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General Reactions and Reviews
Probably my favorite series of MFU zines overall; the variety of authors and stories is wonderful, and the editing is top-notch. Plus the covers are gorgeous. 
Relative Secrecy 1 was published in 1997 and is 195 pages long. Includes: To Live in Interesting Times by Taliesin, winner of a 1998 STIFfie Award (Best Story), nominee for a 1998 Fan Q Award (Best Story); The Baltic Affair by P.R. Zed and The Party Time Affair by Linda White, nominees for 1998 Fan Q Awards (Best Story); and The You Chased Me 'Til I Caught You Affair by Paloma Manchada, nominee for a 1998 STIFfie Award (Best Story).
- The Over-Night Sleep-Out Affair by Paloma Manchada 3 pages
- A Satisfying Affair by Mary L. Millard 15 pages
- The Sleepless Nights Affair by Linda White 9 pages (part of the Third Level Universe)
- The Paternal Instinct by Taliesin 5 pages
- Illya Kuryakin - A Portrait Non-Fiction 4 pages
- Napoleon Solo - A Portrait Non-Fiction 5 pages
- The Hard Day's Night Affair by Linda White 10 pages (part of the Third Level Universe)
- The Morning After the Hard Day's Night Affair by Linda White 4 pages (part of the Third Level Universe)
- The You Chased Me 'Til I Caught You Affair by Paloma Manchada 30 pages
- Better Late by Theresa Kyle 21 pages
- The Royal Prerogative by Taliesin 1 page
- The Party Time Affair by Linda White 22 pages (part of the Third Level Universe)
- The Baltic Affair by P.R. Zed 14 pages
- Silken Cords by Kate McChesney 4 pages
- Initiation to Innocence by Jane Terry & Psmythe 22 pages
- To Live in Interesting Times by Taliesin 23 pages
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 1
See reactions and reviews for To Live in Interesting Times.
[To Live in Interesting Times & Sufficient Unto the Day] - In Relative Secrecy 1 and Relative Secrecy 2, respectively. These two A/Us have almost nothing in common with MFU canon, although fans of La Femme Nikita will recognize the mood and premise. Nevertheless, they're beautifully written, and a haunting portrayal of a possible NS and IK in a (very) worst-case scenario. 
[Sufficient Unto the Day]: Why this must be read: Because it's the sequel of "To live in interesting times"!, already recced, written with the same magic, in the same vibrating, haunting tone and because this dark universe, that we see progressively becoming ours a little more everyday, is my favourite MFU nightmare; this time the author is offering us a tiny, faint blink of light, a while of rest in a murky, chaotic, meaningless fight. like the ancient Taliesin the Bard, who had the power to tell the things that are, the things that were and the things that would be, our Taliesin knows how to call forth the shadows of the events to come. 
[Better Late]: There is one other story that Ms. Kyle allows us to witness such moving character development. Simply titled Better Late, this bittersweet story is set after the Fifteen Years Later Affair. And it is, to put it bluntly, brilliant. Time has not been kind to either of them, especially Napoleon, and in (his story one faces the worries of middle-age: cholesterol, calories, heart problems, depression, even impotence.
I should admit here and now that this was the first Theresa Kyle story I ever read. My initial impression was one of horror. The Napoleon and Illya in my mind are young, dashing, invincible heroes - how dare someone portray them as human beings! And to do it in a way which was so believable only made matters worse. The worst thing of all was that the story possessed, as I was to discover in many of Ms. Kyle's other works, an undeniable ring of truth.
Perhaps that was what disturbed me the most - the idea that our heroes could be as susceptible to the ravages of time as the rest of us.
It was only later, after I had read more slash zines, that I realized that this work was not typical of her other stories. Ms. Kyle obviously likes Napoleon and Illya, and she is capable of writing them the way I envisioned in my imagination. She does not have an axe to grind, and she isn't out to 'punish' either one of them for character faults, real or imagined.
No, her goal was far nobler.
But it look me several months to figure it out.
She wanted to flesh them out into three-dimensional, complex characters. To transform them beyond the limitation of stereotype into living, breathing individuals.
I never expected to read a story in which a weary Napoleon states that a man's worth does not depend on the number of women he has bedded. Nor was I prepared for a quietly desperate Illya, barely concealing his feelings in his awkward advances.
