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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Bastard
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2003
This first book in the Kent Family Chronicles is a great opening to the series.Philippe Charbonneau, the illegitimate son of the Duke of Kentland and Marie, a Parisian actress, travels to England to find his father who signed a document acknowledging Phillipe as his son and entitling him to a share of his fortune.The Duke's legitimate son,Roger and the Duchess,Jane, prevent Philippe and Marie from seeing the Duke and hatch murderous plots against them,forcing them to flee to London.They are given shelter by a kindly printer and his family who teach Philippe the printing trade.Their whereabouts in London is discovered by Roger,forcing them to sail to the New World in fear for their lives.Marie dies during the voyage, leaving the young boy to arrive in Boston alone and friendless.He falls in with a group of American patriots who are fighting for the cause of American independence.Philippe realises that all thought of claiming his English heritage is futile and he becomes a "Son of Liberty",witnessing at first hand the Boston Tea Party and the beginning of the War of Independence.I can't wait to begin Book 2.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2003
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!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2002
Philipe is a Frenchman and the bastard some of an English duke. He is teased and ostracized most of his life because no one in his hometown in France really believes that he is the son of a duke and because his mother used to be an actress. After the death of his father, his half-brother and stepmother make it clear that he is unwelcome in their home, so he decides to move to the colonies and start a new life. Once he arrives in Boston, he unintentionally becomes enmeshed in the revolutionary fervor that is blossoming in the town. The education he recieved as the son of a duke was very enlightened for its time, allowing Phillipe to appreciate and understand the "new" political theories emerging as the colonies break from the British empire.
This is the first book in the Kent Family Chronicles, which charts the history of one family from before the American Revolution to the late 1900s. As a first book in a series, the scene, tone, and family character is well set. John Jakes writes his story with an eye for detail and for entertainment. As I read this series when I was 14, I frequently use these stories as a reference point when remembering details of American history. I highly recommned this series for anyone who wants to learn early US history but doesn't like to read history text books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2000
I read all the series in the Kent Family Chronicles ten years ago when I was a senior in high school. I could not put them down and was fascinated by what each generation of this family went through. At the time, I was studying American History and these books made everything click and placed it all in perspective. John Jakes is the one who inspired me to work towards my dream of a writing career and to pursue a degree in junior high or high school history. He is one of my very favorite authors. He makes history come alive and helps one to understand it all. The breathtaking romance and nail biting adventure and thrills are just the icing on the cake. I loved every book in the series, although the "Warriors" is my favorite and "Jeremiah", my favorite Kent family member. I look forward to rereading them all again soon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 23, 2012
Although not much of a fan of historical battles, this book was really much more about a young man growing up in rural France, losing his mother, the trials and tribulations of the poor from this time in history, migration, English class structure, etc. I trust the author was as accurate as one could be given the amount of time that has passed since this story's days. There was a great variety of characters (I liked the inclusion of real historical people with their own dialogue), scenes, dramas, and the story flowed well.

I think there wasn't quite enough reflection on Philip's part about how his body count was adding up in such a short time frame. Unless he actually doesn't have much of a conscience, or that the killing was typical in that day and age for many men.

I will be going on to the 2nd in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 1, 2001
I started with the North & South Trilogy and was deeply depressed when it was over. I deeply missed the characters and just didn't want it to end. Therefore, what could be better than a John Jakes story that takes 8 books to complete!! Once you read The books, you won't be able to stop until you read them all. This is a great book containing three different stories or stages surrounding the life of our first Kent -- Phillip. All of these stories collide for a finale that is as good as anything I have ever read. One of the best parts of this book is how Jakes uses Ben Franklin as the key character in bringing the story together. I would highly recommend this book to anyone. The story is superb and the history lesson makes you proud to be an American. I can't wait to start Book Two -- The Rebels!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 8, 2000
Jakes has created a mass following with the Kent Family Chronicles and this is the book that started it all. He is, by far, one of the best historical fiction writers around.
For a grand journey - through the eyes of the Kent family - from the beginnings of a nation to its epic rise as a world power, this series does an outstanding job of presenting history through a rough-n-ready fictional family.
The book is unputdownable, and you'll be on a hunt for #2 through #8 once you're done.
I must give credit to Jakes for kick-starting my love of reading again after my teen years in literary wasteland (i.e. not reading) because it was this series that turned me back on to the written word with a ferver.
A great buy and a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2000
Just finished this book that was recommended by my mother. First of all, I could not believe how hard it was to find this book in the bookstore. It was out of print everywhere I looked. Mid-way through the book it was hard for me to understand that this book isn't still read by (a lot) people everyday. It is fast moving and extremely exciting. Plus, I have never learned so much about American History than by reading this book. It should be required reading in college history courses. High school would be fine too but some parents might be offended by the (although tasteful) sexual situations. Do yourself a favor and buy this book. I'll be very surprised if you do not buy "The Rebels" (the sequel) as soon as you finish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2003
I picked up this book at a garage sale and made the mistake of buying this book and then reading it. It was a mistake because this book is so good and addictive that I had to find the succeeding books in the series, which was no easy task.
This book introduces the Kent clan's founder Phillip Kent. Forced to flee his native England he sneaks his way to the colonies. Along the way he meets several interesting historical characters from his good friend Lafayette to Ben Franklin. A ton of historical fact is presented here that the reader will remember more than if they read a textbook.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2000
I am now 36 years old and I never read the series when it came out, nor did I see the mini-series movie on tv. But I was inspired by the movie THE PATRIOT to read historical fiction of this era, so what else but John Jakes books would do! I was not disappointed. The history was woven well into the fictional story of Philip Kent. The romance and adventure were enthralling, and you almost believed that Philip met the characters thrown in like Ben Franklin and Sam Adams. An excellent book.... I can't wait to read the next one!.... and maybe all eight.
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