I can think of a way.”
Shuki was surprised. Stewart had wanted him the moment he suggested it. He could tell, but maybe for a good man that was ‘unforgivable’ as well. He asked, “I can come again?”
“Come again. If you’ve been given money, you will need to know about how to keep it safe in a bank. I will try and help, any way I can.”
“I don’t know about banks, and I don’t think I can get that information easily.” He stood, with some dignity, “I would be grateful for your help.” But maybe he’d best not trust him. Maybe he should keep some money in his best hiding place.
Stewart walked out with him, and said to Anne, “Shuki is to have an appointment any time he asks. He is not to be charged.”
Only when the boy was gone did he cast a despairing look at his secretary, and said, “He’s a eunuch. The man he calls his master had him castrated in order that the boy would stay beautiful for him.”
Anne looked at the door, and her eyes filled with tears. She thought she hated Elbarada with its stinking streets and its starving beggars. Would her sister help her get re-established in Scotland?
That evening Stewart became very drunk, and the next day’s appointments had to be cancelled.

Chapter 2

Two weeks later, Stewart walked with Shuki into a bank and helped him arrange an account. In a country where illiteracy was normal, identification was established with a hand-print plus the signature. It was assumed that anyone needing a bank could at least sign his own name. It was an English bank. Stewart advised Shuki that the foreign banks were more reliable than the homegrown ones, and Shuki was beginning to rely on his advice. He had no identification papers, but Stewart vouched for him and it seemed that was acceptable.
Shuki deposited eight hundred gretsia, but then a few days later, returned and withdrew five hundred, alone. There was no problem, yet he did it twice more before depositing another eight hundred to bring the amount to sixteen hundred gretsia. He had more in hiding places at home. He never asked for money, but evinced such joy when he received it that Hassanel was getting into the habit of handing over small amounts.
Stewart McKenzie had only acted the friend, but Shuki had learned a vital lesson early. One should not trust. He tried to organize himself a separate account in a different bank, for safety’s sake, but was treated with disdain, even threatened with the police because it was obvious that he must have stolen the money. He left, trying to retain as much dignity as possible, but fleeing the moment he was out of sight of the security guard, still watching.
He went back to Stewart who did what he thought he should have done on the first visit, took a blood test, and then did a thorough examination for scarring and injuries, but finding none. And then he sat down with him and explained the risks of offering his body to strangers. That it was not only immediate physical injury that he risked, but life-threatening infections.
Shuki listened carefully, taking in everything he was told. He finally said, “My master lets his friends use me sometimes.”
“If you can, try and get him to keep you to himself. You will be safer.”
Shuki nodded, “I’ll try.” And he smiled slightly, “If I produce a few tears, call him Uncle instead of Master, he mostly gives me whatever I want. I’ll tell him I love only him, and he should keep me especially for himself.”
Stewart’s eyes roved over that beautiful face. There was no reason, of course, why a boy with a beautiful face should not also have brains. Just that somehow one didn’t expect it. Stewart was beginning to develop a real respect for Shuki Bolkiah. He hoped the boy hadn’t guessed at his own arousal when he did his examination. Shameful. But maybe it was his own fault. He was a man in his prime and had been celibate for years now.
Stewart asked, “Was there something in particular you wanted, Shuki?”
“I want another bank account at a different bank, but when I tried, they nearly had me arrested.”
“Why a second account?”
Shuki shrugged. “When I hid my money, it was in four different places. I think it’s safer not to have too much in one place.”
Stewart regarded him. The boy had not come to him - why? Did he think that the bank might somehow think it was Stewart’s money and not his own? He said, “I’m a bit busy these days, but how about if Anne takes you to a bank and helps you.”
Shuki said, surprised, “She’s a woman. How can she go to a bank?”
“She’s a European woman, and she’ll take you to a European bank. In Europe, women have the same rights as men do.”
Shuki studied him and finally asked, “If a European woman doesn’t do what her husband says, does he beat her?”
“That would be a crime. It happens sometimes, but it is a crime and she can go to the police.”
“It must be a different world.”


Hassanel and Moussaoui sat at their ease. They were in the comfortable home of Moussaoui.
Moussaoui asked, “How’s Shuki these days?”
Hassanel smiled. “Sweet and loving and beautiful. I don’t share him any more. He says he loves only me, and wants to keep himself for me.”
“Do you think he’d accept me? After all, I’m the one who … ”
“It’s like you said, I think. The castration has made him more docile. If I say, he will accept you. He doesn’t hold a grudge, you know. Says he agreed to it because he loves me, and wants to please me.”
Moussaoui smiled, and said, “Soon, then? On the Brieke-tei? I loved having him like that.”
