Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner is probably the first book I read that started me on the road to writing m/m romance. It's gay romance at its best. Though it's marketed as fantasy, rightly so, its throughline is the romantic relationship between Richard and Alec. (Aside: I so love the name Alec. Love it enough to have one of my current heroes named Alec, though his lover is Seamus and his personality is completely different than the unstable Alec of Swordspoint.)
Swordspoint is less explicit than today’s m/m epub romances. The worldbuilding is exquisite. Set in a Regency-like city where lives are worth little and self-interested nobles betray each other at a drop of a hat, the details of Kushner’s world and her characterization are wonderful. Richard is a lethal swordsman who will probably die young and Alec is a noble who has run away from his family and is now slumming it with a death wish.
I've read it twice, but I feel the urge to pick it up a third time.
Anyone else a fan of Swordspoint?
And in other news, for my contest winner: jennybrat email me for details!