John has just been given a ship and his mission is to stop the pirates from stealing English people and enslaving them. This is how John and Alfie meet. Alfie is assigned to be one of John's lieutenants. Now Alfie knows he's gay. John is not aware of his inclinations. You see, John grew up somewhat super religiously (to combat his father's vile ways) and part of his belief system is to remain chaste. So he's always assumed his not wanting to be with women had to do with that, that he was strong enough to overcome his baser instincts. But Alfie draws the strangest reactions from him and he doesn't understand why - and he does not realize that Alfie is gay. So after their mission has been accomplished, Alfie comes clean to John. And John reacts with disgust and anger.
Alfie, not wanting to see John again that first reaction, leaves. It just so happens that his first captain, and the first man he was attracted to, has pulled into the harbour and Alfie talks his way on board. Captain Farrant rebuffed Alfie in the past, but Aflie has matured some and he knows now that Farrant can't love him and that's ok, Alfie has given up on love. So Alfie and Farrant begin an affair (which has some serious complications for Farrant's life).
Meanwhile, after storming out on Alfie, John spends the night reflecting on Alfie's actions in the past and comes to the realization that he actually loves Alfie. But when he returns to their rooms, Alfie is gone. And so John moves on with his life and his next mission, in Jamaica, hunting pirates and the French. While on this mission, John is captured and tortured by the pirates - only to be rescued by none other than Captain Farrant and his crew. So Alfie, currently involved with Farrant, is now face to face with John, who has come to realize that he loves Alfie.
And this takes us half way through the book, maybe 3/5ths of the way through. There's so much more going on here! Stuff happens, Alfie and John are on the same crew on an expedition to the Artic and more stuff happens. It's quite the adventure.
And throughout all these goings on are these two great characters. John with his doubts and coming to find out who he is, and Alfie, going from the naive fool-for-love to a cynic. Even Captain Farrant is an interesting character and I couldn't quite bring myself to hate him. He had his own demons to deal with, one of them being a doctor who thought he could cure Farrant's homosexuality.
Alex Beecroft is one hell of a writer. She totally drew me in and I got so invested with these characters. A truly fine talent and I can't wait to read more by her.
False Colors gets 5 stars from me. I wish this book didn't have to end, it was the best book to start of 2010 with. And if you've never tried m/m romance before (this is NOT erotica) I definitely recommend trying this book. I dare you to not fall under the spell of Alex's excellent writing and a truly gripping romance. It was epic!