Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dance of the Baccha by Nancy Cole

You may need to suspend disbelief quite a bit here, but if you can allow yourself this luxury, you may find Dance of the Baccha to be quite interesting, exciting and even titillating. This is a book that at very first glance reminds me of a fictionalized account of Warrior Princess, where a returning Iraqi/Afghani vet, though not quite a Navy Seal Team Six member, saw quite a fair share of the horrors of war as a medic in the service of his country. The semi-resemblance continues as this gender dysphoric young man, Jordan, is now seemingly suffering from PTSD, as evidenced by his recurrent insomnia, a growing dependence on sleeping pills, the potential for suicidal thoughts, and some rather poor and impulsive decision making.

In Nancy Cole's novel, Jordan has a life-long predilection for all things feminine and like Kristin in the Warrior Princess, Jordan probably joined the military to prove his manhood, but that is well behind him how, for he is presently a college student with a taste for studying history, a very supportive sister, and an ongoing preoccupation to explore his feminine side. Through events quite serendipitous in nature, while affecting his normal androgynous modality, he happens to meet up with his sister's new flame and, of course, is mistaken for the girl he always wished to be. This friend of the sister happens to have another friend and the four go out on the town with Jordan remaining in girl mode.

I will tell you that these two "dates" happen to be government guys who are on the hunt to uncover the secret activities of a certain NYU history professor, a man of Middle Eastern descent who is alleged to be recruiting unsuspecting and idealistically naive folks from the student body, converting them to his brand of Islam and then apparently on to matters quite nefarious. This Svengali-like prof also has a taste for young effeminate males who just happen to cross dress.

Enter the easily malleable Jordan, who quickly has become a sometimes bumbling operative for a joint FBI/CIA counterintelligence venture. However, when our gender variant protagonist meets this super charismatic charmer, sexual sparks fly and we have the makings of some pretty good BDSM stuff, as Jordan, after some serious enculturation "lessons" that include drugging, dons native Afghani dancing girl garb, merging with his new identity and plummeting perhaps a bit too far down this clandestine rabbit hole. But then again, with Jordan, a soul who is searching for her true gender and sexuality, sparks are flying for a couple of others, too and she is very, very confused about many, many things.

About the typos. Forget about 'em. I expect them in these self-published, yet often very entertaining books.

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