Mary "Jacky" Faber -- from homeless waif to ship's boy in the British navy, pirate, serving girl, lady in training, actress, musician, privateer, slave -- and now, riverboat queen.
If you recall the end of "In the Belly of the Bloodhound," the fourth book in Jacky's ongoing series of adventures set in the early 19th century, our heroine had escaped the clutches of vile slavers and sailed her captured ship back to Boston when, just as she disembarked with her schoolmates in triumph, she found herself arrested for crimes against the English crown. But, while Jacky has spent her fair share of time as a captive on both land and sea, it rarely proves easy to hold her -- and, soon enough, and in the wake of a massive riot in her name, Jacky is fleeing Boston for the relative safety of the inland United States.
I was a little worried at the onset of "Mississippi Jack" that a journey down a river wouldn't afford our plucky young heroine with enough opportunities for mischief and adventure. But not to worry, for author Louis A. Meyer has Jacky's fate well in hand. Jacky, for all the many years of experience under her petticoats -- when she wears them, the scamp -- has grown no wiser nor more sedate. She is an endless source of entertainment; she is brassy, clever, immodest, bold, flighty, romantic, impulsive, loyal, commanding and downright fun.
This chapter in her growing life's story draws on a wealth of riverboat lore, from tent revivals to floating casinos. There are noble savages and fierce Indian raiders, treacherous British agents, trappers and traders, slaves and slavers, whores, pirates and thieves. Jacky rises to the top of it all, like cream on milk, and this book, like its predecessors, leaves you wanting more. I'm happy to hear that Meyer is already hard at work on the next chapter in Faber's exciting saga.
by Tom Knapp, Rambles.N E T editor