Read The Palace Of Varieties by James Lear Online


An outrageous sexual adventure set in 1930s London from the author of The Low Road. We follow Paul Lemoyne on a rake's progress, from low-life prostitution at the stage door of the Palace of Varieties to the salons and studios of Mayfair; from the bath-houses of Bermondsey to the rarefied circles of modern art. And behind it all lurks the mysterious figure of Albert AbbottAn outrageous sexual adventure set in 1930s London from the author of The Low Road. We follow Paul Lemoyne on a rake's progress, from low-life prostitution at the stage door of the Palace of Varieties to the salons and studios of Mayfair; from the bath-houses of Bermondsey to the rarefied circles of modern art. And behind it all lurks the mysterious figure of Albert Abbott, his lover, corrupter and Svengali....

Title : The Palace Of Varieties
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781573443142
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 280 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Palace Of Varieties Reviews

  • Lena♥Ribka
    2019-03-02 06:02

    AudibleIT.BLEW.ME.AWAY.THE BEST. THE VERY BEST OF JAMES LEAR. MAYBE BECAUSE OF THE FABULOUS GREAT AMAZING NARRATOR! Daniel Carter, I love you!I spent the whole day yesterday and today listening to this book. We have a long weekend in Germany and a nice autumn weather, a gold October day. We made a motorcycle tour today but I was a very bad companion for my husband.(Sorry, dear!) Because I was listening to this book and didn't communicate a lot. I went through all possible emotions sitting behind his back on our BMW and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Porn with tears? No, it is not a porn but it is James Lear and it is a very very very graphical and elaborate erotica, but I cried even, very quietly listening to the last chapter in the evening. Already at home.I belong normally to those READERS who prefer to read my books. I had a period in my life when I listened to MANY audio books, but it was my time BEFORE my MM-obsession. This audio book made me to want more. I hope I will do it more often in the future.I loved this book from the very first page word. From the very first sentence, from the very first SOUND of Daniel Carter's voice. HE IS PERFECT. P-E-R-F-E-C-T!HOW he did it, how he played the different roles, how he sounded, how he MADE the book LIVE and the characters BREATH! How he brought to life Paul Lemoyne! F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C!As always - there are a lot of ALL KIND OF SEX. But sex is something that you can't ignore or that you HAVE TO enjoy if you pick up James Lear's books. Sex here is not to make a story more attractive, sex is the story. If you don't like a great and the best homo-eroticism the genre can give you, if you could very easily be annoyed by EXTREME SEX scenes- skip it. YOU HAVE TO LOVE GRAPHICAL SEX to love the book though it is not just sex. I love the writing of James Lear ENORMOUSLY. For me he is Nabokov of gay erotica.Be prepared if you decide to read it: The memoirs of Paul Lemoyne, a male prostitute with ups and downs, set at the end of 1930s in London. HOT. POIGNANT. BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN. AND VERY PROVOCATIVE.And this voice....OMG. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

  • Irina
    2019-03-13 00:46

    The author definitely knows how to write a good porn, I'll give him that. It's so daring and blatantly filthy that at no point does it feel repetitive. I honestly admit that the first part of the audiobook was keeping me dry mouthed, hot and bothered. But the second part did start to tire me out.Even though I knew it's not a romance, I still expected something, I don't know.. some sort of development or a mystery or a love affair. Something to keep me interested on a deeper level, but it was like listening to the memoirs of a male whore - intriguing and arousing but tiring and empty after a while. I needed something more profound. As the main character says himself: "I'm sure the reader is as weary of my stupidity as I am."Those were my thoughts at the 3/4 mark. However, the last 25% of the book turned out to be quite thought-provoking. It had summed up the life of a vain young man with its ups and downs, wrong choices and consequences that followed. For one brief moment there, I held my breath and nearly got teary eyed with the tiny light of hope. But it got squashed down as quickly as it had appeared. In the end, I found the story sad. The phrase that comes to mind is 'filthy acquisitions' in life. Greed, desperation, the naive belief of one's might and superiority, fleeting pleasurable existence that more often than not leads to a ruin. A wasted youth and perhaps a wasted life. The author is wise enough to leave the rest to our imagination. But it had left me heavy-hearted and, despite the enormous amount of sex in a book, dissatisfied and slightly depressed. I want to mention the narrator though. Daniel Carter has done a really good job here, in my opinion. His voice and a crisp British accent was perfect for the story and a protagonist. I'm afraid, had I read the actual book, I wouldn't have found the patience to finish it. He gets the extra credit. ***3.5 stars***

