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The Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men by Jack Caldwell

The Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men by Jack Caldwell is set during a time in Europe when empires were being built and shifted, including the Napoleonic empire.  Colonel Brandon, Colonel Buford, and Colonel Fitzwilliam are the main players here, but Mr. Darcy’s connection to Fitzwilliam and Brandon and Fitzwilliam’s connections to Buford blend the picture seamlessly.  A Regency period novel that begins with the exile of Napoleon to Elba is the calm before the storm as the world teeters on the brink of war once again, which can only bring the three colonels into danger, alongside that love-to-hate rogue Wickham.  Caldwell can always be counted on for creating tension that leads to fast-paced action in an Austenesque novel, and he even sprinkles in the romance and common misunderstandings Austen’s characters have dealt with in the past.

“Buford!’ cried his companion.  ‘If you truly wish to be known as a respectable gentleman, there are other ways to go about it than imitating Fitzwilliam Darcy!’ Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam gave his comrade-in-arms a lopsided grin.

Buford’s eyes never left the crowd.  ‘I beg your pardon, but I am certainly not as stiff as Darcy!’

Fitzwilliam laughed.  ‘Oh, Buford, you make a fireplace poker look flexible!'” (Page 45 ARC)

Buford is a dashing colonel who has won the affections of Caroline Bingley, despite his rakish reputation among the ton.  Buford softens Caroline’s edges, making her blush as she gains confidence slowly after being humiliated, but can he cause her to be ultimately vulnerable and fall in love and can she redeem him as he hopes to be saved?  These are just some of the questions Caldwell tackles in his novel.  Meanwhile, happily married Darcy and Colonel Brandon are enjoying their wives and their children when news of possible war hits, causing the men to worry about their families and the future of England.

Colonel Fitzwilliam’s troubles begin when he must step into the role of Rosings trustee that Darcy was forced to vacate when he married Lizzy against Lady Catherine’s wishes.  He butts heads with Lady Catherine, is unsure of how much authority he has to make changes to save the estate, and finds himself hopelessly in love with someone far above his station.  Caldwell stays true to Austen’s original characters here, but modifies them in ways that help them evolve in the new story lines he has created for them.  They are fresh and fun, and fully dramatic, with plenty of intrigue and backstabbing to go around on the international stage.

The Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men by Jack Caldwell blends not only Austen’s characters from Pride & Prejudice and Sense & Sensibility, but also adds historical figures and new characters to the mix.  Readers will enjoy revisiting some of their favorite characters, seeing new sides of old characters, and being introduced to new, engaging characters.  Overall, a unique novel that brings some action to the upper echelons of society.

Also by Jack Caldwell:

Pemberley Ranch