“Not with restraints. I never tie him any more. He doesn’t like it.”
Moussaoui protested, “I love it like that! To see him restrained ... To know he cannot do anything to stop me … ”
“I used to like it as well. But he said that he’s frightened of the restraints now. That he wouldn’t be able to stop himself running or fighting, and I couldn’t stand forcing him. He’s my boy, and he loves me. I can’t allow that to be spoiled.”
Moussaoui yielded, and Hassanel invited, “Tomorrow evening then? The Brieke-tei if you want, just not with restraints.”
Moussaoui was in his surgery the next morning, seeing a friend of his with an eleven-year-old boy. Moussaoui did a full examination of the silent boy, and then the boy’s master said casually, “Rami has agreed to have the small operation we spoke about. The Tiniari.”
The boy looked at him fearfully, but said nothing.
Moussaoui said genially, “Certainly, Mustafa. When would you like it done.”
“I’ve told him there’s no hurry, some time in the next year or so.”
“And does he know what it involves?”
“That it’s a little like a circumcision, except that it won’t hurt at all. And afterwards he’ll look a little different.”
Moussaoui asked, “Rami? Do you agree to that?”
Rami gave a scared look at his master, and then said in a low voice, “I agree.”
Mustafa nodded at him, and Rami breathed a sigh of relief.
“Go outside now then, Rami, and wait for me.”
Dr. Moussaoui always insisted that the boy must give consent himself. He declared that it would be unethical to do it without, even if it did make such an improvement in a boy used for sex.
Once Rami was out of the way, Moussaoui told Mustafa the payment required, and the degree of shortening of the penis was discussed. It was set for the next day. There was no reason for delay.
Rami wasn’t accustomed to restraints being used, and this could be more difficult than Shuki’s operation. Always better to avoid a fight, “Not give the boy a chance to become frightened,” as the doctor put it.
Mustafa decided, “I’ll have him drunk, and if needed, my servants will help secure him to the operating table.”
“I’ll send it over this afternoon, then. Put it in a room that can be locked. Do you want to keep the parts?”
Mustafa smiled and said that he’d like that very much.
Moussaoui commented, “Tonight I’ll be seeing a boy I did a couple of months ago. He’s adjusted perfectly well, and has become more docile and loving because of it. Keep it quiet, of course. It’s officially illegal.”
“I let the Police Minister have Rami a fortnight ago, as you suggested. There will be no trouble, Akbar.”
“It’s prudent, though I know Waleed is rough.”
“There was a bit of blood, but it soon healed, and I promised Rami I wouldn’t allow him again.”
“Did you promise him money if he had it done?”
“I don’t believe in giving them money. Makes them think they can run away.”
Moussaoui thought he was probably right. He’d done five now, but one of the earlier ones had run away just as soon as he was healed sufficiently. Returned a week later, half-starved, and begging to come back. Perfectly happy now, of course. They soon grew accustomed.
That evening, he enjoyed Shuki. Sweet boy ... Docile. He supposed it was no wonder he was frightened of the restraints. Even with the alcohol and injections, it must hurt them. The boys always needed to be totally immobilized for the operation. Always gagged as well. Better that their owners not change their minds halfway through. Yet he liked it that they were conscious and had some idea what was happening. He sometimes fantasized of having one fully conscious, restrained and gagged, and then telling them in detail exactly what he was going to do and how they would be changed because of it. The problem was that the subsequent relationship would be too much damaged. Best if they were not told too much.
Afterwards, Shuki was sweetly attentive, bringing them drinks, happy to wait on them. Happy to be nude, if that was what they wanted, with just a gold chain around his neck that Moussaoui gave him as a present. Hassanel said that the boy loved acting as waiter, that he’d been allowing him for the past few weeks.
Moussaoui felt a little dizzy, and Shuki was concerned. Dr. Moussaoui dismissed it, saying that maybe he’d go home a little earlier than usual. Just the heat. He’d felt a little off-colour all day. Summer must be coming early, and it was time to move to his summer residence. Shuki smiled innocently at him and asked if he wanted just one more drink before he left, but Moussaoui declined.
The news came early the following morning. They were at breakfast, Shuki dining with his master. He was often given this privilege these days. Hassanel was stunned when he heard, and repeated mechanically into the phone, “The funeral at ten. Thank you. I’ll be there.”
Shuki made sure not to show a hopeful expression. Hassanel looked at him blindly, and said, “Akbar Moussaoui. He died in the night.”
Shuki opened his mouth, staring. And then he looked at the floor, and said, “Someone told me you can get infections from sex.” His voice was low, frightened. “He had sex with me last night. Am I going to die, too?”