  • KatieMc
    2019-03-04 23:38

    James Lear is a clever writer. It's no secret that his books are filled with sex, hot man-on-man sex to be exact (view spoiler)[yes of course, this book features some water sports, sex with cops, humiliation, bath houses, sucking, polite dub-con and more! (hide spoiler)]. Not only are they filled with sex, they are filled with character development, plot, story-telling, a bit of romance and even some social commentary. Most of his books have a historical setting, and Palace of Varieties is set in 1930s London. Because of all this, I feel like I am reading something kind of high-brow, like watching masterpiece theater. At the same time, all the debauchery makes it so deliciously naughty, that I just can't help feeling a bit smug, like I got away with something. To be sure, there is something other-worldly about these books, as they don't completely jive with the historical context that we seem to know, although they are not fantasy either. Maybe the sex positive attitude is more wish fulfillment than anything, that anything goes as long as everyone is willing and polite with each other.PS - in the name of research being done by the fabulous Lena, I will be listening to the audiobook soon and may have further notes to share.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Heidi
    2019-03-12 23:00

    Sex, debauchery and every conceivable thing in between. Something I've come to enjoy in James Lear's stories. No exception in the depravity stakes, which makes for the whole point of reading/listening to The Palace of Varieties.James Lear has a wonderful turn of phrase through out his writing."I did not stop to sniff any of these way side flowers"I did however, feel a little less satiated by this tale. It seemed to lack a real conclusion or finality. Maybe there will be more to tell of the tale of Paul & Abbott."The bitter sting that society reserves for those it casts out. Ah well, I have learned the error of my ways and that should satisfy any reader so misguided as to search for a moral in these immoral memoirs of mine."Before you venture into a James Lear novel you need to know that they are not for everyone's tastes. I however do enjoy them!3 1/2.

  • James Cox
    2019-02-20 02:53

    A sexy, interesting story.

  • Kassa
    2019-02-23 02:47

    In this departure from previous work, James Lear delves into the psyche of a morally bankrupt young man as he discovers and rampages the backroom gay scene of London in 1935. This wonderfully written and beautifully executed story is almost lost in the wealth of sex and degradation that fills the pages. The lack of redemption for the main character of Paul will inevitably turn some readers away while the author’s masterful handling of the prose will compensate for others. Overall, this is a powerful and graphic depiction of seedy gay life through the eyes of a sex addict with a small dose of morality, although some will argue Paul is without any redeeming qualities.Paul arrives in London with barely any money to his name and is introduced to the world of rent boys almost immediately when engaging two wealthy men in a gentleman’s bathroom. This opens Paul’s eyes to possibilities as he supplements his meager income from a theatre with some behind the building activities. From slums to palaces, Paul experiences the best and worst within the rarified airs and the lowest ghettos. His incredible appetite for sex and lack of inhibitions combined with his surprising naïveté cast Paul into a unique world as he plays out his porn filled fantasies.Paul Lemoyne is a young man with no education or prospects, but is clever, intelligent and willing to do anything to survive. His voracious appetite for sex is enhanced by his lack of boundaries. He will degrade himself and others to no end for the brief release and high of sex. Paul is an engaging and fascinating character taken through the pits and valleys of life as a rent boy. He makes quite a bit of money with his clients, able to quickly and easily discern what makes them happy and delivering with a rare flair and delight for his work. Unfortunately, Paul spends and looses his money as easily as he makes it, thus starting a long line of foolish decisions that he inevitably never learns from.The story is incredibly well written as the author has a unique gift for language and prose. The vivid descriptions of London at the time shine through in both its glory and squalor. The graphic nature of the sex may be disturbing for some but other than the sheer volume of the scenes, the explicit erotica didn’t offend. The book is littered with sex, filled to the brim with scene after scene, each one more inventive and designed to show the depths Paul will sink to in his voracious appetite for sexual gratification. There is nothing too taboo and the kinkier the better for Paul. He flirts with crime but never develops a real taste as his thoughts are consumed with sex and the procurement of such. He has no preference over his lovers, giving sex for free or for payment, depending on his level of satisfaction and intelligence at the time.Often Paul becomes besotted with various characters in the book, men who revolve around his orbit in the world. All of these men use Paul to some degree, rending him blind to their motives and lack of true feeling. He is kept on a string by his own attachment and need for love, yet carelessly breaks and ruins the few opportunities offered for somewhat more healthy relationships. His need for sexual gratification rules his life just as his lack of connection to people cause him to follow others’ control, most notably Albert Abbott. Paul never learns from his mistakes and displays a lack of moral integrity and compassion. Paul indulges gluttony and avarice to their very core and allows the hedonistic lifestyle to overwhelm his every thought.Paul’s tale is fabulously written and explores a darker, seedier side to gay sex that is often degrading, humiliating, painful, shocking, and ultimately fascinating. This nonstop thrill from one trick to the next from Paul’s eyes has hints of deeper pain and need, but is hidden underneath a thoroughly dirty sexual romp. Paul is easy to judge and dislike, as are the wealth of unsympathetic characters that drift in and out of the story. Liked or not, Paul is a riveting character with an engaging voice and relentless pursuit for sex, to his own demise. I’m not sure if I enjoyed the book, but it was well worth reading.

