Mon Dieu! Can this young lady write! Under its quite forgettable cover lies an unforgettable adventure fiction so exuberant so unexpected that it leaves even the most jaded reader breathless for more. Jaske’s For Honor: An Adventure of What Might Have Been billed as Part One of the By Honor Bound series is a fast-paced swashbuckling book replete with humor charm and valor extraordinaire.
Set in 17th century France the series picks up where Alexander Dumas’s The Three Musketeers leaves off and presents breathtaking tales that “might have been” had a few political scenarios and main characters been altered. There is the appealing impetuous D’Artagnan the youngest and greenest Musketeer; Athos the brooding undeclared leader of the quartet; Aramis the reluctant duc de Rouen — a ladies man who yearns for the priesthood; and the lusty comic Porthos a former pirate afraid of water. Here too is Milady de Winter returning as the cool dangerous beauty in league with the enemy but in this tale surprisingly contrite.
The four Musketeers are diverted from a mundane escort mission to Calais after they meet up with a spunky female spy in disguise. The action kicks in when the group travels throughout the French countryside assembling intelligence that will lead them to the apprehension of a traitor. Peopled with stealthy double agents corrupt government officials and assorted tavern wenches the book offers perilous situations and non-stop action around every village corner.
Jaske does a masterful job of evoking appropriate atmosphere and is highly skilled at character development. Good and bad guys alike sport well-rounded personalities their flaws and positive traits delivered with discernable balance and style. Even the treacherous scheming Cardinal Richelieu while plotting nothing less than the cold-blooded murder of his enemies believes in his pious role as “God’s representative.”
His Eminence arrived back from mass and set aside his heavy stole that marked the season in the Church. His duties were never done; always more sheep to lead back to the fold of the Good Lord and the Holy Church. But someone had to be responsible for the salvation of their souls. That was the price of being chosen …
It’s apparent the author knows and understands her subject well from the intricacies of French history to 17th century weaponry. Like the young D’Artagnan Jaske is a fencing aficionado and Francophile who wields her pen with elegance and finesse.
This is a satisfying book for adventure lovers that will leave readers eager for more. Thank goodness there is more in the form of part two in the series: Gambit For Love of a Queen continuing the story of the valiant French quartet and Laurel the spunky female spy introduced in this title. For Honor is an astonishing read from a young author who truly knows her stuff.