His master pulled himself together to reassure his frightened boy. His beloved little eunuch.
At ten o’clock, Shuki donned his street robe and left the house, speeding to a run, every now and then leaping into the air like a goat. It may have been against his best interests to show his anger to his master, but there had been nothing to stop him taking revenge against the doctor.
He called into the herbalist and paid him the rest of the money promised when the poison was proven effective, then continued to the slums where his parents lived, his movements becoming furtive as he came nearer. He hid, though his father should be at work at this time, finally whistling when he spotted his brother, Mwai. Mwai was a year older than himself, though Shuki thought he might be catching up in height.
Mwai reached eagerly for the bag of food he carried, but this time Shuki told him he needed to see his mother.
“Something important.”
“She says she doesn’t want to see you.”
“Mwai, you know it could just as easily have been you … ”
Mwai said abruptly, “They didn’t let me go straightaway. The man chose you, and took you away. No-one knows, but they didn’t let me go straightaway.”
“I will never tell anyone, but I need to see Mother.”
“I’ll tell her.”
A few minutes later, he was beckoned, and Mwai was told to take away the little ones, two girls of three and four.
Shuki looked at his mother, still in her twenties, but gaunt and with the lines of hard work and worry on her face. Too many babies, too few of whom survived. She wasn’t quite looking at him, and Shuki was simply practical. “I may be going away for the summer. If I do, I won’t be able to bring food any more. So I brought some money, but you have to be very careful, and not let Father know.”
Laleh inclined her head, still not quite looking at her son, and said, “Thank you.”
Shuki insisted, “You must hide it. I won’t bring more if you just give it to him. It’s for you, so that the girls don’t die.”
Laleh said softly, “Summer’s always hardest. Thank you, Shuki. I will hide it.”
Shuki wanted to apologize for bringing disgrace onto the family, but instead defiantly raised his chin. It was not by his choice. And he was helping his sisters survive. He left.
Stewart next. He needed some information. Anne smiled at him when he appeared, noticing that his robe was looking tattered and dirty. It was the one he used to visit his family. It would be asking for trouble to look anything but poverty-stricken in those areas. There was no-one in the waiting room, and he glanced at McKenzie’s office and raised his eyebrows.
Anne said calmly, “Indisposed.”
Shuki said, “Can you talk to me a little while? I need some information.”
“I’m not a doctor … ”
“Not that sort of information.”
“Do some rich people spend summer in the mountains?”
“Many do. Usually three or four months. My husband and I always used to, but I can’t afford it since he died.”
“You should go back to Scotland.”
“I know I should. It’s just a bit frightening, the thought of arriving there and not having enough to live on.”
“So you’re not rich?”
“Unlikely to starve, but no, not rich.”
Shuki switched back to his earlier subject, “So it’s routine for rich people to spend summer away from Elbarada.”
“Whenever they can afford it. Many have a summer residence, but live in town for most of the year.”
“I think he might be planning on leaving me here, and I don’t think I should let him do that.” He smiled at her, “He might notice he can get along without me in his bed every night. And his wives live at his other place.”
“Two wives and their children, but I don’t know much; he never tells me.”
Anne spoke dispassionately, “He would not want his wives knowing he has a bed-boy.”
“Is that what the problem is? That it’s a disgrace? Maybe .... unforgivable?”
“Unforgivable in the eyes of a wife, even an Arab wife. I don’t know how other Arab men think. I don’t think I’ve ever had much idea, even with my own husband.”
Hassanel was of European blood, very tall, solidly built, and with reddish blotched skin and sandy coloured hair. Not an Arab, though raised as one. Shuki had never mentioned that, and had never told his friends his name. Anne said that having a bed-boy was unforgivable in the eyes of a wife, and his wives would be at his summer residence. Shuki concluded, “So, I’d need to be a servant or something.”
“You’re a bit young for that.”
Shuki was looking down, and Anne marvelled again at his beauty. Such long eyelashes.
Shuki said, “I’m pretty sure he still wants me. But he’ll probably only visit every few weeks, like now, he lives here and visits his other place.”
Anne said, “You know you can have a home with myself if ever you need one.”
Shuki looked up at her and smiled, “Thank you.”
“Stewart would have you, too.”
Shuki knew that Stewart would have him. It might take a while, but if he was living with him, he wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation.
At home, Nouhad was directing some packing. Shuki stood and watched. At last, he asked, “Is this place to be kept?”
“Of course. It’s always kept going. Ebelon and Seri are staying, the rest of us leaving.”
“Nouhad, have you heard whether I’m to stay?”