They are the characters we remember, but older and much, much wiser, Illya is less cynical, more accepting, with a poignant impulsivity that comes with an awareness of one's own mortality. As for Napoleon, the flippancy and superficiality are gone forever. It is replaced by a poignant gravitas only hinted at in the movie.In Better Late, they are allowed to mature to a far greater extent than any other story I have read to date. They will never regain the confidence and looks of youth. But they are still heroic. Much as they inspired us with their daring escapades when we first saw the show, in this story they still inspire with their ability to overcome personal obstacles to find each other. They learn from mistakes, they take advice, they forgive in this story, they become individuals I admire and respect. 
Relative Secrecy 2 was published in 1998 and is 148 pages long. Winner of a 1999 STIFfie Award (Best Zine). Includes The Broken Man Affair by Linda White, co-winner of a 1999 Fan Quality Award (Best Story) and nominee for a STIFfie Award (Best Story).From the editorial:
We're a little shorter this year than last. However, though the number of stories is a little less, the number of authors is greater, so I think we're achieving greater diversity. We have a few first time stories, a few established relationships, one "in the beginning" and one that doesn't even really get started. We also have one death story ("Falls the Shadow"), for those of you who prefer to be warned. Several of the stories this time around are sequels to stories which appeared in Relative Secrecy 1. Though even someone who hasn't read the first stories will enjoy these, a few references will make more sense to readers familiar with the earlier efforts. These sequels include: The See Lubyanka and Die Affair", in which P.R. Zed answers the question ofwhat comes next for our boys following The Baltic Affair" and what happens to the U.N.C.L.E. agents who were taken in the KGB sweep which failed to capture Kuryakin. We also have The London Affair" by Paloma Manchada, continuing her series (which is shaping up to be a veritable universe) which began with The Over-Night Sleep-Out Affair" and "The You Chased Me Til I Caught You Affair" — and this time, never fear, they actually make it into the sack. Linda White weighs in with three more installments in her fascinating universe, which certainly needs no introduction from me! Finally, "Sufficient Unto the Day" is set in the same alternate universe as T o Live in Interesting Times." It was written in response to several requests for a sequel, but I hesitate to call it such, as I'm not convinced that the Illya and Napoleon of that universe would ever meet up again. Shall we merely I say it's a possibility?? (How's that for authorial quibbling in an editorial?) In addition to the returning authors, Relative Secrecy 2 also has quite a few new authors (some of whom are not only new to the zine, but to writing in U.N.C.L.E. slash fandom). I'm grateful that they felt brave enough to deal with me and my editorial quibbling and I hope they are as happy with the end result as I am.
- Prelude by Theresa Kyle 5 pages
- The Act of Duress Affair by Sarah Lindsay 7 pages
- The London Affair by Paloma Manchada 23 pages
- The Broken Man Affair by Linda White 10 pages (part of the Third Level Universe)
- Cold Comfort by Jennifer Lon 3 pages
- The See Lubyanka and Die Affair by P.R. Zed 23 pages
- After Querido by Linda White 3 pages (part of the Third Level Universe)
- Confessions by Deb 10 pages
- Sufficient Unto the Day by Taliesin 4 pages
- The Truth is Stranger than Fiction Affair by Linda White 12 pages (part of the Third Level Universe)
- Falls the Shadow by Elizabeth Cochrane 8 pages
- The Fusion Affair by Dorinda 10 pages
- Torment by Jane Terry 4 pages
- The Ties That Bind by Taliesin 25 pages
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 2
[The Fusion Affair]: Napoleon is saddled with a new partner, and he's not too happy about it. There's a delightful whimsical tone to his introspections as he muses on the loss of his freedom....
However, everything changes as Napoleon and Illya seem to forge a mental union in order to escape from Thrush. Or did they? Is this 'fusion' real, or is Napoleon imagining things?It's funny and intriguing and there's this lovely half-clothed scene in the shower. There isn't much banter, but that's only because they've found a more elemental way to get their point across. 
[After Querido]: I first read this story when I was too new to the fandom to really appreciate the depth and detail of this characterization. Even so, I fell in love with the complex, fascinating layers of both Napoleon and Illya in this short rumination. Now that I know the characters better, I appreciate the story that much more.
This piece is part of Linda's Third Level universe, but I don't think you even have to know what that means to enjoy the story. Linda certainly has a very *specific* vision of the guys and their relationship and, as presented here, it's quite accessible and believable.
Linda also writes *beautifully*. After Querido is one of the more "literary" stories I've read in this fandom. The poetic language has a rhythmic cadence that is almost hypnotic, as in this paragraph -- my favorite passage of any fanfiction story:You count the scars on my body. You touch them with your fingertips and your lips, and you count them out loud sometimes, in Russian. And we remember where I got them. I do the same for yours, and we remember those wounds, too. It pulls us together, it binds us in ways normal people can't understand. The invisible thread of life sewing us one to the other, stitching into my wound and out, into your wound and out, back and forth, until we are wound up together, inextricably woven into the same tapestry of remembered suffering. 
