Jack - Three Finger Jack - The Spirit of Jamaica by Julian King

Jack - Three Finger Jack - The Spirit of Jamaica

byJulian King

Kobo ebook | July 10, 2013

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An exerpt from the book:

One of the staple events of trips that the plantation owners enjoyed while being in Port Royal, were the fights in the factories.  An ‘arena’ was chosen, a molasses factory where the centre was cleared for a ‘ring’ and enough room for spectators all around and wagering was very high.  Each afternoon, there were a series of bouts pitting each owner’s best against the others.  Winning a bout was lucrative but winning the grand prize meant large profits to fighter (if he were a free man) and definitely to the owner.  Fighters were usually of European decent (mostly English) but the odd owner had a huge slave as a representative for in brutality, pain knows no color or prejudice so black against white provided even greater excitement and emotion.

 

Mark Campbell a veteran of wars, a true warrior, was also a moral and compassionate man and was not always fond of the beatings men put on each other for what to him was a measly purse and felt some guilt as he and his clique of owners exploited these desperate men.  However, as a ‘good sport’ he would attend these fights and at times make the odd wager especially where two free men faced each other.

 

Jack as his page boy / man servant would be brought along and would be consulted by Campbell about the odds as well as the fighters’ chances in the upcoming bouts.  Jack was never wrong in his selections!  Campbell in appreciation shared his winnings with Jack.  This part of the relationship for both young Jack and Campbell was something both thoroughly enjoyed as there was mutual love and respect which grew over the years…  Campbell a very powerful and respected British subject, as close to a knight hood as any man on the island could be never treated any of his slaves as such.  He understood the way things were within the time in which he lived but all who worked for him were treated fairly and far more ‘human’ than many of his peers treated their slaves.  Campbell was respected, yet resented by his clique, mainly because, outside of the loss of his wife, he had the biggest plantation, the most money, was the most decorated soldier in the queens army with talk of knighthood at some future point which gave him high favor at court so many tread lightly around this man.  He had everything!  And his slaves loved him.  Jack, even grudgingly at first learned to love and respect Campbell.

 

Bob Johnson on the other hand was a book keeper back in England who had embezzled monies from several of his clients which included some of London’s aristocracy.  He had started skimming pretty early in his practice and was very clever with his schemes and amassed a tidy sum, possibly now rivaling his clients who were born to nobility.  Bob’s biggest mistake was to count the money he had, and attempt to buy his way into the court’s favor.  He’d contact the organizers of any event where royalty would be and make ‘contributions’ to person or persons in charge of the invitees.  Had Bob been far more humble and kept to himself he would have gone undetected but showing up at events where nobility was the only thing to get one through the door Bob stuck out like a sore thumb.  And the court turned on him.  The magistrate ordered an audit of Bob’s books as well as all of his holdings which would take place in a fortnight.  In the space of a week, luckily for Bob Johnson, there were ships headed to the Indies where he paid and exorbitant fee for himself and his wife to travel safely as there were several chests of cash and coin which stayed in Johnson’s cabin under heavy guard from the crew.

 

A loud, crass man Johnson knew Campbell’s word back home went a long way in putting his name back into some favor at court.  He did all he could to stay in Campbell’s good books and Campbell for his part had no hard feeling toward Johnson and at times found him an affable friend.  Johnson was aware that Campbell especially knew the circumstances of why he (Johnson) was in Jamaica and did not treat him less than any other man.  Truth be told, Campbell would not ever trust Johnson but also was aware that Johnson himself accepted that he was a crook of the first order and both men were comfortable with that truth.

 

Johnson the eternal competitor always seeking to be in front had a history of having some of the best fighters over the years and this year was no exception.  He hired a Dutchman, Wilhelm Vander Veek, a mercenary soldier and the meanest sort of man.  On top of being Johnson’s top fighter he was also Johnson’s foreman and was a brutal keeper of men.  His treatment of the slaves in his ‘care’ spread far and wide and all on Campbell’s ranch felt blessed even with Peter Blood.