  • Ken
    2019-03-19 03:46

    I’m surprised that this book hasn’t been discovered as the gay “Fifty Shades Of Grey” yet. Yes... folks, it’s just that filthy. I couldn’t read this book in public because (embarrassing so) I kept an erection 99% of time I was reading it. Leave your morals at the door and be prepared for a no-holes-barred, spermy, piss-soaked reading experience you won’t soon forget.This is the story of hunky, big-dicked Paul Lemoyne who leaves his humble life in a tiny English village for life in the big city (London). It’s 1930, he’s a young, virile man and he’s flat broke and as you might suppose, young Paul does resort to turning tricks and in turn is soon the most celebrated male whore in the city of London for several years. If you’re looking for one of those prostitute with a heart-of-gold type of stories, this is not it. Not saying that the main character is a monster or a bad person, but Paul Lemoyne has few redeeming qualities as a human. You will find yourself rooting for him toward the end of the book and hoping he’ll find someone that will love him for him and not just for his huge penis, bottomless arsehole or complete willingness to do absolutely anything when it comes to sex.James Lear is a pseudonym for author Rupert Smith (See my review of Man’s World).

  • Marc | Rainbow Gold Reviews
    2019-02-23 23:55

    3.75This is very raunchy with a little bit of anything, which means it really is not for everyone!!!A very long, dark erotic tale. A gritty historical with dub-con/ non-con and super kinks.I listened to the audiobook. It took a while to get used to the narrator, but then I enjoyed it.

  • A.B. Gayle
    2019-02-24 07:05

    This book is available in a Kindle edition.Set in London between the two World Wars, this tale of sex and debauchery is an amusing and often poignant picture of life at the time and the hypocritical figures that populated the upper echelons of society and the arts.The book is as much a social commentary as a tale of Paul’s sexploitation. The sheer variety of all the different personalities he fucks, not just their size or sexual proclivity adds to the enjoyment. The chapters on the Russian artist, Boleslavsky, and the inspiration behind some of his “masterpieces” are amusingly droll.A rake’s progress or in this case a whore’s progress, the narrator grows from a rebellious eighteen year old run away, through a life of ease and fame, back down again to be reborn as an adult going off to war.While I enjoyed his better known book “The Back Passage”, I found this one had a lot more meat to chow down on.

  • Neil Plakcy
    2019-02-22 23:06

    A fun sexy read, though not as good as his mystery novels.

  • Becky Black
    2019-02-22 02:54

    Copied from my Live Journal hero in this story – told in first person - is Paul Lemoyne, who comes up to London in 1934 at age 18 to make something of himself. He becomes a stagehand at the seedy "Palace of Varieties" theatre, but soon learns that both the acts and the back stage staff have other ways of supplementing their incomes...Like The Back Passage this is definitely VERY smutty. Paul shags his way though every part of London society, from the highest to the lowest. But there's more to the story than the Back Passage. 100 pages more for one thing, and they aren't just 100 pages of smut. The story feels denser. It's more dramatic, the events matter more. There are several pretty dark moments, including where the main character himself does some very dark things, as he allows selfishness and lust to lead him. He regains our sympathy though by paying for these things and regretting them. For instance at one point he's stealing from men he's been seeing (this is a fairly mild example!) but later feels bad about it, and even sees to it that he pays them back when he moves on to more high-paying adventures. But he also loses their trust and any chance of being able to call on any of them for help later.The character development is more important than in The Back Passage (naturally enough, since that takes place over such a short time period) and Paul ends up on quite a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Towards the end of the book he's falling into a deep low, having done some bad things and already seeing his "career" being over after only a few years. Becoming conscious of the passing of time and how quickly it will take away his greatest assets – youth and looks.Still it ends on a hopeful note, and with hints of a sequel, which I'd very much like to see. It's a naughty, and riveting read.Again it's more male fantasy than romantic, though love is certainly in there. Paul falls in and out of love a few times, like the callow youth he is, but that doesn't mean he's not interested in doing everything that moves. Very different from the romantic true love in the two J L Langley books of my previous reviews. This contrast is definitely interesting me. :D The Langley books remind me often of slash fanfic that I've read – as written almost entirely by women. But I've never read any slash that's like the Lear stories, even ones that aren't about hearts and flowers true love.