[The Ties That Bind]: What I like most about this story is the strength of the camaraderie between Napoleon and Illya. We see them in action, on the run from THRUSH, exhibiting their characteristic ingenuity and aplomb in the face of danger, never losing their senses of humor and always relaying on their trust in one another. The increasing intimacy between them is utterly convincing with a beautifully underplayed love scene. 
Relative Secrecy 3 was published in 1999 and is 271 pages long. Nominee for a 2000 STIFfie Award (Best Zine).
- Discovery in an Alley by Deb (3 pages)
- A Friend in Need Affair by Sarah Lindsay (16 pages)
- The Costa Rica Affair by Paloma Manchada (28 pages)
- Hidden Talents by Jennifer Lon (3 pages)
- Standing Stones by Kate Drummond (42 pages)
- The Mediterranean Affair by Karin Porter (6 pages)
- Haunted Soul by Jennifer Lon (6 pages)
- The Rock and a Hard Place Affair by Clare Chew (29 pages)
- Cupid's Bow by Blondie (8 pages)
- The Russian Affair by Karin Porter (7 pages) (is an Illya/RPF [Nuryev)] story)
- The Dimensional Shift Affair by Linda White (70 pages)
- The Das Vadanya Affair by P.R. Zed (14 pages)
- Lovers and Other Strangers by P.R. Zed (5 pages)
- Interim by Elizabeth Cochrane (2 pages)
- Finders Keepers by Taliesin (31 pages)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 3
[Finders Keepers]: Napoleon's charm, patience, and good humour is tested when he tries to find his way back to Illya and U.N.C.L.E HQ during one hectic night in New York City. Thrush agents want him and the secret codes he's stolen from them, a pretty damsel eagerly offers a change of clothes and her affections for the night...and the men at the gay bathhouse are all too ready to welcome him with open arms and various other appendages.
Poor Napoleon. He's too popular for his own good. But never fear - the ever-dependable Illya is in hot pursuit. And tonight he's determined to get his man in more ways than one.A crazy, witty and sexy farce from start to finish. 
[zine]: Relative Secrecy 3 debuted to a hail of positive commentary this Spring, so I was quite anxious for my copy to arrive in the mail. It did and I read and "Wow!" This is one of those stay-up-all-night-till-you-drop-over-tired kind of U.N.C.L.E. zines.
What a collection of stories! The range goes from ghostly to H/C Napoleon to H/C Illya to dimensional shifting to sweet romance to a rollickingly funny adventure in New York City. This is a truly glorious set of stories.
Um, my favorites:
"Finders Keeper" by Taliesin. Napoleon, returning from a mission overseas, ends up dumped out in New York, far from HQ, with only a few foreign coins in his pockets and Thrush hot on his tail. What follows is a hysterical escape through the city with Mr. Solo one step ahead of the bad guys and Mr. Kuryakin one step behind. Throw in a mix of indignant NYC cops, coffee shop waitresses, frowsy housewives, big dogs and ...uh, I won't ruin the best parts. Suffice it to say I thought it was entirely hysterical. My favorite scene involves a thoroughly-soaked and entirely indignant Thrush fledgling facing down the guys toward the end. If Napoleon has had a bad night, this poor lad has had a far-worse one.
"The Das Vadanya Affair" by P.R. Zed. Minor quibble, very minor, it should be "Do Svidaniya" the linguist in me is screaming to get that out. That said, I'm sad to report that I now am forced to hate P.R. Zed. This story is sublime and I am green with jealousy that 1 did not write it itself. Illya decides he must leave U.N.C.L.E. and his lover Napoleon for the sake of Napoleon's career. The logic makes sense and this decision is very in keeping with Illya's character, so the story flowed. The section where a retired Illya is receiving letters from his former colleagues is superb. A three hankie story for the sentimental definitely (or a stitch-in-the-throat story tough old broads like myself.) Quality work this.
"Standing Stones" by Kate Drummond. A top-grade ghost story. I'm a sucker for supernatural stuff so I set out reading this with high expectations, and I was not disappointed. The guys in peril, a dangerous landscape, bad guys have them on the ropes and then,..and then...??? Bwahaha, you'll have to read it to find out. I'm not ruining this chiller by spilling the beans. It's a good 'un.
"The Costa Rica Affair" by Paloma Manchada. I read this one over, couldn't decide if I liked it or not. Re-read it, puzzled over why it felt strange to me. Decided it must be because the primary plot thread is of Napoleon being the helpless victim for once, of Napoleon instead of Illya facing victimization. Read it through again, decided it was a powerful H/C story. Good genre story, just a bit disorienting due to the mirror-image effect.
