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Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys

Source: Borrowed ARC from Diary of an Eccentric
Paperback, 320 pages
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Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys is a swashbuckling 007 tricked into rejoining the King’s military and the cause against the rebels (a.k.a. Colonials/Americans), to which he drags his Mohawk brother Ate.  Humphreys, who played Jack Absolute on stage before writing this novel, clearly has a love of cheeky dialogue and plot twists because the prose is filled with it.  Absolute wants to restore his family fortune and good name, but he’s soon embroiled in a spy’s game and turned around by pretty faces and dark blackguards.  Aboard the ship to America, he’s tasked with decoding messages by General Burgoyne and to observe his fellow shipmates to sniff out the traitor in their midst.

“He glanced around the circle of excited faces that turned to him.  No women, at least.  Not even the cause of this whole affair, that little minx, Elizabeth Farren.  The hour was too close to the lighting of the footlights at Drury Lane and her show must go on.  Yet how she would have loved playing this scene.” (page 3 ARC)

“And the strange new flag that floated over the ramparts–unseen til that day, concocted of stars and stripes obviously ripped from spare cloaks and petticoats–would soon be replaced by the Union Standard of Great Britain.” (page 67 ARC)

The novel gives readers a detailed glimpse into American Revolution battles — Saratoga and Stanwix –with Americans pulled between loyalty to the Crown and the desire for freedom.  At the same time, Absolute is torn between his duty to the Crown and his desire to protect his adopted brethren the Iroquois.  Humphreys mixes it up with Native Americans loyal to both England and Rebels, as well as those Native Americans that were schooled in Christianity and took on English names.  Like the U.S. Civil War, there is brother and cousin fighting against other family members, and friends and neighbors fighting each other.

The plot folds in on itself several times before it lengthens out to uncover some hidden mysteries, and while the big reveal is a bit predictable, the decision Absolute must make is emotional and heartbreaking.  It forces him to choose between duty and freedom and love and culpability.  In some ways, the novel reads more like a script for a movie or play, but the fast-paced nature of the plot makes for a fast and entertaining read.  Jack Absolute by C.C. Humphreys will entertain readers, while giving them an inside look into the tensions of battle, loyalty, and revolution.

About the Author:

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys was born in Toronto and grew up in the UK. All four grandparents were actors and since his father was an actor as well, it was inevitable he 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’, Clive Parnell in ‘Coronation Street’, and Jack Absolute in Sheridan’s ‘The Rivals’.  Chris has written eight historical novels. The first, The French Executioner told the tale of the man who killed Anne Boleyn, was runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers 2002, and has been optioned for the screen.

This is my 2nd book for the American Revolution Reading Challenge 2013

  • Glad you enjoyed this one! I thought it was a lot of fun for a war novel. Jack Absolute is a fantastic character, isn’t he?

  • I don’t seem to enjoy historical fiction set before the 20th century so this probably isn’t for me.

    • I don’t usually either, but this one was very gripping. I enjoyed this one from beginning to end.