Tuesday, 3 April 2012


My Jane Austen Book Club is glad to welcome  Jack Caldwell on his blog tour for the launch of his second brilliant Austenesque novel, THE THREE COLONELS. After Pemberley Ranch, which reimagined Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as a heart-pounding western romance, Jack Caldwell presents his new book revolving around Jane Austen's charming fighting heroes. Here is his guest post. Enjoy and leave your comments + e-mail address to win a copy (see below the post for the giveaway details)

Hello, everybody, Jack Caldwell here. I’d like to thank Maria for the opportunity to visit with you today to talk about my latest book, THE THREE COLONELS – Jane Austen’s Fighting Men from Sourcebooks Landmark.
THE THREE COLONELS revolves around the lives and loves of several Austen military characters. For my novel, I have Colonel Fitzwilliam, Captain Wickham, and Major Denny from Pride & Prejudice, and Colonel Brandon from Sense & Sensibility. I’ve created my own officer—Colonel Sir John Buford—and have my men interact with historical figures, such as the Duke of Wellington.
There is no romance without the ladies, and this novel stars Marianne Brandon (Sense & Sensibility), Anne de Bourgh, and Caroline Bingley (Pride & Prejudice). Major supporting roles go to, from P&P, Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth and Georgiana Darcy, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Mary Bennet, Mrs. and Mrs. Collins, and Mrs. Jenkinson. From S&S we have Elinor and Edward Ferrars, and John Willoughby.
To make an epic story short, I send Jane Austen’s fighting men to war—to be precise, Waterloo. Why the heck did I do that? Because the Napoleonic Wars were an integral part of the Regency period.
As I say in the introduction to THE THREE COLONELS, by 1814 Great Britain had been in almost continual war with the various governments of France for seventy-four years—the Kingdom of France, the French Republic, and the French Empire. Thousands fought and thousands died. During Jane Austen’s lifetime (1775-1817), some of the most important battles in British history took place. Saratoga.Yorktown.Saint Vincent.The Nile.Trafalgar.Talavera.Vitoria. Waterloo.
Britain fought France for three reasons: colonies, trade, and political stability. Let me briefly review them.
Since the discovery of the New World, the major European nations scrambled to control as much of the resources as possible. France and Great Britain, the two great naval powers, were in immediate loggerheads over North America. India was another source of conflict.Colonies offered trade—exotic foods and raw materials for the new factories—and a dumping ground for criminals, political agitators, and other “undesirables.”
Trade with Europe was also vital. The countries might have beenin political conflict from time to time, but trade between them was necessity for survival. When Napoleon instituted the Continental System—a blockade—in an effort to bring Britain to its knees, the country had to fight.
Political stability was also important. The King of France helped the American revolutionaries not because he believed in American independence but to hurt and destabilize Britain. Indeed, the new United States inspired political change in France, and helped trigger the French Revolution and the king’s execution. The French Republic turned homicidal, intent on bestowing its brand of revolutionary government on all of Europe. Britain believed in reform and change, but not that much change. They fought to contain the agents of the Reign of Terror, and later the self-styled Emperor Napoleon, who had his own ideas about the governance of Europe (under his own thumb).
Jane Austen was an intelligent woman, who had the means to know what was occurring in the world. Indeed, several of her brothers served in the Royal Navy, one achieving the rank of admiral. Many of her characters were military officers. And yet, Austen never talked about the wars. She commented on the politics in the navy in both Mansfield Park and Persuasion, but she did not go into what the navy did—fight battles.
I am certain one reasonable reason was that war was considered an “unsuitable” subject for ladies’ conversation. That was left to the gentlemen, who after dinner retreated to their smoking room for cigars and politics. However, ladies could certainly read, and dispatches from the wars were in the newspapers. Not every woman read only the society pages.
There was another force going on—a disconnect between the struggles around the world and the everyday concerns of the home front. The war was over there—not here. With no fighting occurring in Britain, the people concentrated on more mundane subjects: family, work, chores, entertaining, and gossip. All this is important, and a very different experience than what was going on in Europe. There, war was in your back yard. It could not be ignored.
The Continental System was inconvenient for the civilians, because it was difficult to impossible to get goods from Europe. The French also threatened trade with the Americas. People carried on, because prices remained stable—the blockade was actually good for domestic production. In fact, things were worse after the war—falling prices and poor harvests triggered unrest.
It is uncomfortable to acknowledge that war affects society for evil AND good, but it does. Just like the sacrifices of World War II saved the world from the evils of Nazism, Britain’s expenditure of blood and treasure helped prevent Napoleon Bonaparte from conquering all of Europe. The nation could not have survived such an event.
The efforts of men like Colonels Brandon, Fitzwilliam, and Buford saved the Regency.
Jack Caldwell

About the Author - Jack Caldwell is an author, amateur historian, professional economic developer, playwright, and like many Cajuns, a darn good cook. Born and raised in the Bayou County of Louisiana, Jack and his wife, Barbara, are Hurricane Katrina victims who now make the upper Midwest their home.
His nickname—The Cajun Cheesehead—came from his devotion to his two favorite NFL teams: the New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers. (Every now and then, Jack has to play the DVD again to make sure the Saints really won in 2010.)
Always a history buff, Jack found and fell in love with Jane Austen in his twenties, struck by her innate understanding of the human condition. Jack uses his work to share his knowledge of history. Through his characters, he hopes the reader gains a better understanding of what went on before, developing an appreciation for our ancestors' trials and tribulations.
When not writing or traveling with Barbara, Jack attempts to play golf. A devout convert to Roman Catholicism, Jack is married with three grown sons.
Jack's blog postings—The Cajun Cheesehead Chronicles—appear regularly at Austen Authors.
Web site – Ramblings of a Cajun in Exile – http://webpages.charter.net/jvcla25/
Blog – Austen Authors – http://austenauthors.net/


Leaving your comments + your e-mail address below this post you can get a chance to win one (1) physical copy and one (1) e-book copy of THE THREE COLONELS from Sourcebooks Landmark. (Note: Only US addresses are eligible for physical copy, so please add the country you are writing from in your comment). This giveaway ends on April 10th when the winners' names are announced.


