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 ever 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 into the King’s service—this time, as a spy for the British in the Revolutionary War.
Fierce, cunning, charming, and the blood brother of a Mohawk leader, Jack is the perfect scout to recruit the Iroquois tribes and thus swing the war in the favor of the British. But he discovers that there are even deadlier opponents at work than the colonial rebels he seeks to squash: a secret society that has infiltrated the red ranks in pursuit of its own sinister purposes…with Jack as its first target.
From the streets of London to the bloody battlefields of Saratoga, from forest fights on the Hudson to the seedy corners of wintery Philadelphia, Jack Absolute marks the exhilarating beginnings of an epic historical series and a character you won’t soon forget. (taken from the back of the arc)
Title: Jack Absolute, Author: C.C. Humphries, ISBN: 978-1-4022-8070-2, Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, Format: Hardcover $24.99, Release Date: May 2013, How I Read It: Trade Paperback ARC from Publishers, Rating: 4 Crowns
Having previously read several novels by C.C. Humphries, I knew that I was in for a treat when Jack Absolute arrived in the post.
The book opens with a duel between Jack and a character of dubious intent. The duel—or the more so the outcome of the duel—is the catalyst that forces Jack back into the service of the Crown, this time acting as a spy during America’s revolutionary war. While trying to persuade the Iroquois to side with Britain, Jack finds himself the target of a secret society.
Having played Jack Absolute on stage, C.C. Humphries delivers the story of Jack Absolute in a way that only he can and with the ability to evoke a wide range of emotions whilst delivering a twist in the plot I never saw coming. C.C. Humphries truly brought the character of Jack Absolute to life, and as a reader, I thoroughly enjoy it when writers have the ability to do that. And the connection between author and subject was prevalent throughout the book adding a richness to the novel.
I love a good novel of espionage, and Jack Absolute has a sort of a colonial James Bond feel to it. The transition from war veteran to spy was seamless and believable. While the book opened with a bang, I found that the plot waxed and waned. Occasionally I found myself yawning when it came to all the war talk, although I know that it was necessary to include the military-type talk, I still found it a bit boring. Yet the mystery and intrigue that was woven in held my attention.
I must admit that I have never been overly fond of novels that feature America’s Revolutionary War as a backdrop, although C.C. Humphries’ interpretation of Jack Absolute captivated me. I cannot wait to read more from this series.
With secret societies, a daring duel, war, and romance Jack Absolute possesses the qualities needed to create a delightful novel of historical fiction. Jack Absolute will please fans of historical fiction as well as fans of the author.
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