Jack Absolute

Jack Absolute

4.1 10
by C.C. Humphreys
     
 

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A rousing new historical adventure series starring the "007 of the 1770s"—Jack Absolute

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

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Overview

A rousing new historical adventure series starring the "007 of the 1770s"—Jack Absolute

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, this novel marks the exhilarating beginning of an epic historical series and a character you won't soon forget.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a rollicking historical fiction with a larger than life figure. " - Booksie's Blog

"C.C. Humphreys' tale is unique not only in its blend of history, romance and adventure, but also because it further fictionalizes (in a brilliant manner) an already fictional character: Jack Absolute from Richard Sheridan's 1775 play titled "The Rivals"...Not only is it heartwarming in the dash of romance it contains, but it's also hysterically funny. What a unique combo!" - Romance Junkies

"Humphreys' acting background brings drama to life in Jack's legendary tale." - Booklist

"With misadventures, danger, cynicism, a bit of wit,a touch of humor,spies,war,and a bit of romance this title seems to be a great series in the making. " - My Book Addiction Reviews

"Jack Absolute is one of those characters that sticks with you; he is smart, he always seems to find a way out of the worst situations and he has a faithful sidekick. So one could say the book was a bit formulaic but Mr. Humphrey's writing is full of wit and he brings a paper man to full blown life. " - Broken Teepee

"If you like historical fiction set during the American Revolution, this one delivers a good story with unforgettable characters and an ending that left me reeling." - Library of Clean Reads

"Humphreys is an actor and he brings his understanding of acting and writing into the story, giving us a different perspective on what attracts people to the craft as well as providing the story with an unexpected insight." - Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My!

"Jack Absolute is an interesting story. It's a historical, sure, but there are so many fantastic aspects of the book that it almost reads like a James Bond story. There are plenty of details, twists and turns to draw the reader in." - Long and Short Reviews

"I think historical fiction and historical military fiction buffs will enjoy this book immensely, but so, too, will anyone looking for an excellent story with a charming, quick-witted lead character who manages to get out of some pretty tough spots! " - A TiffyFit's Reading Corner

"Imagine if Dan Brown were to write historical fiction starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes. Got that? Now throw in a heavy dose of Shakespeare and theatre humor and you have this novel. " - Tara's Book Blog

"Readers who love an exciting and daring story, with swashbuckling action and a main character that that is both lover and rogue will find this book irresistible. Humphreys writes with a flair for the dramatic and a great sense of adventure. " - Deb's Book Bag

"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." - Delighted Reader

"In addition to just being flat out fun, I loved this novel for the real personality Humphreys imbued it with. Humphreys love for the theater comes through the characters...I enjoyed the mix of conspiracy with military espionage and adventure. " - Unabridged Chick

"Jack Absolute is an expertly paced novel that has so much to offer in terms of action, setting, and historical detail...Humphreys does a brilliant job making the characters, both historical and fictional, come to life. " - Diary of an Eccentric

"This book is perfect for when you want your historical fiction action packed. I really enjoyed the book once it moved to the new world where Absolute begins to work his spying magic; that part definitely made me keep reading! " - A Bookish Affair

"The incredibly, marvelously immersive work of historical fiction that is Jack Absolute kept me flipping pages long past bedtime. The author does a fantastic job capturing the sights and sounds of Colonial America, and of 18th century life. I felt I was there and didn't want to leave.
The depth of the portrait of life in the British military at this time period was reminiscent of Diana Gabaldon's Lord John Grey series. " - Book Lovers Inc

"Jack Absolute, by C.C. Humphreys, is historical fiction at its best. High stakes, high action, a dash of romance, all centered around Britain's final end-run to suppress the American Revolution. " - Luxury Reading

"Jack Absolute takes the reader on an adventure through the rebellion with the titular character at the helm — the thing is...he's a spy in the British army...There was never a dull moment here, right from the first pages. It is certainly an adventure novel and the pages just keep turning. " - The Maiden's Court

"Jack Absolute is a wholly entertaining romp through the Revolutionary War, at least through the pivotal and bloody Battle of Saratoga. There's a nice balance between swashbuckling adventure (including duels, battles, swordplay, quick escapes, a nasty snake bite and an amorous liaison or two) and historical spy story (complete with stolen missives and lost code breakers, double agents and a secret society of Illuminati with their own hidden agenda) with an entirely different perspective on the War." - A Work in Progress

