Sappho International is a new erotic thriller, set in an underground secret society of women-who-love-women. Tied by both bloodlines and sexuality to the legacy of Sappho (the infamous poet from the island of Lesbos who wrote about love between women in 600 BC), the Sapphic Trust is a group of powerful, elite women who hold themselves above the laws of men. Sappho International is the lesbian entertainment and escort arm of their organization, serving as both a front for their activities, and as a recruitment tool for their upper echelon of women.
With a set-up like that, I was only too eager to settle in for a great read, but I had a hard time getting into the story. The narrative style initially struck me as odd, as if a straight man were trying too hard to write about lesbians. There was a definite masculinity to the storytelling that jarred with what I was expecting. As soon as I encoutered another character's reaction to the narrator, however, everything fell into place. Max Silk is a very butch, very masculine, very androgynous lesbian. She's the kind of woman who likes to dress like a tomboy, and who is always packing (i.e. wearing a strap on dildo beneath her jeans). Once I adjusted my mental image from lipstick to butch, the narration not only began to seem natural, but actually added a new twist of originality to the story that I hadn't expected . . . but certainly appreciated.
This is a three-act story, beginning with the 'discovery' and advancement of Max through the ranks of Sappho International. Already a successful club manager of the Sapphire Loungue, she expects the worst when summoned to a secretive meeting with the club's owner, PrimaDonna Valentina, only to be invited to become a 'stud' for Sappho International. The second act of the story deals largely with her initiation into the organization, and her participation in Cloud 9, an global extravaganza that indulges the most decadent whims of only the richest and most powerful women. The final act revolves around Max's discovery of a traitor within the ranks, another well-respected stud who is using the organization to front her own illegal activities, and their eventual confrontation.
As you might expect, this is a very sexual story, but one that feels more like a gloriously trashy romantic thriller than a work of pure erotica. It's in-your-face and a bit over-the-top, but it's also a whole lot of fun. Despite the fact that Max is cautioned against emotional entanglements, and advised to keep the sex on a purely professional level, there are a pair of romantic triangles that add some spice to the story, and just enough sentimentality to keep the reader emotionally engaged. It's also a very exciting story, full of dramatic twists, devastating secrets, and enough catfights and bitchiness to satsify even the most agressive reader.
Personally, I found the final act of the story to be the most exciting, particularly with the revelations about the origins of the Sapphic Trust, and about Max's place withing the organization. There's clearly more to the story than we've been told - and, as much fun as this was, I suspect there's an even better story to come. If you're in the mood for a good soap-opera thriller, and don't mind some in-your-face sexuality, this is a story that's well worth a read.