If you haven’t already come across Jack Absolute, redcoat officer, lover, spy – where on earth have you been? This is Jack’s third outing and is as fresh as ever. On his way back home from his adventures in Canada (The Blooding of Jack Absolute), he makes a new friend on the high seas. When Red Hugh McClune saves his life, Jack feels he owes him everything. When he falls in love with Hugh’s niece, he is drawn even closer to him. But all is not what it seems. From Bath to Rome to Spain, Jack finds that honour and friendship are not easy to maintain. Indeed, both are severely tested, especially when Jack is engaged to spy on England’s enemies.
As always, Jack manages to be clever and naïve at the same time but we forgive him because he is young, courageous and handsome. He is no cardboard hero, however. He learns from his mistakes and matures with every book.
The author once again renders sword-play and battle fascinating to those who might usually yawn and turn the page. This un-blood-thirsty reader particularly relished the scenes set in Bath especially the first appearances of its new Georgian architecture, so familiar today that it seems it’s always been there. I also love the way he ingeniously makes use of the plot of Sheridan’s The Rivals, which is where, of course, Jack originated.
Taken with a pinch of salt and a glass or two of fine wine, young Jack Absolute is the perfect companion for beach or fireside.