"With battles, history, espionage, and even a touch of romance, Jack Absolute is a charming historical novel with a witty, charming main character." - Minding Spot

"Jack Absolute, by C.C. Humphreys, is historical fiction at its best. High stakes, high action, a dash of romance, all centered around Britain's final end-run to suppress the American Revolution... I'd compare it to the novels of Patrick O'Brian or C.S. Forester. I'm looking forward to the continuation of this series. What a fun read!" - Luxury Reading

"Jack Absolute was a fun, rollicking, adventurous good time... C.C. Humphreys' writing is well-crafted and researched... I look forward to spending more time with Captain Jack, and expect the upcoming titles to be enjoyable as well." - The Calico Critic

"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...will entertain readers, while giving them an inside look into the tensions of battle, loyalty, and revolution." - Savvy Verse & Wit

"I was particularly fond of the fact that the author fictionalized genuine historical characters and placed them in the right place at the right time." - Bookfoolery

Highly recommended to all bookworms that love history, adventure, romance, and plenty of comedy.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402280702
Publisher:
Sourcebooks
Publication date:
05/07/2013
Series:
Jack Absolute Series
Pages:
288
Sales rank:
390,737
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Chris (C.C.) Humphreys is an actor, playwright, fight choreographer and novelist. He has written nine historical fiction novels including The French Executioner, runner up for the CWA Steel Dagger for Thrillers; Vlad — The Last Confession, the epic novel of the real Dracula; and A Place Called Armageddon. His latest YA novel is The Hunt of the Unicorn. His work has been translated into thirteen languages. Find out more about him on his website: http://cchumphreys.com

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

An Affair of Honor

The snow lay deep over Hounslow Heath and the light was failing fast. They were already late, a double annoyance to Jack Absolute; not only was it considered ungentlemanly to keep people waiting for such an affair, but it also meant that by the time the ground had been reached, the Seconds introduced, the area marked out, and the formalities dealt with as to wills and burials, it would be too dark for pistols. It would have to be swords; and by the look of him, his opponent was in fighting trim. If he wasn't twenty years younger than Jack he wasn't far off and, as a serving cavalry officer, would be fencing daily; while it was five years at the least since Jack had fought in such a manner. With a variety of other weapons, to be sure. But a tomahawk or a Mysore punch dagger had a very different feel to them than the delicate touch required for the small sword. Of course, one could only be killed with the point; it had no cutting edge. But the point, as Jack knew all too well, was all that was required.

As his feet slipped yet again on the icy boot prints of those who had preceded him, Jack cursed. How large will the damned crowd be? The affair could hardly have been announced more publicly, and many would choose to attend such a fashionable fight. Money would already have been staked. He wondered at the odds. Like an older racehorse, Jack had form. He had "killed his man"-in fact, in the plural, several more than these gentlemen of London could know about. But his opponent was certainly younger, probably stronger, and above all, inflamed with the passion of wronged ardor. He fought for a cause. For love.

And Jack? Jack fought only because he'd been too stupid to avoid the challenge.

He sniffed. To top it all, he suspected he was getting a cold. He wanted to be warm in the snug at King's Coffee House, a pot of mulled ale in his hand. Not slip-sliding his way across a frozen common to maiming or a possible death.

"Is it five or six duels you have fought, Daganoweda?"

Jack, whose eyes had been fixed on the placing of his own feet, now glanced at the speaker's. Their nakedness seemed like vanity, especially as Jack knew his companion had a fine pair of fleece-lined boots back in their rooms in St. Giles. However, Até would never pass up such an opportunity to display the superior toughness of the Iroquois Indian. The rest of him would probably have been naked too had Jack not warned him that ladies might attend. The concession had been fawn-skin leggings, beaded and tasseled, and a Chinese silk vest that scarcely concealed his huge chest or obscured the tattoos wreathed around his muscles. Midnight-black hair fell in waves to his almost bare shoulders. Just looking at him made Jack shiver all the more, and he pulled his cloak even tighter around him.

"Six duels, Atédawenete. As I am sure you well remember. Including the one against you."

"Oh," Até turned to him, his brown eyes afire, "you count a fight against a ‘savage,' do you? I am honored."

