View Full Version : "A Modest Reading Recommendation For These Soul Trying Times !"

03-15-2009, 03:44 PM
Sparrowhawk One: Jack Frake by Edward Cline

"We need to get up to speed on Political Revolution and its causes !"

Sparrowhawk One:
Set in 1740s England, this enthralling first installment in a projected four-book cycle about the American Revolution introduces the main character of the series, young Jack Frake. Clever, observant and fiercely loyal, Jack gets himself noticed by Rector Robert Parmley, who decides to tutor the boy, but Jack's mother has other plans plans that lead to the murder of Parmley and Jack's running away from home.

He eventually gets a job in a pub in the seaside town of Gwynnford and, after an impulsive act of bravery, he ends up in the company of the notorious Augustus Skelly and his lieutenant Redmagne leaders of a group of men who believe that the government of England is too intrusive. Cline presents these rogues as believably libertarian ancestors of the Founding Fathers. Through crisp informative dialogue, he lays the groundwork for the coming revolution by showing the mood of individualism and antigovernmentals sentiment in England 30 years before Lexington and Concord.

The novel ends with Jack leaving England to serve an eight-year sentence in the colonies. Filled with period detail and characters readers will care about, the novel portrays an England of press gangs, smug nobility, oppressive government and mind-numbing poverty. Also on hand are smugglers clever enough to write utopian satires and honorable enough to live by the ideals on which government is based. Comparing favorably to the swashbuckling action of a Rafael Sabatini novel and the grueling realism of Bernard Cornwell, this is the best kind of historical fiction: a tale that reflects and illuminates its age.

(Sparrowhawk two through five.)

Sparrowhawk Six: War

The men who made the American Revolution were giants. Their story has never fully been told - till now. The 5 previous volumes of Ed Cline's "Sparrowhawk" series showed us two brave youths developing independent minds and spirits ... one, a transported felon, the other, the son of England's nobility. In Book 4 a corrupt king and parliament tried to bleed the colonies, with the Stamp Act and Navigation Acts ... amid the first stirrings of resistance, as Patrick Henry dared to speak treason. In Book 5, Jack Frake and Hugh Kenrick drew swords to block the stamps from being landed in Virginia.

As Jack Frake explains:

"What cleaves us is as wide as the ocean that separates us.
It is a distance between souls, between minds, between ways of looking at things.

That ocean helped to create that cleavage. It removed our ancestors for a time, as it once removed us, from the immediate concerns and power of kings and the ambitions of men who would be kings, and allowed us to see what could be accomplished without them. It allowed us to see clearly - those of us who bothered to see - what was necessary for men to live their lives unfettered by allegiances to the arbitrary and superfluous ... Once that was done, we could bow no more, neither to nature nor to kings nor to men who would be kings ..."

In this, the last volume of the series, the action explodes. The thrills begin when Etain, Jack's wife, grabs a musket to oppose customs men come to ransack her house ... and the excitement does not let up. The Sons of Liberty march north, to the bloody slopes of Bunker and Breed's Hills ... where in the shock of battle, lives are destroyed ... then back to Virginia to meet the murderous assault on the town of Caxton by the crown's lackeys, and to take part in the Sparrowhawk's fiery last battle.

With every decade, we grow more distant from the American Revolution - distant not just in time, but in attitude. A political and intellectual establishment more corrupt than king or parliament tries to make us forget what the revolution was about, and why our forebears fought. How many years has it been since you heard anyone speak out for "individual rights" or "the pursuit of happiness"?

Ed Cline does speak out. Eloquently, with immense literary skill. His classic inspires us - as it will inspire generations to come - to swear, with rectitude: We, too, will not submit.