  • Hank Cannon
    2019-03-01 06:53

    I enjoyed the novel, and really appreciated the descriptions of the sex and the depictions of the milleu. The only thing keeping me from four or five stars is just how awful Paul could be, and the digressions into his future while giving us a laudable glimpse into how he may have fared, ultimately annoyed me because they became an excuse to skip over juicy emotional moments leaving me feeling tricked. It could be the proximity to me finishing the story to feeling this way. This is no slight on the work. As soon as I finished Palace of the Varities, I bought three more of Lear's works and am reading them now.

  • Nisie draws
    2019-03-15 00:40

    Although this book was just as full of outrageous gay sex as the Mitch Mitchell series, I didn't find it as enjoyable. The main character wasn't very likeable, and the fact that he's a prostitute throughout much of the book means there isn't much plot besides having raunchy sex. The sex was way filthier which could be a plus or minus, but pee and rape aren't on my list of kinks.

  • Michael Adam Reale
    2019-03-16 06:37

    This is,the second book that I have read by James Lear. I really enjoy this author's writing style and venues. This story was set in the 1930s in a Gentleman's Club. it shows the sexual encounters of men in that time. I don't want to give the plot away but I do recommend this,author and this book.

  • J'aime
    2019-02-20 04:39

    I really enjoyed Lear's "The Back Passage." It was a fun romp that naturally spoofed an Agatha Christie-type mystery, and the characters were engaging. So, I eagerly searched out more by the author. Only, I wish I had never found this one. It is NOT an M/M romance. Paul Lemoyne begins work as a stage hand, but almost immediately realizes he can make a lot more money as a prostitute. This book centers on his "exploits" and the depths to which he falls in his quest for money and lust. He spends his money as fast as he earns it, sometimes faster. He has an agent of sorts, Albert, whom readers are supposed to believe Paul has feelings for. But Albert rarely appears, and there is no plot. Paul goes from one sexual encounter to the next. I have read stories about prostitutes before, that's not a problem. But, Paul is not a likeable character. At first he comes across as naive, but quickly degenerates into a leach on society. And Lear never reveals enough about Albert for him to develop into a fully realized character. The entire book is Paul.I enjoy M/M erotica, even porn. I usually like a lot of sex in books regardless of genre, whether M/M or het. However, this book completely turned me off. Paul had no feelings for any of the men he coupled with. It wasn't erotic, it was an exercise in depravity. Some of the "sexual" acts described were outright disgusting to me (involving bodily functions/fluids I'd rather not remember) and there was no other storyline to provide a break from it. Perhaps the worst part of all, the ending was unfinished and the left the reader hanging on a possible romance that never happens.Overall, this book was a huge disappoinment compared to his excellent novel, "The Back Passage." Skip this, and read Lear's other work instead.

  • Sequelguerrier
    2019-03-18 02:48

    When they created the label 'picaresque', they could have had Lear's Palace of Varieties in mind. Normal, there is little doubt that he set out to write this tale of the coming of age of Paul as just that, the tale of a young rogue's adventures as he leaves an unpromising home for London in the mid 1930ies and discovers there is a lot a likely lad can get up to in the big, old, dirty city. Paul hasn't made it out of Waterloo station before he discovers that public toilets have more than one use and from there we follow his adventures plumbing the heights and soaring to the depths of London society. This is very much an erotic novel so it tends to produce the desired effect on average, I'd guess, every two to three pages. And some of the scenes are pretty few holds barred. But beyond the steamy, Lear seems to have found a form of novel that really suits his combination of erotically charged and seriously learned and even socially critical writing. He gets the period right and the characters and he produces a denouement that added a little surprise if not in who was part of it than in what made one of them tick. The best of his I have read so far because it achieves the right balance between keeping both a man's main sexual organs interested, the head and ... There is the promise or perhaps it is a threat of a sequel in the final lines - I hope it won't happen because whatever comes after, eve if it were to be derring do and more sexscapades across a war torn continent, it would inevitably change the reader's relationship with the tale of 'Palace' and that would be a pity.