"The Dimensional Shift Affair" by Linda White. This was another perplexing story to me. Everyone I've talked to loves this story. Three sets of primary players from three different dimensional realities looping around one another due to a rift in space-time This substantial story sets a very complex set of threads into collision. I found it intriguing and well-written, but haven't yet had the free time yet to digest the plot. (Too much work, too little life). I always like Linda's writing in any case and it is a strong part of the zine.
The other authors are also powerful in their own right and I didn't find any weak offerings in the lot.
Did I mention this is slash? Lots of hot action going on.Most fine zine, canna wait for the next one. 
[zine]: Relative Secrecy #3 is in my opinion the best of the three RS zines — a diversified collection including action/adventure, science fiction, fantasy, good old-fashioned romance, and even a ghost story or two; there is something here for everyone. And, at 270 pages and a $18 plus postage purchase price, it might be one of the best bargains around as well.
In "Discovery in an Alley," by Deb, the writer explores a rather familiar scenario — Napoleon and Illya forced into sexual circumstances as part of their undercover roles — but gives it a delightful twist. I especially loved Illya in this one; there's a tendency with some U.N.C.L.E. writers to make Illya either too tough and unapproachable, or too vulnerable and wimpy, but this writer struck a perfect balance. I could just hear him make his shy admission, "I've wanted to for years."
A really different story is Sarah Lindsay's "A Friend in Need Affair." Award-winning author Lindsay takes a hard-to-believe supernatural scenario and yet makes it believable, in part due to her strong characterization. I loved Napoleon's being protective and supportive of his partner even though he didn't understand Illya's fear, and his soft declaration, "I'm glad that you came all the way from the other side of the world to become my partner." A wonderful ending too. A real gem of a story.
"The Costa Rica Affair," by Paloma Manchada, is a skillfully-done adventure story, with some wonderful h/c — and I loved it that Napoleon was (he one who got hurt for a change! Napoleon's angst over Illya's supposed death, and Illya's concern for his injured partner, make this a great relationship story too. Despite the drawback that this was actually not a Napoleon/Illya story — Illya has sex with someone else, not Napoleon — this was still, all in all, a well-told and satisfying tale.
"Hidden Talents" by Jennifer Lyon was a nice, cozy little short-short with an interestingly different premise - - we see Illya (not Napoleon) using his sexual talents (in this case, with a man) for U.N.C.L.E.. The ending was delicious.
No one who has been lucky enough to read Kate Drummond's work in the past will be surprised to hear that her novella, "Standing Stones," is a fascinating and exciting story loaded with a lot of lovely angst, humorous banter, hot sex — and a stunning surprise ending! One thing I have against established relationship stories is that there's no romantic suspense when the boys are already together, but KD manages to give us romantic suspense anyway by showing the lovers after a long separation and unable, due to circumstances, to be intimate immediately. 1 find KD's Illya especially delightful —just irresistible.
The two stories by Karin Porter were very well done. "The Mediterranean Affair" gives us both an intriguing situation and lots of great dialogue; a lovely, romantic first time altogether. "The Russian Affair," interestingly enough, stars a real person (the Russian ballet dancer Nuryev), who was quite fetching in his role as Other Man. I enjoyed the revelation that Illya never let anyone put him on the bottom — until Napoleon.
"Haunted Soul" by Jennifer Lyon is a very nice "mystery," and a good character study of Illya too — and the revelation at the end was stunning!
"The Rock and a Hard Place Affair" by Clare Chew is another really different story, with an unusual plot which the writer handled very adeptly, merging it skillfully with the first-time scenario. An interesting supporting cast too. I especially liked the humor in the story — it's not always easy to get that breezy banter that N&I exchanged on the show down right, but CC did an excellent job.
"Cupid's Bow" by Blondie was a surprise. The scenario, at first, made me wince — but then I found myself loving what the author did with it, and the story turned out to be one of the most memorable stories in the zine. The note of whimsy/fantasy was maintained very well, never disintegrating into the realm of "cute," and the little twist at the end was a delight. Romance, romance!
"The Dimensional Shift Affair" by Linda White will most likely be the "star" of the zine. A fascinating novella with an intriguingly complex plot about Napoleon taking an unwanted trip to an alternate universe — and meeting a battle-hardened a/u Illya-this one is a real page-turner. Only Linda White could write about three different universes and do each one well, with fascinating alternate histories for U.N.C.L.E./THRUSH and the US/USSR, I especially loved General Kuryakin — a tragic a/u Illya, but still Illya.
