My grandmother gave me the hardcover edition of the entire Kent Family Chronicles over two years ago. After reading several other non-related books, I finally decided to pick up The Bastard and start reading. Well, the book was so good that I ended up finishing it in 3 days just so that I could get on to the next book to see what happens next!!! John Jakes is an exceptional writer who has the ability to write about history, love, deception, you name it...and he makes all of his characters seem so alive that it is not hard to picture all of the different scenes that he creates. He nails the classic love story right on the head with the twists and turns between Philip's (the main character) feelings for both Anne and Alicia, and the choices that Philip has to make. Also, I love how Philip is always fortunate enough to met some of our most pivotal members of American History, such as Samuel Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and so on. If you truly want to learn more about American history in a fun and exciting way, then definately pick up this book and start reading. You cannot go wrong!!