 

As a mercenary Vander Veek toured the world prior to landing in Jamaica.  A few years previously he had defeated the British HW champion and had not lost a fight in years.  On top of being brutal, he was a very skilled fighter, very tough by all accounts as he had never been dropped by a punch, exceedingly patient, working his opponents into positions where he would render them unconscious.  He was well known for prolonging fights in order to deliver more punishment to the point where some spectators would look away as he would work over another victim.  He enjoyed pain, even his own.

 

Now though Johnson was grateful to Campbell for taking Mary on at his plantation, word had leaked that she was seeking the affections of Jack and from the sound of things, she “was getting it good”.  Johnson immediately hated Jack!  How dare this nigger?  He had to be taught a lesson!

 

Johnson spotted Campbell and Jack across the factory and motioned to Vander Veek to join him as he made his way over towards them.  Both Campbell and Jack saw Johnson and knew exactly what he was after.  As they neared, Campbell feigned surprise at Johnson and extended his hand in welcome.

 

“Good morning Bob, how do you fare this fine day?”

“Just fine Mark Campbell!  Just fine, thank you for asking!  You know my man Wilhelm Vander Veek?”  Bob turned slightly so both Campbell and Jack could have full view of this intimidating man.

 

As Vander Veek was beneath Campbell’s station, all he got from him was a slight nod and from Jack, whose eyes were fixed to some point on the floor as was a slaves place, there was no response.

 

Bob pushed on, “For all of the years we have had the fights you have yet to enter a fighter.  Why is that?’

 

“Well to tell you the truth Bob, I have fought wars!  From hand to hand combat to leading men to their deaths for causes I neither knew the why or the where for but for God and country.”  Both Johnson and Vander Veek were reminded once again that they were in the presence of England’s most decorated soldier.

 

Order had to be reestablished to dose Johnson’s fire.   Campbell continued “I don’t mind being a spectator from time to time but I certainly do not need that as a focus with so many pressing duties running my businesses.”  Again, another reminder that Campbell’s plantation was bigger earned more and hence superior.

 

But Bob would not rest.  “All well and good but I see that you travel with young Jack here and rumor has it he has yet to be bested by any opponent in hand to hand combat.”  That is quite a feat don’t you agree Wilhelm?”

 

Vander Veek staring directly at Jack who was still staring at the floor retorted, “Not so sure sire.  All his competition is on this island.  He may be very good but it would be difficult to judge by taking any other mans’ word sire.”

 

Jack looked up then.  The challenge had been placed   and accepted.

“Well as his owner I can assure you that Jack will not be entered into these bouts and two, he will be doing no fighting.  The boy is seventeen years old and you wish to pit him against a grown man, considered champion of the world?  He has more than enough competition here to keep him busy does he not?”

 

“Pardon my insolence Massa Campbell, it would be an honor to spar with the greatest fighter in the world.  Mr. Vander Veek is a legend!”  Jack feigned humility as best he could.

 

“Well it is settled then!” Johnson beamed.

 

“What is settled Bob?” Campbell inquired.  “Are you implying that my slave makes the decisions for his life while I stand mere inches from him?”

 

“Please forgive my haste Captain Campbell.  I meant no disrespect.  I was caught up with two fighters who seemed eager for action.  I meant no disrespect to you sir.”  Bob groveled well enough.

 

“Let me think on it and I’ll get back to you.”  Campbell maintaining control of the situation, even though he knew Jack wanted this challenge.

Title:Jack - Three Finger Jack - The Spirit of JamaicaFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:July 10, 2013Publisher:Julian KingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN:9990006219685

Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good title name I found it to be an easy reading story. It took you 'in' right from the beginning. Since I had no knowledge of this tale, I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next and how it ends. Got to quickly identify the character strengths of some and weaknesses of others. Loved how it finished, leaving the mind wanting to know more of the "Spirit of Jamaica". It is inspiring but yet very saddening to know how people were (and are still) treated. I know I will read it again and again.
Date published: 2013-07-19