The Indian made the slightest of bows. Iroquois was a language made for irony. Jack had had too much cognac the night before-the first error in an evening of them-and a duel of wits was one conflict he could live without today. So he reverted to English.

"What is it, Até? Homesick again?"

"I was thinking, brother, that if this young brave kills you-as is very likely since he is half your age and looks twice as vigorous-how then will I buy passage to return to my home across the water, which you have kept me from these eleven years?"

"Don't concern yourself with that, brother. Our friend here will give you the money. It's the least he can do. He owes me after all, don't you, Sherry?"

This last was addressed over his shoulder to the gentleman acting as his First-Second, as the hierarchy of duels had it. The dark-haired young man was struggling to keep pace with his taller companions, his face alternately green and the palest of yellows. The previous evening, Richard Brinsley Sheridan had drunk even more cognac than Jack.

"Ah, money, Jack, yes. Always a wee bit of a problem there." Though he had left Ireland as a boy, a slight native brogue still crept in, especially in moments of exertion. "But, of course, you'll be triumphant today, so the need will not arise. And in the meantime, can you and your fine-looking friend speak more of that marvelous language? I may understand not a word, but the cadences are exquisite."

Jack pulled a large, soiled square of linen from his pocket and blew his nose hard. "Careful, Até, you'll be in one of his plays next. And we all know where that can lead."

The playwright wiped an edge of his cloak across a slick brow, sweating despite the chill. "How many more times can I apologize? As I said, you were thought dead and thus your mellifluous name was free to appropriate."

"Well, I may be dead soon enough. So your conscience may not be a bother too much longer," Jack muttered. He had caught sight of movement through a screen of trees ahead.

If the crowd's big enough, he thought, perhaps even the incompetent Watch might have heard of it and turn up to prevent this illegality. Once he would have objected vigorously to any attempt by the authorities to restrict his right to fight. Once...when he was as young as his adversary, perhaps. Now he could only hope that the Magistrates' intelligence had improved.

But no reassuring Watchmen greeted Jack, just two dozen gentlemen in cloaks of brown or green, a few red-coated army officers, and, in the center of the party, wearing just a shirt, the man who had challenged him-Banastre Tarleton. Jack was again startled by his face. The youth-he could be no more than eighteen-was possessed of an almost feminine beauty, with thickly lashed eyes and chestnut curls failing to be constrained by a pink ribbon. But there was no hint of a lady's fragility in his movements, laughing as he lunged forward with an imaginary sword.

He looks as if he is on a green about to play a game of cricket, Jack thought, and he wondered if it was the cold that made him shrug ever deeper into his cloak. 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. The sighs, the sobs wrenched from her troubled-and artfully revealed, carefully highlighted-bosom, as she watched two lovers do battle for her. She would be terribly brave one moment, close to fainting the next.

An actress. He was going to be killed over an actress. It was like one of Sheridan's bloody comedies, not dissimilar to the one in which the playwright had made him the unwitting star. It was an irony perhaps only an Iroquois could fully appreciate. For if Sheridan hadn't used his name in The Rivals, if Jack hadn't then felt it necessary to watch some posturing actor play "him," if he hadn't succumbed, yet again, to the effects of brandy and the actress playing the maid, and if she wasn't already beloved by this brash, stupid, handsome, young officer...

Até and Sheridan had moved across to commence the business, and Jack noted the two men with whom his companions were discussing terms. One, an ensign in the resplendent, gold-laced uniform of the Coldstream Guards, was talking loudly and waving his arms about. Yet it was the other, Tarleton's Second-Second, who held Jack's attention. He was standing behind and slightly to the side, his will seemingly focused, not on the details of the duel, but entirely forward onto Jack, just as it had been the previous night, when his soft whispers had urged Tarleton on. This man had the sober but expensive dress of a rich cleric, the long, pale face of a scholar. And looking now at the man he'd heard named the Count von Schlaben, even in the poor light of a winter sunset, Jack could see that this man desired his death as much as the youth who had challenged him; perhaps even more. And in that moment of recognition, Jack knew that there was more than actresses involved and that honor was only a small part of this affair.

If I am about to die, he thought, looking away and up into the cloud-racked March sky, the least I can do is to understand why.

Something had occurred the previous night at the theater, aside from the play and the challenge. Something that had brought them all here to this snowy common. So it was back to Drury Lane that Jack's mind went, in the few moments before the formalities were settled, and the dying began.

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