  • _inbetween_
    2019-03-06 03:57

    In the vein of Hot Valley rather than Back Passage, this starts very early with the Golden Showers, briefly skims the theatre and sex market explored deeper in most other books, and ends just before the protagonist(s) join the war. Both in callousness and type of encounters it's basically an extended version of the early chapters of Hot Valley. The sex is always identical, there is no initiation or progression, and while it's no surprise that the protagonist is sick of at at the age of 21, it's also not convincing. He has less personality than the HV one, and if there are more sexual encounters (even when he's officially abstinent) it doesn't feel so due to their utter sameness, so much so that it's a huge surprise some of them were seen as love in retrospect while others he once labels rape *shrugs* I only wanted good sex out of this, but Lear starts with writhing in piss and ends with the (piss poor) excuse that he won't expose how it is to "make true love" to our eyes - the end.If you haven't read much (porn? gay lit?), or if you liked Hot Valley, you might enjoy it?ETA: or if you enjoy kinks in general? Apart from golden showers and rimmings there are public sex and anal insertion (of dildo-like objects), forcing "straight" men (to admit there is no such thing as a straight man) and uniform kink. Basically all sex acts fall under at least one if not all of these categories.

  • Mrs LB
    2019-02-20 00:48

    I find myself unable to rate this book because my rating is more like "eh". It was hard to find anything to like because it's so tragic and disastrous from the start, but I couldn't not find out how this story ended. I can imagine those who will see this book as only depraved and well, just plain nasty. Obviously there was that, but more as well. (I should mention that after experiencing Roquelaure's, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, I have a higher tolerance for... uhm, this kind of read.) I kept hoping that this young man would get it together and didn't know whether to be upset or relieved when he told me in advance not to even get my hopes up on more than one occasion.Strangely though, I'm still hoping that there will be a sequel because I really think I'd like to see a mature Paul. Listening to him go from an abused and naive 18 year old just entering London - to a top dollar companion - only to fall from grace and into crime - and finally, after five years, enter into manhood, I'm hopeful for better things to come. I too would like to see what happens with Albert Abbott solely in hopes that him and Paul are able to have some kind of life together.

  • Denis
    2019-03-04 04:59

    My enjoyment of this excellent book was spoiled because on this occasion I had the audiobook version. The reader for the audiobook had no idea of how to inflect sentences in response to meaning and punctuation, resulting in emphasis going to all the wrong places - and he mispronounced a fair proportion of the sophisticated vocabulary which makes Lear's work so special. Avoid the audio version if at all possible!The plot for this book meanders a little aimlessly at times as it follows the depraved adventures of Paul, the beautiful 18 year old protagonist. But the frequent, filthy and imaginative sex scenes make it a very enjoyable read for Lear's perverted and devoted fans. Don't read (or listen to) this book in public unless you have some way to cover your lap!

  • Jimmy
    2019-02-19 05:50

    Once the story was established beyond the point of sexual exploits, I really got into the story & had a hard time putting it down. James Lear offers a story that you want to read & not just some 200 pages of really hot sex. To quote from the book,The Palace of Varieties, "...a bill of entertainment that has been both comical and tragical, pastoral and historical, in which I have tasted most of what men have to offer..."

  • Rick
    2019-02-24 02:37

    If Fanny Hill was a man living in the 1930s, this would be her story. The whore's progress novel always feels a little directionless the first time; as such, I prefer Lear's mysteries. Perhaps I also place more value on the search for truth than on the growth of maturity. But if you just want a gay sex novel, Lear does them very well indeed, and this is no exception.

  • Josephine Myles
    2019-03-19 05:03

    This was a DNF halfway through. I loved Lear's Mitch Mitchell mysteries because they had such a light touch. This, while having all the historical erotica you can shake a stick at, just didn't charm me in the same way because I didn't get along with the narrator. I expect I'll try it again at some point, though.

  • Sean
    2019-02-24 06:06

    Cuz sometimes you just need some period piece gay porn!

  • Michelle
    2019-02-28 07:03

    I'm sorry I'm usually a James Lear fan but I hated that ending.

  • Loop
    2019-03-08 04:55

    Lol got bored

  • Jamie
    2019-03-16 00:55

    $1.99 @ amazon

  • Jason Mock
    2019-03-19 01:43

    The Happy Hooker meets Charles Dickens.Filthy fun!

  • Nicolas Chinardet
    2019-03-02 06:57