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Sparrowhawk: Book One, Jack Frake: A Novel of the American Revolution (Volume 1) Paperback – July 28, 2013
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About the Author
Edward Cline: His first detective novel, First Prize, was published in 1988 by Mysterious Press/Warner Books, and republished by Perfect Crime Books in 2009. His first suspense novel, Whisper the Guns, was published in 1992 by The Atlantean Press. His Roaring Twenties detective series is published by the Patrick Henry Press. The Sparrowhawk series of novels, set in England and Virginia in the pre-Revolutionary period, has garnered some critical acclaim and universal appreciation from the reading public, including parents, teachers, students, scholars, and adult readers who believe that American history has been abandoned or is misrepresented by a government-dominated educational establishment. He writes regularly for such political and cultural blog sites as Rule of Reason, Capitalism Magazine, and Family Security Matters.
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Two heroic characters are developed in books one and two who run through the entire series, Jack Frake in the first, and Hugh Kendrick in the second. One is an English commoner, the other an aristocrat, and they interact throughout the series in fascinating ways, especially when they find themselves neighbors in America. Joining them along the way is a host of other vivid characters, many heroic, many villanous. The experience is exhilarating, the characters unforgettable – on both sides of the Atlantic.
I’ll say no more for fear of spoiling the experience for any reader who tackles this series. Recently, I finished it myself, and envy all those who still have that experience ahead of them. There is passion, romance, evil, tragedy, glory, and inspiration. I could say I wish I were still reading Sparrowhawk, but I know that eventually I will again. Sparrowhawk will permanently remain in my Kindle library.
For potential readers who might find the prospect of a six book commitment daunting, I would point out that each book is a stand-alone work and can be enjoyed as such. At the same time, each is deftly connected to all the others, with unifying themes, objects, and literary devices running throughout to enhance those connections. Be forewarned – once you start, you will find yourself compelled to read them all.
The history of the period is momentous, and Cline is a master dramatizer of it.
The Sparrowhawk flag is a prime example of this research. In Book V, Mr. Cline describes, in detail, a red and white striped ensign with a St. George's cross in the canton that was one of the early jacks of the English East India Company (EIC). He weaves into his story, by reference to actual historical events, how this flag came into the hands of a resident of Caxton, the Virginia town that is the center of much of the action. The flag is modified by the Sons of Liberty, the group of Caxton patriots, by replacing the St. George's cross with a blue canton containing the legend "Live Free or Die". Although the Americans carried flags of many designs during the Revolution, there is no real history of the actual origin of the stars and stripes. Mr. Cline provides an eminently credible one.
As he has written elsewhere: "No history of the American flag even mentions the EIC jack, although it was obvious to me what its origin must have been, having gone onto the National Maritime Museum site in London in the course of my researches and seen the depictions of the East Indiamen. Omission of the jack in those histories startled me. But, by charter, East Indiamen were not permitted to call on North American ports. So no colonial American who had never voyaged to Britain would have ever seen one. Benjamin Franklin, however, spent a good portion of his life in London (later in Paris), as did many other colonial Americans, such as Arthur Lee. Immediately east of London Bridge on the Thames were the warehouses and docks of the East India Company, in the Pool of London, where the Indiamen loaded and unloaded cargoes. Franklin, Lee, and numerous other colonial Americans who crossed that bridge had to have seen the Indiamen and their jacks."
More details about the Sparrowhawk flag (including illustrations) and the Sparrowhawk series, in general, can be found at the "drurytrantham" blog.
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"Vivre libre ou mourir!" (Live free or die.)