"The Das Vadanya Affair" by P. R. Zed explores the premise that Illya, not Napoleon, quit U.N.C.L.E. first — and gives an unusual, but completely believable, reason as to why. The buildup to the inevitable ending was unbearably suspenseful — and unbearably agonizing! Its sequel, "Lovers and Other Strangers," also by P. R. Zed, was a very satisfying resolution.
"Finders Keepers" by Taliesin, an action/adventure slash story, was one of my favorites. An absolutely enthralling plot that kept me "on the edge," and a slash scenario very true to the characters of Napoleon and Illya: subtle, but passionate and loving. The fast pace of the story, and the twists and turns of the plot, plus the dashes of humor, reminded me of a well-done episode.I would definitely call this zine a winner. 
Relative Secrecy 4 was published in 2000 and is 284 pages long.
Winner of a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine. Nominee for a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Zine). Includes: The Dangerous Man Affair by Linda White, winner of a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Story), nominee for a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Short Story); Pirates by Kate Drummond, winner of a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Short Story); Each Our Own Devil by Taliesin, nominee for a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Story), and a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Novella); Lonesome Road by Kate Drummond, nominee for a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Story), and a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Story); The Virus Affair by P.R. Zed, nominee for a 2001 Fan Quality Award (Best Story), and a 2001 STIFfie Award (Best Story); Magic by Theresa Kyle, nominee for a Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Aftermath by Deb, nominee for a STIFfie Award (Best Short Story); Love Is A Battlefield by Gilrain, nominee for a STIFfie Award (Best Novella).From the editorial:
Several of the stories in this zine are set in their authors' previously-created universes, though I don't think that any of them would suffer if read without prior knowledge of previous stories. P.R. Zed and Linda White have provided new installments in their established universes. Karin Porter has expanded on Napoleon and Ilya's relationship, begun in The Mediterranean Affair" in RS3. Deb's story "Aftermath" is a sequel to her "Discovery in an Alley" from RS3. And Kate Drummond's story "Lonesome Road" is sequel to "Lost and Found Affair," "Roman Holiday," "Here Be Dragons," Standing Stones," etc; only one of which ("Standing Stones") was printed In a Relative Secrecy zine. I plan on using that against her to get more stories for future zines, but don't tell Kate that.
Parts of ACT 1 of Gilrain's "Love is a Battlefield" originally appeared in Kuryakin Files #2 as "The Cabin Affair" although, as will be seen, she has greatly expanded on that beginning.Finally, my own story, "Each Our Own Devil" might most properly be called an alternate, or maybe parallel, universe. It hypothesizes a first meeting between Napoleon and Ilya which goes on to change all their interactions from that point forward, and cannot be fit (comfortably or otherwise) into the aired canon of the show. Those who are bothered by stories which step outsidecanon have been warned, though I hope not warned off.
- Pirates by Kate Drummond (1)
- The Private Negotiations Affair by Karin Porter (9)
- Teacher's Pet by Clare Chew (20)
- One More For The Road by Nyssa (40)
- Love Is A Battlefield by Gilrain (revised from The Kuryakin File #2 with a different title and name) (43)
- Family Ties by Bethany Kent (80)
- The Virus Affair by P.R. Zed (87)
- The Getting to the Bottom of It Affair by Karin Porter (102)
- Services Rendered by Nyssa (120)
- Magic by Theresa Kyle (126)
- Aftermath by Deb (195)
- Lonesome Road by Kate Drummond (201)
- Acts of Sabotage by Blondie (224)
- The Dangerous Man Affair by Linda White (part of the Third Level Universe) (241)
- Each Our Own Devil by Taliesin (249)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 4
[Teacher's Pet]: a great first-time story. Robert Vaughn's dislike of water comes across strongly in the episodes and this fic expands on that in brilliant style.
The story opens with Napoleon trying to overcome his fear of water, with Illya teaching him in the UNCLE pool. Whilst Napoleon's fear of water is somewhat central to the story, the plot takes a bit of a twist when Illya grudgingly tests a new Section 8 surveillance device on his partner. We get to see the great seducer Napoleon Solo at work.
