Historical adventures are some of my abso-fav stories to read so when I saw the blurb on this book, I just had to read it. I love it when a character is put in tight spots and makes me wonder how they’re going to get out of them and I also enjoy a bit of romance and intrigue to make things interesting. This book had all that and then some. Its set during the early period of the American Colonial War for Independence and told from the perspective of a dashing British officer.
The story begins in a rush with Jack Absolute, the former- well many things, in a speck of trouble over a woman or so he thought at first when he’s forced to fight a duel over her. In actuality, it is a well scripted piece of drama and intrigue that was written by no playwright. For the moment General Burgoyne seeks to enlist him for a campaign against the rebels in America, he has a target on his back by those who would prevent his involvement and success. Unfortunately, Jack can’t say no to the General’s request for his aid once the general gets him out of a spot of difficulty. All is not lost though because he soon discovers that the beautiful, intelligent Louisa who caught his eye once before travels in the general’s entourage.
Jack and his blood brother, the Mohawk Ate’, soon find themselves on a mission to help augment the British troops coming south out of Canada to meet the rebels in New York. There is a spy and saboteur in the British camp that wrecks havoc on the campaign trail and is indirectly responsible for the British peril at Saratoga. Jack knows the identity of one and they constantly dual in the shadows, but the identity of the second person eludes him. Jack’s shadowy efforts are thwarted each time as well leading him from one near-death experience after anther. With failure eminent, Jack is commissioned to see a message through the enemy lines to the other British General, Howe for reinforcements and Louisa is to accompany him. He wonders if he can keep Louisa safe, deliver his message and discover the identity of the second spy in time.
The pace of this story just didn’t seem to let up which was great because the intriguing plot demanded it. I enjoyed the fact that though the story is set in a historical time period and is rich in detail, social norms, and characters of the time, it sticks to a story line and lets all that come out naturally. The authentic feel of being with an army on the campaign trail, the inclusion of native allies, the feeling of being in the middle of war, the connections and relationships between the characters was well told through actions and dialogue. Though the main character, Jack Absolute, is the story teller, there is refreshingly little internal monologue of the sort that pulls one out of the story. He was a wonderful character and was the strength of the story, but the surrounding characters were no slouches. His friend Ate’, General Burgoyne, Louisa his love interest, and even the brief scenes with the captured Scotsman made these favorites with me too. The only thing that bothered me a bit was the abruptness of the ending. I didn’t know where the story was going to go, but it felt sudden after what had just transpired before it. It either leads to a continuation of the story later or the reader is meant to use their imagination.
All in all, it was a fantastic read that I would recommend to those who enjoy colorful historical adventure stories with a dash of romance and a whole lot of intrigue.
Reviewed by Sophia Rose
Chris (C.C.) Humphreys is an actor, playwright, fight choreographer and novelist.
Humphreys was born in Toronto, lived until he was seven in Los Angeles, then grew up in the UK.
All four grandparents were actors, his Norwegian grandfather, Karl Holter, also being a successful writer. His grandfather, Cecil Humphreys, was in movies such as Olivier’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, while his father Peter Humphreys guested on several TV shows in the early 60’s.
It was inevitable that Humphreys would follow the bloodline. He has acted all over the world and appeared on stages ranging from London’s West End to Hollywood’s Twentieth Century Fox. Favorite roles have included Hamlet, Caleb the Gladiator in NBC’s Biblical-Roman epic mini-series, ‘AD – Anno Domini’, and Jack Absolute in Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’.
As C.C. Humphreys, Chris has written six historical fiction novels. The first, ‘The French Executioner’ told the tale of the man who killed Anne Boleyn and was runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers 2002. Its sequel, ‘Blood Ties’, was a bestseller in Canada. Having played Jack Absolute, he stole the character and has written three books on this ‘007 of the 1770’s’ – ‘Jack Absolute’, ‘The Blooding of Jack Absolute’ and ‘Absolute Honour’– short listed for the 2007 Evergreen Prize by the Ontario Library Association. All have been published in the UK, Canada, and the U.S., and translated into Russian, Italian, German, Greek and Czech.
As Chris Humphreys he has written a trilogy for Young Adults ‘The Runestone Saga’. A heady brew of Norse myth, runic magic, time travel and horror, the first book in the series ‘The Fetch’ was published in North America in July 2006, with the sequel, ‘Vendetta’ in August 2007 and the conclusion, ‘Possession’, in August 2008. They are also published in Russia, Greece, Turkey and Indonesia. His new YA novel ‘The Hunt of the Unicorn’ is due out in March 2011(Knopf).
His last adult novel was Vlad: The Last Confession, which was a bestseller in Canada, and has been translated in Germany, Spain, Russia, Poland, Czech Republic, Serbia, Turkey and Brazil. In May 2011, Sourcebooks published Vlad in the U.S.
His new adult novel A Place Called Armageddon about the fall of Constantinople 1453, will be released in the U.S. in September 2012 (Sourcebooks).
Chris lives on Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, with his wife and young son.
What’s being said about Jack Absolute?
An absolute delight! Swashbuckling adventure, eighteenth-century wit, hugely entertaining plots, and one of the most appealing military gentlemen ever to wear a sword.”
–Diana Gabaldon – Author of the Outlander and Lord John Grey series
“The author’s affectionate, theatrical tale sets up his dashing hero and faithful sidekick for a long series. Much derring-do, told with panache.” – Kirkus
“Humphreys combines historical detail, a larger-than-life hero, clever plotting and fast pacing to craft a thoroughly entertaining historical adventure.”-Publishers Weekly
“Although full of intrigue and accurate historical detail, the novel is ultimately a straightforward adventure story that sends readers racing through the pages of Absolute’s improbable but exciting captures, escapes, and fight scenes.” – School Library Journal
“A great introduction to what will surely become a long-lasting series.” – Library Journal
What do you get when you take the roguish leading man in Richard Sheridan’s comedy The Rivals and throw in a stirring of Bond, a dash of Hawkeye, a pinch of Aubrey?
Jack Absolute: A Novel (ISBN: 9781402280702; MAY 2013; $24.99 U.S.; Hardcover; Fiction)– reimagined as the title character in C.C. Humphreys’ first novel in a three-book series set during the American Revolution.
Humphreys has long had a love affair with the character of Jack Absolute. The actor played the dashing leading man in a British tour of The Rivals early in his career, and decided to bring him from the stage to the page when he began writing novels.
A bit about the book…It’s 1777 when Captain Jack Absolute becomes a sensation throughout London. This news comes as a shock to the real Jack Absolute when he arrives in England after four months at sea. But there’s little time for outrage before he finds himself dueling for his life. Right when he thinks he’s finally won, he is forced to flee London by the quickest means possible, becoming a spy in the American Revolution.
From the streets of London, to the pivotal battle of Saratoga, to a hunt for a double agent in Philadelphia, Jack Absolute marks the exhilarating beginning of an epic historical series and a character you won’t soon forget.
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