Nouhad looked at him and there was pity in his eyes. He said quietly, “I haven’t heard, Shuki.”
The manager, Zaccharios Kerbaj, also seemed to be packing files and papers in his office. He’d been a distant figure and Shuki had never spoken to him before. He asked timidly, “Mr. Kerbaj, will I be going?”
Kerbaj glanced up briefly and answered, “Staying here, I believe. Ebelon and Seri will look after you.”
“He hasn’t told me yet.” He stayed watching him for a while longer, and then asked timidly, “Mr. Kerbaj, is he going to throw me out?”
Kerbaj said calmly, “He has a great deal of affection for you. Saeb always stayed here in the summers.”
“Thank you, Mr. Kerbaj.”
Shuki thought that Kerbaj was probably right. If he wasn’t, and if he had warning and opportunity, Hassanel would die.
He started his campaign that same evening, sitting at his master’s feet, as Hassanel leaned back in his chair, a book on his lap. He was looking sad.
Shuki said tentatively, “You’ll be lonely without your friend.”
Hassanel looked down and put a gentle hand on the boy’s head. “I’d only known him a couple of years, but we became very close. So unexpected.”
At another home, Mustafa encouraged Rami to have another drink of Quierro. He hadn’t heard yet that the doctor would not be coming. Rami would awaken from his night’s drunken sleep, still intact.
Shuki said to his master, “I visited my mother today. I never told you about my old family. You’re my family now, and I love you. But I care about them too.”
Hassanel frowned at the boy, but only said, “Of course you do.”
Shuki continued slowly, almost dreamily. “A few months before you found me, my mother had twin baby boys. I overheard her neighbour trying to tell her to smother the smallest, that she had no hope of raising two. Hard enough to raise one at a time. Never enough food, you see. But my mother said she couldn’t. When the babies were two months old, one died. Three days later, the other one died. She should have killed one to start with and maybe one would have lived. She’s pregnant again, I think. But this time I can take her food, and this time, she might be able to keep it alive.”
Shuki looked earnestly up at his puzzled master. “You are a charitable man, Master. It was good of you to take me. Because you are a good man, this baby will live, and my little sisters are strong now, and my brother as well. You are a charitable man, and everyone says it’s good to be a charitable man.”
Hassanel smiled and said, “I like to think I’ve helped your family.”
Was it time yet? Maybe later. Shuki asked, “Can I get you another Quierro? Or mint tea, maybe? I’m very good at making mint tea now, and I think Seri was making those macaroons you like. It might cheer you up.”
It was not until later, after the lovemaking, when Hassanel pulled Shuki very close and kissed him, that Shuki said quietly, “You could say you took in an orphan whom you found begging on the streets. You could say he’s being trained as an assistant to Mr. Kerbaj, and that’s why he has a tutor.” He sat up in bed and turned to his master, his eyes glistening with unshed tears, “I don’t think I could bear sleeping alone again, Uncle Hass. I would be so lonely without you.”
Hassanel pulled him down and said, “Sometimes, we have to do things we don’t want to do.”
Shuki breathed a long, shuddering sigh. He guessed he shouldn’t have hoped for immediate success.
Half an hour later, he roused slightly. His master had his arm around him still, but now he was gently touching what was left of his penis. He loved to do that. Touch, sometimes lick the small penis, and then feel underneath, where the flatness was. His master wasn’t sleeping. Maybe thinking?
Shuki sighed and wriggled himself closer into the warmth of his master’s body. He liked the feeling of being loved, protected, even though he knew how false it was. One could pretend to oneself sometimes, just as long as you never trusted.
Hassanel said nothing about the prospective move at breakfast, and Shuki obeyed his instinct to say nothing further, not yet. He didn’t see him at lunch, but when he was with his tutor in the afternoon, Kerbaj appeared, requested Adriy to report to the Master, and then just stood smiling slightly at Shuki who was looking at him, tense.
At last he laughed and said, “You won, boy. Master Hassanel is a charitable man who found an orphan begging on the streets, and now you’re to be trained as my assistant.”
Shuki beamed, for once entirely honest in what he showed. “Mr. Adriy says I’m doing very well. I’ll be able to help you in no time.”
“So it wasn’t just a ploy to get what you want?”
Shuki said earnestly, “I want to learn to be useful, Mr. Kerbaj. He won’t want me in his bed forever.”
Kerbaj was stern. “You must never talk about that part of your life. And definitely you must never talk about what was done to you.”
Shuki blushed crimson, looked at the tiled floor, and asked, “Does everyone know.”
“Not the women, of course. They’re not supposed to know you’re even here, though they probably do. All the men probably know.”