This story gets Napoleon's demeanor exactly right, down to his flirting ways with the ladies. Top it all off with great humour and some interesting OC's from Section 8 also add a nice touch. Plus the sexual tension seems to build and build throughout the piece to a deliciously satisfying, well written (and extremely sexy) conclusion.AND finally it's a must-read for those with a water kink, and I'll say no more on that ;-) 
[One More for the Road]: In the U.N.C.L.E. organization, you must retire from fieldwork when you reach the age of 40. Because Napoleon and Illya are about a year apart in age (in some stories they're quite a bit more than that, but many writers use the actual age difference between the actors as a guide) this means that Napoleon will have to leave fieldwork for a 'desk job' (taking over for Mr. Waverly in his case) before Illya has to, thus breaking up their working partnership. Although the show ended when the two agents are still in their early thirties, there are a lot of stories which extrapolate how the two of them would deal with this issue. This is one of my favorites. It has an evocative tone that really makes me think of the 1960's, it's emotional without being sappy, and I can hear the characters voices clearly in the dialogue.
[The Virus Affair]: Illya suffers horribly as Dr. Egret infects him with a nasty virus. Napoleon must race against time to find Illya before he dies. The Girl from UNCLE characters, Mark Slate and April Dancer, also join in the hunt.
This is a fine example of a slash story that has cross-category appeal to gen fans as well. There is a 'realistic' edge to the narrative, with tense angst and suspense mixed with some graphic violence and action drama. The established relationship between Napoleon and Illya is warm and loving, but it forms the backdrop to the actual plot. If you were to take away the references to 'lover' and the brief kiss, the story would qualify as hurt/comfort gen.For fans who are tired of the focus on sex and relationship and want to see the guys working as agents, this is the story for you. Fans of GFU will also get a kick out of the strong supportive roles played by Mark and April. 
[Services Rendered]: I love this story and I have recc'd it repeatedly to both slash and gen fans. It's told from the POV of an original character, a young, unnamed male hooker who is picked up one night by a mysterious handsome man who offers the exorbitant fee of one hundred dollars for a quick rendezvous. The narrator is constantly surprised by his customer - by the man's strange mix of danger and gentleness, by his sure touch and ability to please sexually, but also by the gun he wears and the wicked scars that mark his body.
We're not surprised, of course. It's obviously Napoleon Solo, only one who's harder, darker, bitter and more melancholy. Something is not quite right here, and we, like the young hooker, are almost afraid to ask what's really going on. And we should be.This is an intense, haunting story that not only paints an incisive portrait of Solo (it's authentic right down to the most minor details), but also offers a realistically voiced and thoroughly convincing OC narrator as well. The story packs an emotional wallop that will stay with you long after it's over. It's worth reading for the dialogue alone. 
[Acts of Sabotage]: Sometimes I'm in the mood for something sweet, but not too sweet, and sort of funny. Not rolling on the floor funny but where reading it brings a smile to your face. This story fits the bill nicely. Illya is perhaps a bit more naíve than I tend to think of him, and Napoleon a bit more dense, but it works here. It's lighthearted without being sappy, and with just a tiny touch of angst. Just right. 
[Each Our Own Devil]: I usually don't care for this much angst, but this story definitely works for me. As the title implies, both men have their demons though neither is a thoughtless jerk, a situation I heartily dislike in a story. No matter what they may have done to one another, that they love each other is never in doubt...at least, not to the reader. Napoleon, especially, shines as he suffers for a wrong he can't seem to set right. I think my only complaint is that the story ended too soon for me. Though the outcome is not in doubt, I would have loved another scene or two. 
Relative Secrecy 5 was published in 2001 and is 296 pages long. Winner of a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine). Includes: The Changing Times Affair by Linda White, winner of a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Bermuda Landfall by Kate Drummond, nominee for a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); The Enemy Within Affair by P.R. Zed, nominee for a 2002 Fan Quality Award (Best Story).
- Why Not? by Shannon D 4 pages
- The Composer Affair by Emrys 17 pages
- Bermuda Landfall by Kate Drummond 50 pages
- The Wilding Affair by Kei 13 pages
- The Wilding Affair 2: Blood Reign by Kei 17 pages
- The Revelation Revolution Affair by Nickovetch 16 pages
- Shelter From the Storm by Sarah Lindsay 25 pages
- The Enemy Within Affair by P. R. Zed 49 pages
- Standard Procedure by Nyssa 17 pages
- Experiment in Vivo by Nickovetch 7 pages
- The Naked Truth by Blondie 17 pages
- The Changing Times Affair by Linda White 18 pages
- The 'Fine & Private Place' Affair by Taliesin 46 pages
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 5
[The Naked Truth]: Drugged sex is a major kink of mine. There is nothing more satisfying and funny than having character A half-crazed with lust for a bewildered and confused character B. If drugs can help things along, so much the better.
