Of Tethered Goats and Tigers

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Title: Of Tethered Goats and Tigers
Publisher: Blue Jay Press
Author(s): Tarot
Cover Artist(s):
Date(s): 1984
Medium: print zine, fanfic
Fandom: Professionals
Language: English
External Links: online here.
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Of Tethered Goats and Tigers is a 115-page slash Professionals novel by Tarot. It was later released to the paper circuit library.

From the Blue Jay Press on the last page: "This story is published on the understanding that it is for private circulation only and should not be reproduced, distributed or circulated without the express permission of the author. This copy is number 20 [1] in a limited edition of 40. It is not for sale and remains the property of the author. If no longer required, please return to source."

The story appears on many rec lists,[2] including The 1985 Hatstand Express Top Ten Lists, and sometimes appears on fan's Desert Island lists.[3] And it was among the first "favorite Pros novels" mentioned on the Virgule-L mailing list when it launched in October 1992, along with Injured Innocents, Camera Shy, Rediscovered in a Graveyard and Bear Necessity.[4]


In 2000, two fans Cassie Ingaben and Dagger compiled an index of many of the circuit stories. They also wrote brief summaries:

  • Dagger: To catch a spy who specializes in blackmail, Cowley sets himself up with Doyle's help. But, to make this work, no one can know what's really going on, not even Bodie.
  • Cassie: In order to trap an important Russian agent, C sets himself up for blackmail by pretending to be D's lover. The op is so secret D cannot tell even B. So, when rumors start, and B checks, he believes the pretense. So B goes to confront D, but Things Get Out of Hand and they have very hot sex. After a rocky start (B is jealous and possessive, D waits too long before telling him of the setup) all is well: B helps to net the Russian, B's own case is solved (very good secondary plot involving an unsavoury robber and thug); things between them are so good and the relationship important, so they decide to tell C to avoid security problems.
  • Another reviewer's summary: "Cowley and Doyle pretend to be lovers to catch a notorious Russian spy - but Bodie is kept out of the loop. When Bodie discovers who Doyle's secret lover is, his reaction takes Doyle completely by surprise."[5]

