Born and raised in a poor, working-class family in Toronto, Jack Spayd is the son of an unhappy marriage. After being taken under the wing of "Miss Frostbite", the owner of a local jazz club, Jack becomes a gifted musician, playing piano and harmonica. Fame and the allure of gambling takes him to Vegas, and prospects of fortune take him to the Belgian Congo, where he's heard it's possible to earn big money working in the most dangerous parts of the local copper mines.
Jack of Diamonds is the story of a young, talented man, fighting to achieve his ambitions, and having to use his considerable talents to find his way in a perilous world.
©2012 Bryce Courtenay; ©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
I have enjoyed other Courtenay books more, but this is a very good story. For me, the difference was that in his other books, I have found a female character to empathize with/relate to; and found none in this one. Jack's mother, teachers, "girl friends" and others were just fleeting characters in the story.
Jack is bright but sure makes some crazy (aka stupid) decisions throughout the story. Nonetheless, he survives, even thrives and his life story takes the listener to interesting and exotic locales where he makes his way with music and/or gambling.
Humphey Bower as always, did a magnificent job narrating the story. I simply would have liked to "care" a little more about the characters, including Jack.
Baby Boomer in Raleigh NC. Faves include James Lee Burke, CJ Box, Baldacci, Flynn, Child, DeMille, Crais, Connolly, Thor, Coes, L'amour. Average two books/week.
This was my first Bryce Courtenay, won't be my last. It's a long one - 26 hours so be prepared to make an investment of time. Great story that reminded me of some Sidney Sheldon epics from the 70-80s.
Jack's youth and his Vegas experiences are detailed and comprise 85% of the book. His African experience is hurried and compacted. The reader learns in the epilogue why that had to be the case. Courtenay's health.
Jack's Vegas days reminded me of the movie - Casino. Crazy Sammie was Joe Pesci's character in Casino.... quite insane and scary.
What a well written story. It flowed very well. I am so happy to have discovered this author.
I have never heard such an accomplished reader. How many accents can he do? Really entertaining!!
As with all of his novels, I have been thoroughly entertained by Bryce Courtenay listening to Jack of Diamonds. I am sorry that have only a couple of his novels left to read/listen to. This novel was in a different setting mostly in Canada and Las Vegas, and a little towards the end in a mining setting in Africa. It was set among the jazz world, high roller gamblers and Mafia connections with an interesting thread about the culture and times of pre and post world war 2. I love Courtenay's novels .... he has been a wonderful story teller and will be greatly missed.
A better story
Not as interesting as his other books which had more of a historical theme and truth to them.
Not at all
An awful and pompous use of words. I can't believe this got published! I had to persevere to finish.
It was slow and took a long time to really invest in the characters. He seemed to spend a lot of time on details that weren't significant to the overall plot.
Love him so much that I've found other audio books he's narrated, by other authors. He's a true master at narration, accents, characters (of both genders—without sounding condescending). But the story wasn't good so it was hard to get into his characters with this one. He seems to speak much slower when preforming with an American (or in this case Canadian) accent. It almost doesn't even sound like him.
I really enjoy Bryce Courtney's books—particularly Jessica, Power of One and Tandia. But it seems he's repeating/borrowing several concepts from his previous novels, i.e.
card player—similar to Tomo in The Australian Trilogy
copper miner/racial tensions—Peekay in Power of One
Obviously authors write what they know, but with 20+ books, I think he needs to expand what he writes about a little more. I still have some other books of his to listen to, which I will, but this was not his best.
overcoming great odds
I found that it was enjoyable with rarely a boring segment, but it was one I could put down and come back to later
This story, following a young boy from the depth of the economic depression of the 30's, virtually through his adult life was inspirational and read almost like a biography. It was, in a way, written in an old fashioned style of the 30's or 40's but modern in language and content. Its scope covered ground from Canada to Las Vegas, New York, England and Africa.
I love all BC books there a great way to get though the day
Dj was awesome :)
He is great with them all
No it was a little slow in pasts
Loved it but was a lot like whitethorn in parts
Loveable, noble, sad.
Brings the characters alive without any corny accents
Yes, made me sad due to the death of Bryce Courtenay a week after the release of the book
May Bryce Courtnenay rest in peace with his son (April Fools Day) knowing that all Australians will remember him for his great works and his contribution to society
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