by C.C. Humphreys
by C.C. Humphreys
- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (May 7, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 140228070X
- ISBN-13: 978-1402280702
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4.5 of 5.0
Release date: May 7, 2013
Introducing the unforgettable...Jack Absolute.
The year is 1777. As the war for American independence rages across the sea, London is swept off its feet by Jack Absolute, the dashing rogue in Richard Sheridan's comedy The Rivals. That is, until the real Jack Absolute, former captain of the 16th Light Dragoons, returns after years abroad to discover this slander of his reputation.
Before he can even protest, he is embroiled in a duel over an alluring actress of questionable repute, and his only escape is the one he most dreads: to be pressed again into the King's service—this time, as a spy for the British in the Revolutionary War.
From the streets of London to the bloody battlefields of Saratoga, from the forest fights to the Hudson to the seedy corners of wintry Philadelphia, Jack Absolute marks the exhilarating beginning of an epic historical series and a character you won't soon forget.
"The finest series of historical novels since Patrick O'Brian."—Good Book Guide UK
"An absolute delight! Swashbuckling adventure, eighteenth-century wit, hugely entertaining plots, and one of the most appealing military gentleman every to wear a sword."—Diana Gabaldon, author of the Outlander and the Lord John Grey series.
"If you like the American Revolution seen from a completely unexpected point of view, plus romance laced with violence and imminent death, this is your kind of book."—Thomas Fleming, author of Washington's Secret War: The Hidden History of Valley Forge.
Jack has returned to England to discover that his past exploits–on the field of battle, as a duelist and as a notorious lover–have been set to theatrical stage. Jack has other plans and doesn’t want to take up his commission again even at the request of his previous commanding officer, General Burgoyne. But circumstances embroil Jack in a duel and force him to take flight with the General. The General wants Jack to rally Native support and spy for the British. They head to Canada to fight the American Rebels in New York.
During the ship voyage Jack becomes friends with a beautiful, spirited young woman, Louisa. Although she is an American, her family are British supporters. Jack hopes to deepen their relationship but they must part ways when the ship docks.
Jack and the General suspect a German Officer, Count von Schlaben, to be a spy promoting take over in the Americas by an organization known as the Illuminati. It was the Count who encouraged the duel that threatened Jack’s life in London and that is not the last time the Count will try to kill him. The General doesn’t want to kill Von Schlaben until they learn who his connections are as it becomes clear there is a second traitor in their midst.
Jack and Ate, his Iroquois ‘brother’, follow the General’s orders to go inland to gather Indian forces and report to Colonel St. Leger. The plan anticipates a quick battle defeating the Rebels at Fort Stanwix after which they will push east to bring support to General Burgoyne’s forces. Unfortunately the siege on the Fort becomes a debacle under a drunken commander who ignores Jack’s advise and instead takes the twisted advise of Von Schlaben that causes an uprising among the Natives.
Repeatedly Jack faces dangers in battle as well as private attacks, including a rattle snake delivered by Von Schlaben. Jack is saved from death several times and finally meets up with the General where he runs into Louisa again. The fighting is fierce and Jack is sent as a messenger to seek news of reinforcements. Louisa insists on going to the city and they grow closer as they travel together through the forests. They become separated by Rebel troops and Jack is imprisoned as a spy. He manages a creative escape and returns to the General for more battles and injuries. When the British troops are forced to a conditional retreat Jack is directed to report the situation to General Howe in Philadelphia and to find and eliminate the traitor.
Jack is surprised but delighted to discover Louisa in town but she is cool towards him and busy with friends, including General Howe’s engaging intelligence officer. Jack believes he has discovered the spy and his suspicions are reinforced when Von Schlaben appears again bringing another attempt on his life. At the last minute there is another treacherous twist of events placing Jack in a precarious position.
Mr. Humphreys' writing is richly descriptive and the story is presented with a wonderfully theatrical flare. The action and intrigue are enhanced by the backdrop of historical detail. Although my sentiments are with the American Rebels, I was completely wrapped up in Jack’s dilemma and trials. If you like swashbuckling action or The Last of the Mohicans I think you would enjoy this book.
Examples of the rich descriptions:
A partial description of the General:
Though his hair was as white as the snow on the ground outside, it was a drift not a scattering. Black sideburns emerged from its banks like curled highlights for the strong, straight jaw; while equally dark, full eyebrows sheltered and set off the deep-set, gray eyes. Page 7.
A description of the setting and tension:
Beneath the canopy of leaf, the air was thick with insects and the promise of rain. Heads throbbed from the pressure, the yearning for relief. ... Jack felt it like a bearskin robe pressing down, him a fever victim, too weak to throw it aside. ...Above, the clouds loured, so low they seemed tethered to the crowns of beech and elm by strings of smoke. Page 89.
I received this book for review from Sourcebooks.
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