Historical Novelist C.C. Humphreys Casts Famed Stage Character Jack Absolute in a New Role: British Spy
Actor, Author, and Fight Choreographer Continues American Revolution Series with Thrilling Prequel
Jack Absolute was introduced to readers as a British soldier and spy during the American Revolution in C.C. Humphreys’s first novel in the three-book historical fiction series based on the leading character in Richard Sheridan’s play The Rivals.
Humphrey’s returns with the prequel to Jack Absolute in The Blooding of Jack Absolute: A Novel (ISBN: 9781402282249; NOVEMBER 5, 2013; $14.99 U.S.; Historical Fiction; Trade Paper).
The novel takes readers on a journey back in time through Jack Absolute’s youth in the home of his drunk and wicked uncle Duncan, and his equally wicked cousin Caster, to his escape to London.
During Jack’s years at Westminster, he’s a terror on the cricket field; a dashing rogue loved by the ladies, including the daughter of his French tutor and the mistress of a member of Parliament; and the leader of a band of schoolmates who fancy themselves a tribe of “Moyock.”
Jack’s bright future is shattered during a night of revelry when his past and present collide and force him to flee England and find his fate in the dangerous New World during the ruthless French and Indian War.
Amid hostile Indians, fierce colonial rivalries, and a brutal North American winter, Jack struggles for survival. But to survive, Jack must be blooded for life. He must learn to kill.
Humphreys’s riveting prequel answers many of the questions readers had about Jack Absolute’s past and showcases the stunning transformation of a young dreamer into a daring, larger-than-life hero.
This is a guest post from C.C. Humphreys, and a fun imaginative one at that!
So when I fell down the cliffs for the third time I wondered: is this a good idea?
I was at Quebec, in Canada. I was attempting to climb the cliffs that led to the Plains of Abraham. On those one of the pivotal battles in world history had been fought. And up these same cliffs a hundred British Light Infantry had gone at dead of night on September 13th 1759, spearheading a last ditch effort to seize the city from the French and, effectively, claim North America for England.
It seemed like a good research idea when I booked to come. The battlefield were largely soccer fields and condos now but the cliffs, undevelopable, were as they were. And it wasn’t like I was going to climb them at 2 in the morning but 2 in the afternoon. I wasn’t going to be wearing army boots, but sneakers; carrying no musket or grenades but just a back pack and water bottle. What could go wrong?
Well, though the cliffs were not vertical they were really steep. They were also thick with trees, striped maple in the main. Not all of these were alive, nor standing. I don’t know what I expected underfoot but it wasn’t shale, great lumps of slate, rain slick. So when I began my assault, my trainers refused to grip for long. When I slid – a slide thatvthreatened to turn to tumble all too swiftly – the branches on the ground I reached for crumbled in my fingers. I learned – which I suppose was the point – that you had to kick your foot in, dig a purchase out, dig out the next one. I made quite bit of noise doing it, which the infantry wouldn’t have done. They slipped silently, fell without a scream, for their enemy patrolled the cliff tops, and this was a surprise attack.
Somehow, sweating hard despite a surprisingly cold early Fall, I made it to the top – bruised, wet, my hands cut from too much grabbling at wood that fell apart. It all gave me priceless material for the attack I would describe in detail in ‘The Blooding of Jack Absolute’. And there was a bonus at the top. I’d gone to the road by the river (that would not have been there in 1759) and guessed that a particular point was the way up. At the summit I emerged right opposite a sign carved in stone, saying that this is where the assualt had gone in. At least that’s what the English side said. In French it said that the English cheated because they had more boats. Double bonus!
Here are a few interesting facts about Humphreys and Jack Absolute…
· Humphreys portrayed Jack Absolute, the leading character of Richard Sheridan’s play The Rivals, on the London stage and loved it so much, he dedicated a three-book series to the character when he began writing
· Humphreys is a former actor whose roles have included Hamlet and the voice of Salem the Cat in “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”
· Humphreys is a fight choreographer and an accomplished swordsman