Shanna Sandmoen said...

I can't wait to read this book!!! I Loved his previous book!

DDCKnitt said...

Looking forward to reading!!! ddcknitt@yahoo.com

My Little Cupcake said...

I want to seriously read this!!!

Krista said...

I love his books want to win this!

Maria Grazia said...

Please, everybody, if you want to be entered in this giveaway, you have to add your e-mail address and the country you write from. There is a paperback for US readers and an e-book for readers from the rest of the world. You won't be included in the draw if you forget any of the details required. Thank you.

Nora Moore said...

I am already 3/4 through the book and I absolutely love it! Every character development you have made seems plausible to the original, as well as logical progression. Even the name of Darcy and Lizzy's chd makes sense. I genuinely hope you create more wonderful stories in the future. I picked up your fist book on a whim and from the beginning you converted me to your writing.

United States

Anne said...

I have been wanting to read this book, it sounds wonderful. Thanks for the giveaway!


I am from US

Jack Caldwell said...

Nora, thanks so much. Logic in a story is VERY important to me. Just to let you know, I'm writing a sequel called ROSINGS PARK.

Sophia Rose said...

I really love this time in English history so your posting on the reasons for the war was particularly appealing to me. I love that you have chosen Austen's fighting me as your protagonists with the war and the homefront as the background.

Thanks for the post and for the giveaway opportunity. If I do not win, I'm still getting this book. :D

US Resident

brenday said...

I'm unfamiliar with your work but am VERY interested. I will look for your previous as well.

brendactrptr at yahoo dot com
in the US

Robin Helm said...

I loved Pemberley Ranch and am sure that I would enjoy The Three Colonels just as much. Please enter me in the giveaway!

Robin Helm said...

Sorry. I'm in the US.

Unknown said...

I look forward to reading the edited version. The serialization was great, so this will be even better.

Susan Kaye
susan_at _susankaye_dot_com
U. S.

BeckyC said...

I have been following Jack with his excerpts. I am looking forward to reading! I love the Colonels! Thank you for the giveaway! (US)
cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

Anonymous said...

This book sounds very interesting. I am excited that the Sense & Sensibility characters have been included. I will need to add this to my must read list. mrsfeltes@hotmail.com

Nora Moore said...

That is exciting and intriguing news! I always felt bad for Anne and love hearing other's interpretation for her future. I particularly like how you have explained her life with Lady Catherine and the reasons for it in this book. Looking forward to more, even if it is in a different setting.

Linda said...

I enjoyed this interesting post, and the premise of the novel. I live in the United States and am hopeful of winning the physical copy of the novel. Thanks for the giveaway.


Jack Caldwell said...

Wow! Lots of love here for PEMBERLEY RANCH.

Some of you have read an early version of THE THREE COLONELS. I think you'll like the ending of this version MUCH better.

Nora - You'll see a lot more of Anne in ROSINGS PARK.

Thanks, Maria, for the opportunity to post here. It's been great!

Literary Chanteuse said...

Hope to win on the last tour stop. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed!



Krista said...

I'm so sorry I forgot my email and what Country my email bookreviewclub@yahoo.com and I'm U.S. I guess I seem to have trouble reading when I wrote the comment promise not to have trouble reading the book! Please add this too my original comment. Thank you

GranJan said...

OK, ESSENTIALS FIRST - cpnclprashe @ yahoo . com in the US

Actually, thought I already entered this but can't find it ...lol

Said it before, will say it again, very much enjoyed Pemberley Ranch and your online stories - esp Mr Darcy Came To Dinner - loved it. And being a big fan of the Colonel and Brandon, am anxious to read the Three Colonels ... so, please enter me in giveaway!

Kelli H. said...

I have read so many wonderful reviews for this book and I can't wait to read it myself! I absolutely loved Pemberley Ranch, it's one of my favorites!! Thanks for the giveaway!=)
I'm in the US!

Janet T said...

Another interesting and informative post on your tour, Jack. Thanks for sharing with us and for giving us the opportunity to win your book! I want to read this one.


Lúthien84 said...

Love your historical post on why Britain goes to war with France. Eloquently put.

I'm international so please enter me for the eBook edition.


BrendaNZ said...

This book sounds brilliant and I'm so intrigued by a male author writing JAFF - I'm definitely going to read it! :)


New Zealand

Kirk said...

I'm very interested in the physical copy of the book!

rearadmiral00 at gmail dot com
US resident

Syrie James said...

I would be so absolutely THRILLED beyond words to win this novel! I am finishing/polishing my own novel "The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen", due out in Jan. 2013 from Penguin Bks, and this book is exactly what I need to read right now! (I live in Los Angeles.) :) Thank you for the opportunity.

Jennifer W said...

Can't wait to read this book!

Jennifer W

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