Reactions and Reviews

One of the first [Pros] stories I read, so it's special to me in that respect... but it's also damn good. Same comments as apply to Masquerade though I think this one is better plotted.[6]
... it's a big meaty enjoyable read without much of the humour of Masquerade, but just as well written.[7]
If you're looking for a first time story nestled beautifully within a case, you can scarcely do better than this classic. Doyle is asked to go undercover as another man's lover. No big deal, right? It is when the "other man" is George Cowley, and Ray is unable to tell his partner what is really going on. What I like best about this story is not the realization on Bodie's part of his true feelings towards Doyle, or even the fireworks that ensue. What I found truly moving was how loyal Bodie was to Ray, when others began to call into question Doyle's conduct, how sure he was that his partner would never jeopardize his career or his integrity for a fling with the boss. A lovely, satisfying read.[8]
What can I say? Overall it's one of the best—a good, straight (not in the sexual sense) story with a good plot, good characterisation, etc.[9]
...stuck strictly to the aired characters for the most part. I'm a tad uncomfortable with Doyle being so passive and bewildered for so much of the yarn but who argues with a master? [10]
One of the first stories I read, so it's special to me in that respect...but it is also damn good. Same comments as apply to Masquerade, although I think this one is better plotted.[11]
"Tethered Goats and Tigers" ...is quite simply brilliant in writing, plot, characterisation and anything else Important In a story.[12]
A wonderful read with Doyle being set up by Cowley to appear as his lover cum successor to entrap a Russian spy. The rest of CI5, including Bodie, know nothing of the plot and it is Bodie's reaction when he eventually discovers what is 'going on' that makes for such an interesting and fascinating story.[13]
This is one of the best novels in Pros. It's a long, well-plotted case story that could have happened in canon, with Cowley triple-thinking rings around everyone, and Bodie and Doyle partners to the core even when they're not working side by side. Just as in canon, their work for CI5 is their priority -- their personal relationship is an organic part of that. Watching it build here in the context of the case is delightful, with on-target reactions from them both during the slow build as well as after. This one's a classic for good reason.[14]
I needed to include this classic. It is so right in so many ways I could devote an entire day's listing to it alone. Doyle is chosen to pose as Cowley's lover on an op. He is told everything must be kept strictly confidential. No one must know the truth, not even Bodie. I think what I appreciated as much as anything was how steadfastly and how movingly Bodie defended Doyle from what others were insinuating. For the longest time, he is sure that all the whispers and rumors about his partners are wrong. But when he sees "the truth" with his own eyes, he goes to confront Ray. And everything changes. This should be required reading for anyone new to the fandom. It's a textbook example of all that's right with Pros fic.[15]
Bodie is certainly the sufferer here, and his baffled fury is so well done. In Masquerade we see most of the playing to the camera from Doyle's POV. Here we see it through Bodie, the outsider. The role does not seem to bother Doyle all that much; none of the other CI5 people have the nerve to talk to him about it. He really seems to rather enjoy it, at least the perks and opportunities. It's a nice writerly piece too, with all the various plot points coming togeter and illustrating various aspects of the theme.[16]
This is one of my favorite Pros stories. I read it early in my Pros obsession, and it has held up through all these years. It features two separate case stories with fully developed plots, and a complex, shifting relationship between the lads that is grounded in trust. But when that trust is tested, due to one of the cases, there is a gradual buildup of tension that grips the reader just as much as it grips the lads. And when it explodes, in a glorious confrontation between Bodie and Doyle, well, it is for me one of the most satisfying first time stories. *g* The basic set up is that Cowley asks Doyle to work with him in a covert op to trap a blackmailing Soviet agent who has caused great damage to British and American security forces. Doyle is to pretend to be Cowley's lover--keeping the op secret from everyone. The secrecy is crucial as that will draw the Russian in, yet Cowley sets the stage for the trap by appearing to be "grooming" Doyle as his successor and favorite--and feeding the CI5 rumor mill. Bodie, who is involved in his own op, at first doesn't notice anything "wrong" except that Doyle is less available, and gets pulled away from his proper partner duties. Gradually, however, the unthinkable dawns, and Bodie's reaction to that is...absolutely splendid.[17]
I found "Of Tethered Goats and Tigers" so compelling I took it around the world with me.[18]
There's great emotional and sexual intensity expressed in this story - I love it.[19]


  1. "20" is handwritten.
  2. Ancasta's Corner; msmoat's recommendation on crack van, dated August 2, 1011.
  3. Close Quarters Desert Island Episode/Zine/Fic] dated July 18, 2009; reference link.
  4. Sandy Hereld's email "My god, it's working..." dated October 21, 1992, quoted with permission.
  5. Madrigal's FanFiction Recs.
  6. In The Hatstand Express #6 from a fan listing what was supposed to be her top 10 Pros stories; the list turned out to be 50 stories long
  7. in 1985, from a fan who listed it as her number three out of ten favorite Pros story, in The Hatstand Express #6
  8. from Ten Pros Stories I'd Suggest Any Newbie Begin With
  9. from The Hatstand Express #7
  10. from The Hatstand Express #7
  11. review in The Hatstand Express #6 (1985)
  12. review in The Hatstand Express #6 (1985)
  13. alicambs Professional Recs, Archived version
  14. Arduinn's recs
  15. from Ancasta's Corner posted April 2, 2007, accessed March 24, 2012
  16. fan commenting on the story on the Virgule-L mailing list in 1993, quoted anonymously with permission
  17. by msmoat, at Crack Van, posted August 2, 2011, accessed May 21, 2013
  18. anonymous comment left in fail-fandomanon on November 29th, 2013
  19. Madrigal's FanFiction Recs