Title: Jack Absolute
Author: C.C. Humphreys
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc.
“’Jack Absolute. Soldier. Mohawk. Duelist. Dramatist. Chef! One feels quite outshone. What other talents have you yet to reveal?’” C.C. Humphreys writes in his supposed first in the swashbuckling adventure series during the American Revolution, Jack Absolute.”
Apparently republished from 2004, this paperback advance copy has a different photograph from its predecessor of a Redcoat’s back on the front cover. At two hundred and seventy pages, it includes a small map at the beginning and author’s notes at the end about its factual or non-factual characters involving mainly the British participation during the Revolutionary War. With some profanity, sexual encounters and somewhat graphic violence, it would not be recommended for young or naïve readers.
Being a twenty-first century actor, writer C.C. Humphreys has an infatuation and obsession of his on-stage character, Jack Absolute, from Sheridan’s eighteenth century comedy, The Rivals, and has written another tale of the fictional knight in shining armor, as a spy for the British Royal Army set in the territory of Fort Stanwix, Oriskany, Saratoga and Philadelphia during the war.
The novel opens with a duel over a love-triangle after a theatrical London performance where Absolute is saved by his Mohawk cohort and friend who keeps count of their death-defying rescues for one another. Set up by British General Burgoyne, Absolute, the former captain of the Sixteenth Light Dragoons, sails to Quebec and becomes a spy to learn about German Count von Schlaben, who is connected with the secretive Freemason Illuminati sect. During Absolute’s adventures, he foolishly falls in love with Louisa Reardon, a high-spirited Rebel who floats in and out of the storyline but has ulterior motives of her own.
From being caught up in onstage and offstage romantic trysts and duels along with war skirmishes that includes British, Irish, German, Rebels and six Native American tribes, the protagonist is captured and purposefully bitten by a snake, imprisoned at a brewery and escapes from burning buildings. The tome jumps around the plethora of too many characters including real ones like Benedict Arnold and too many sudden but predicted rescues. Like the meaning of Absolute’s Mohawk name, Daganoweda, the people, places and plot are “inexhaustible.”
Although the book displays an interesting take from the British’s perspective of their approach and defeat in war and how the American Indians were split in their over-run country, the ending could be figured out about three-quarters into the book. One who appreciates the theatrical plays of the time, the confusing old-style dialects and the historical value of the Revolution may enjoy this book.