Jean-Baptiste, Jack, Swift begins his journey as an English loblolly boy, a surgeon’s untrained assistant, caught up in the Battle of Trafalgar. As a native-born Frenchman, Jack soon volunteers on a clandestine mission for King and Country into France, disguised as a dragoon in Napoleon’s light cavalry. His task is to discover whether the French Navy will attempt another invasion of England following its defeat at Trafalgar. But, an unexpected course of events takes Jack far afield of his intended goal, to the battlefields of Jena in Prussia. In the exploits and dangers that follow, Jack learns the meaning of courage, duty, responsibility, and finds the love of his life.
Human nature does not change through the ages. But, cultures and societies, their rules and expectations, the societal norms down to patterns of dress, change dramatically. For Jean-Baptiste LaBerge Swift, “Jack” to his shipmates, his internal struggles are no different from those of any boy in any age on the cusp of manhood. With one exception. His world is involved in a titanic conflict raging across Europe at the beginning of the 19th century. At stake is the world order and its domination by one country, one man. Napoleon Bonaparte had brought a chaotic France back into stability following the French Revolution and Great Terror. But now, Napoleon is bent on expansionism, the control of all of Europe. In 1805, his troops stand ready to sail the English Channel, and invade England. The Army of Invasion is to be protected in its Channel crossing by the mighty Combined Naval Fleet of France and Spain. Only the British Royal Navy can prevent the invasion. That October, English Admiral Horatio Nelson takes on the Combined Fleet off the Cape of Trafalgar. It’s a battle destined to change the course of world history, and our protagonist, Jack Swift, finds himself squarely in the middle of the action.