As has been said before, this is the "prequel" to the Captain Jack Absolute series by Canadian author C. C. Humphreys. The story takes place between 1752 and 1760. At the beginning of the novel we discover that young Jack grows up illiterate, unhappy, and abused by his uncle Duncan "Druncan" Absolute and his bullying cousin Craster in Cornwall, England. Through spunk and chance, young Jack escapes his tormentors, is reunited with his real parents (Sir James "Mad Jamie" and Lady Absolute) who send him to be educated as a gentleman at Westminster School. In London, he learns more than just the declension of Latin nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. Jack becomes a first rate cricketer, billiards player, punch drinker, and womanizer. The latter causes him to run for his life from a jealous Lord Melbury and into the arms of the British Army. I won't spoil the action and fun that follows, but will say that readers of this excellent series find out how Jack meets his Mohawk friend Ate, becomes a spy, and survives many harrowing experiences in the New World, including the Battle between the French under the Marquis de Montcalm and the British commanded by General Wolfe on the Plains of Abraham (Quebec, Canada 1759). This is a terrific book full of adventure and derring-do. A real page turner.
I would have given this book 5 stars except for a few irritating historical inaccuracies, e.g., the British soldiers facing the French in battle were not referred to as "the thin red line" (p. 283) until almost one hundred years later during the Crimean War at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854. Nitpicking, I know, but attention to small details such as the above makes for a better book, I think.