Set against the colorful tumult of events that gave rise to our fledgling nation, this novel of romance and adventure introduces Phillipe Charboneau.
The illegitimate son of an English nobleman, Phillipe flees Europe and, as Philip Kent, joins the men who set our course for freedom.
The Bastard is the first volume in the Kent Family Chronicles, a series of novels that details one family's journey in the early years of the American nation.
©1974 John Jakes (P)2013 Audible Inc.
I really enjoyed the North/South trilogy so was pleased to find so many books in this series. My pleasure was short lived. The dialogue feels more like a middle school history/political lecture. The plot is slow and contrived. The characters are so flawed and one dimensional that I can neither empathize with them nor care what happens to them. It's clumsy and disappointing. I really wanted to like it and enjoy a nice long series.
Not based on this book. Based on North/South, I might try something else.
His accents are atrocious. He should not attempt British or French accents. I can't say whether his colonial Boston accent is accurate, but it isn't a contemporary New England accent so who knows what he's doing there. Otherwise, it's adequate.
I thought the narration was fine. I enjoyed the story from the perspective that I learned about American history. However, writing is an art and John Jakes is not a gifted writer. I was hoping for a book of equivalent caliber to the Outlander Series - which is outstanding. I think I will keep looking, and not bother with the rest of this series. The author's writing is cliched and too colloquial, written 40 years ago , but not in a style appropriate to the period being depicted in the story. I am glad I gave it a go but will not continue.
BOOK: (Amazon Summary) Meet Phillipe Charboneau: the illegitimate son and unrecognized heir of the Duke of Kentland. Upon the Duke’s death, Phillipe is denied his birthright and left to build a life of his own. Seeking all that the New World promises, he leaves London for America, shedding his past and preparing for the future by changing his name to Philip Kent. He arrives at the brink of the American Revolution, which tests his allegiances in ways he never imagined.
NARRATION: Marc Vietor narrates the entire series which is a plus. I like the consistency of hearing the same voice throughout the story line. The voices are well done, female and male are easily distinguishable.
When men write about history it's full of action, adventure and willing women who don't get pregnant until it's convenient for the guy. Being a woman in my 40's, I didn't love this book, but I do like history, so I hung in there and I didn't hate it, but I won't be listening to the rest of the series, I'm sure it's full of the stuff.
These comments address The Kent Family Chronicles, the entire series of eight books, in audiobook format. All books are narrated by Marc Vietor. The entire series is approximately 125 hours of listening. Shortest book is 15.5 hours, longest over 26 hours. Vietor does a good job with narration, although the uniqueness of male voices is problematic. Most significant, you’ll have little difficulty determining who-says-what-to-who. Tempo and pacing fine, albeit the narration is a bit slow for my taste, bumped it to 1.25.
The entire series is a broad spectrum history of the United States from just pre-Revolutionary War through the 1890s and a chronicle of the Kent family through this time. Beginning with Phillip through the generations to the children of Gideon, a great-great-grandson. Members of the clan fight in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Civil War, are at the Alamo, the California Gold Rush, the Great Chicago Fire, the Johnstown Flood, and much more. The author skillfully intersperses vignettes of imagined and factual history. For example, two of the fictional characters of the series are sheltered for a few days at the home of the Lincolns in rural Kentucky - a baby is part of the family, young Abraham. One of the fictional characters is counseled by Benjamin Franklin. Fiction, Phillip’s childhood friend is Marquis deLafayette, non-fiction: deLafayette’s role in United States and French military. The series is rife with this type of paradigm, but it is not difficult to determine what is true and what is fiction. All the instances that involve the Kents and John Jake’s other fictional characters are products of his imagination. Much of the rest is a fun methodology of conveying historical events.
The stories are very listenable. I found no need to re-wind or fast-forward; no segment boring or irrelevant. Theses books are not ‘love stories’ in the typical sense, albeit familial relationships, the crux of The Kent Family Chronicles, must include love stories, n'est-ce pas? In those areas where a sexual encounter is defined it is relevant to the plot and tastefully written. This does not occur often, but the clan does proliferate :-). A word to the prudish: there are a couple of rapes vividly described.
Very typical of the time written, the 1970s, writing is a bit verbose. Several of these books were adapted for television mini-series, popular at the time.
John Jakes is a terrific historical fiction author, recommended. Enjoy!
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