This time it's Napoleon who is given a new truth serum by Thrush: a fitting revenge for all the times he's been distracted by a pretty woman while on assignment. Illya comes to the rescue and finds himself with much more than he can handle...There is a lot to love about this fic. The breezy humour and sexual sizzle is effortless and a joy to read. Victor Marton only made a single appearance in canon (Foxes and Hounds Affair) but he is vividly brought to life in all of his smug oiliness. Illya's matter-of-fact attitude as he struggles with an ardent Napoleon is laugh-out-loud funny. Of course, there's a little angst the day after...but true love and truth serum win out in the end. 
[Standard Procedure]: It's a preposterous premise, but highly entertaining, and exceedingly...stimulating. I love her take on both of the guys in this one; IK takes charge wonderfully, and NS's bemused fascination is a thing of beauty. 
[The Fine and Private Place Affair]: I hate death happening unless it's to a bad guy, but this redeems itself quickly and has a great mystery tale at the heart of it, as well as some yayyummyhawt bits. Ghosts, lost treasure, Mr. Waverly being his beautiful half grumpy/half paternal self, and hey bonus! Two sequels. Give it a try, I think you will like it. 
Relative Secrecy 6 was published in 2002 and contains 262 pages. Winner of a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine) Includes: Let Nothing You Dismay by P.R. Zed, and The Ice Man by Linda White, co-winners of a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Cleansed by Deb, nominee for a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Snow Blind by Kate Drummond, nominee for a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); The Innuendo Affair by Graculus, nominee for a 2003 Fan Quality Award (Best Story).
- The Question About Megalomaniacs Affair by Tauna 3 pages
- . . . Interruptus by Emrys 8 pages
- A Dish Best Served Cold by Nickovetch 7 pages
- Transitions by Nataliya 9 pages
- The Innuendo Affair by Graculus 20 pages
- Help Me by Shannon 3 pages
- Jigsaw Puzzle by Emrys 36 pages
- Home Again by Nataliya 1 page
- The Sweet Dreams Affair by Nickovetch 7 pages
- Southern Comfort by Sarah Lindsay 10 pages
- The Caregiver by Nataliya 5 pages
- Choices by T. Gabrielle 16 pages
- Let Nothing You Dismay by P.R. Zed 15 pages
- Tables Turned by Shannon 3 pages
- The Kissing Bandit by Blondie 24 pages
- Visitor by Nataliya 1 page
- The Ice Man by Linda White 21 pages
- Cleansed by Deb 4 pages
- Snow Blind by Kate Drummond 27 pages
- Chiaroscuro by Katya Baturinsky 8 pages
- More Deaths Than One by Taliesin 34 pages
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 6
See reactions and reviews for Chiaroscuro .
[The Kissing Bandit]: This is just a fun, feel-good fic. Napoleon's a thief, alias the 'Kissing Bandit'. Hey, I'm maz and this is my first time in the drivers seat. I've decided to start with one of my favourite fics by one of my favourite authors. I know Blondie has been recced here in the past, and for bally good reason! The characters are spot on, the plots swift and delightful, and always utterly entertaining. While not as well known as her other stories, this is just so sparkling and fantastic. Unlike many first-meeting stories, which tend towards angst or hurt/comfort, this is fun, fast paced and delightful; it will have you squeeing like a fangirl and hoo boy, there's candy too! Plus, it starts off with a fancy dress ball. Oh yeah. 
Relative Secrecy 7 was published in 2003 and contains 218 pages. Winner of a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine - Honorable Mention) Includes: Prodigal's Return (mistakenly called "Prodigal's Son" on the Fan Q site) by P.R. Zed, winner of a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story) and a 2004 SCREWZ award (Best Story); The Two Birds With One Stone Affair by Graculus, winner of a 2004 SCREWZ award (Best Novella); The Dreams of Vampires Affair by Rari, nominee for a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); The Revenge is Mine Affair by Linda White, nominee for a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story); Tintinnabulation by Nickovetch, nominee for a 2004 Fan Quality Award (Best Story)
- Game by Deb 3 pages
- Long Enough by Emrys 15 pages
- Tattoo by Blondie 29 pages
- The Two Birds With One Stone Affair by Graculus 25 pages
- Small Distances by Lee the T 14 pages
- The Casual Conversation Affair Ceindreadh by Francis 2 pages
- How the Master Lost His Touch by Di T 10 pages
- The Dreams of Vampires Affair by Rari 42 page
- The Brains vs Beauty Affair by Tauna 6 pages
- Tintinnabulation by Nickovetch 26 pages
- Prodigal's Return by P.R. Zed 15 pages
- The Revenge Is Mine Affair by Linda White 11 pages
- Dreamed That Man Was I by Taliesin 20 pages
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 7
See reactions and reviews for Small Distances.