“I won’t talk about it.” Unless, of course, it served a purpose.
“A suitcase has been placed in your room. Keep out what you’ll need for the next three days, and pack everything else.”
Everyone was very busy for the next days, including Shuki. His lessons stopped as his tutor was organizing to go with them, very pleased to be offered the chance to be away from the merciless blast of summer in Elbarada.
Only fifty gretsia remained in a hiding place at the old home, fifty gretsia in a discreet money belt, in case at any time he had to flee, and the rest in his two bank accounts. His large toy truck, that he’d been so thrilled with for a few days, had been taken several blocks away and abandoned. He didn’t like it any more.
He had given Stewart McKenzie his address at the summer place, which they called Naelahin, but with instructions not to write, and still not mentioning the name of his master, though it was probably possible to find it from the address. The closest village was Amagor, but Naelahin, Kerbaj told him, was at a higher altitude, for coolness.
If he disappeared, he wondered if maybe Dr. McKenzie and Anne would make a fuss. It was good to think that someone cared about him, someone with a little more power than his own impoverished family.

This is a book of over 500 pages.  It is perhaps, best purchased as a paperback - only $17.50,
as an eBook, $2.99.

Review by: Lorraine Cobcroft on July 04, 2012 : star star star star star
Outstanding for its originality and depth, M.A. McRae’s Not a Man is an amazing work that will transport you to a foreign world. It will let you experience a lifestyle and culture that is most likely vastly different from any with which you are familiar.
This is not a story for the faint-hearted. If you read to escape to a fantasy world where heroes are gallant, heroines are beautiful and spoiled, and endings are always happy, you may not enjoy it. If you are reluctant to face the reality of man’s inhumanity to man, or to recognize that some people enjoy sex in a way that others regard as perverted, it may shock and distress. If you struggle to recognize that those whose beliefs, moral standards and lifestyles many in our civilization abhor are, nevertheless, real people capable of kindness, compassion and love, it may enlighten you, but also disturb you.
I began reading Not a Man feeling more than a little uncomfortable. I expected to be repulsed by the story of Shuki, a boy taken from the slums and castrated before his tenth birthday. The idea of reading about men taking bed-boys and having anal sex didn’t appeal. I knew it happened, but I preferred not to be confronted with it. But I promised the author I would read it, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the story fascinating and educational, as well as enjoyable.
I recognized immediately I began reading that M.A. McRae was no ordinary writer. She has the ability to draw the reader into the story – to bring her characters and settings to life in the readers’ mind. She has a knack of portraying characters a reader may want to despise for their unpalatable behaviour in a way that compels you to understand and forgive their foibles and admire their better qualities. The people she describes are a product of their culture. We may not approve of aspects of their lifestyle, but we are drawn to understand how they came to be what they are and to appreciate and applaud their efforts to be empathetic and charitable.
I wanted to hate Hassanel: a man who could arrange the castration of a child for his sexual pleasure. I wanted to find him vile and repulsive in every way. But I got to know a man for whom this conduct was an acceptable part of the culture in which he had been raised and educated, but who had the capacity to genuinely care for Shuki and want to protect him.
Shuki found his way into my heart. The little boy from the slums who so feared a return to abject poverty that he would agree to an operation he feared, believing he could arrange his escape before it was done, used his charm and guile to secure his own future and to help his suffering family. When he was brutally raped and his best friend—who came to his aid—was killed, I confess I cried. It amazes me now to realize that I liked and admired Ben, and Elei too. These were men who used a boy for sex, so it astonishes me that I could find them anything but repulsive in the extreme. But M.A. McRae introduced me to human beings – good, kind, caring people who succumbed to temptation to perform acts, in private, that gave them pleasure and that certain cultures do not regard as abhorrent.
This book is confronting, but M.A. McRae handles sex scenes tactfully and with respect for readers. Her characters grow and learn, gradually realizing the illogical cruelty of customs such as casting women out as punishment for being victims of a man’s criminal act and the dreadful long-term consequences of castration. We experience the pain and suffering of a eunuch. We share his fears. We grieve with him over his inability to experience sexual pleasure and to anticipate marriage and fatherhood. At the same time, however, we are shown the unique beauty and gentleness that results from castration before puberty. We are helped to recognize the compelling attraction some men feel to a beautiful eunuch. Their behaviour may disturb us, but we are unable to resist the urge to sympathize.
Not a Man is not light reading. It’s a heavy-weight and gut-wrenching tale that will alter your perspective on sensitive issues and your view of the culture and lifestyle it describes.
This is an impressive and memorable work by an author with impressive talent, and one I recommend to readers with confidence that it may shock, but it will never disappoint.