Relative Secrecy 8 was published in 2004 and contains 243 pages. Winner of a 2005 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine)Includes: Fear of Falling by Emrys, winner of a 2005 Fan Quality Award (Best Story). The cover art is by Rune.
- Vigil by Emrys (5 pages)
- Switching Sides by Nickovetch (42 pages)
- The Best Man by Blondie (21 pages)
- Research of an Unusual Sort by YumYumPM (7 pages)
- Daydream Believer by Bev W (11 pages)
- Burnout Ceindreadh ni b by Francis (25 pages)
- Body Touches Body by ChannelD (5 pages)
- The Mid-Life Crisis Affair by Graculus (14 pages)
- The Masked Ball Affair by Deb (4 pages)
- Courting Luck Tomlin by Dane (12 pages)
- Fear of Falling by Emrys (10 pages)
- The Midsummer's Eve Affair by P.R. Zed (12 pages)
- The Quantum Doorway Affair by Linda White (47 pages)
- Then Sin I by Taliesin (28 pages)
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 8
See reactions and reviews for Switching Sides.
Relative Secrecy 9 was published in 2005 and contains 256 pages. Winner of a 2006 Fan Quality Award (Best Zine) Includes: Los Vivos y Los Muertos by PR Zed, winner of a 2006 Fan Quality Award (Best Story)
- Call It What You Like by Linda Cornett 6 pages
- Complete Confidence by Nickovetch 18 pages
- Good Money by Ashleigh Anpilova 34 pages
- Shallow Pals by Elizabeth Urich 15 pages
- Defending the Light by Meris 11 pages
- A Beautiful Team by ChannelD 22 pages
- The Red Herring Affair by YumYumPM 15 pages
- Solo & Kuryakin: Real Actual-Factual Genealogies researched by Zoni 5 pages
- The Dark Shadows Affair by Emrys (Dark Shadows crossover) 34 pages
- The Inhumation Affair by Graculus 7 pages
- The Times They Are A-Changing by Susan Legge 2 pages
- The Romantic Gestures Affair by Astrid Keynes 15 pages
- Set and Match by Deb 4 pages
- Los Vivos y Los Muertos by P.R. Zed 15 pages (winner of a 2006 FanQ)
- The D.R.E.A.M. Machine Affair by Linda White 21 pages
- Long Lost by Taliesin 31 pages
Reactions and Reviews: Issue 9
[The Inhumation Affair]: Buried alive, Napoleon wonders how long it's going to take Illya to get there and rescue him. As he asks himself when he got so certain that his partner would always turn up in the nick of of time, he reflects on milestones in their relationship. This is a relatively short one-shot, clever, pacy and funny, which doesn't miss a beat in its sharp characterisation of Napoleon and Illya. The dialogue is great and Illya in particular is well drawn, although Napoleon doesn't suffer either. Read and enjoy! 
Relative Secrecy 10 was published in 2007 and contains 198 pages. The two-color cover art is by Rune.
- With Friends Like These by P.R. Zed (6 pages)
- Consequences by Emrys (13 pages)
- Reaching Out by ChannelD (10 pages)
- A Relative To Truth by Graculus (25 pages)
- Dutch U.N.C.L.E. by Nickovetch (10 pages)
- The Footloose and Fancy Free Affair by Sundance and Meredith (34 pages)
- Courting Disaster by YumYumPM (12 pages)
- A Dish Served Cold by Blondie (14 pages)
- Vanya by Emrys (17 pages)
- Ashes To Ashes by P.R. Zed (10 pages)
- The Ruby Butterfly Affair by Linda White (13 pages)
- The Devil In The Flesh by Taliesin (33 pages)
- from This is Katya
- from Lynn W., accessed March 7, 2014
- from This is Katya
- a 2005 comment at Crack Van
- from Z.I.N.E.S. v.2 n.2, the article "Theresa Kyle: A Retrospective"
- a 2004 comment at Crack Van
- a 2004 comment at Crack Van
- from Z.I.N.E.S. v.1 n.2
- a 2006 comment at Crack Van
- from Z.I.N.E.S. v.1 n.
- from Z.I.N.E.S. v.1 n.
- a 2009 comment at Crack Van
- a 2004 comment at Crack Van
- a 2004 comment at Crack Van
- a 2004 comment at Crack Van
- a 2005 comment at Crack Van
- a 2005 comment at Crack Van
- from a 2004 comment at Crack Van
- from This is Katya
- a 2010 comment at Crack Van
- a 2011 comment at Crack Van
- a 2006 comment at Crack Van