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Jack of Diamonds by Bryce Courtenay
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Jack of Diamonds (edition 2012)

by Bryce Courtenay

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434267,810 (3.5)1
Member:Suzannie1
Title:Jack of Diamonds
Authors:Bryce Courtenay
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Hardcover, 720 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Jack of Diamonds by Bryce Courtenay

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Set across three continents, Jack of Diamonds is a spellbinding story of chance, music, corruption and love. During the Great Depression there was little hope for a boy born into the slums of Cabbagetown, Toronto. But Jack Spayd is offered a ticket out in the form of a Hohner harmonica, won by his brutal drunken father in a late-night card game. Jack makes music as a way of escaping his surroundings, and his talent leads him to a jazz club and, eventually, to the jazz piano. Jack is a virtuoso and hits the road, enchanting audiences in Canada, wartime Europe and Las Vegas, where he is caught up in the world of elite poker and falls under the spell of his boss, the enigmatic Bridgett Fuller. Vegas is a hard town ruled by the Mafia, but Jack prospers, until his luck turns bad and he falls foul of the Mob. Forced to run for his life from Vegas, he must also leave the woman he adores. His adventuring takes him to the far reaches of Africa, to a rare and valuable bird that may seal his fate – and to the love of a very different woman. Bryce Courtenay writes in a moving Epilogue that Jack of Diamonds will be his last novel. If poker was an addiction then music was an overwhelming obsession; one could never replace the other in my life.

### About the Author

Bryce Courtenay is the bestselling author of The Power of One, Tandia, April Fool's Day, The Potato Factory, Tommo & Hawk, Solomon's Song, Jessica, A Recipe for Dreaming, The Family Frying Pan, The Night Country, Smoky Joe's Cafe, Four Fires, Matthew Flinders' Cat, Brother Fish, Whitethorn, Sylvia, The Persimmon Tree, Fishing for Stars, The Story of Danny Dunn and Fortune Cookie. The Power of One is also available in an edition for younger readers, and Jessica has been made into an award-winning television miniseries. Bryce Courtenay lives in Canberra. Visit Bryce on Facebook: facebook.com/BryceCourtenay ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
good but a bit repetatitive , simple as compared to his first book writings - almost too simple I thought , Jack is too good to be true , and its a very long book to read! As i t was his last book I suppose you cant complain! ( )
  Suzannie1 | Jan 8, 2013 |
My first Bryce Courtenay book. And I must say I wasn't disappointed. The story follows Jack Spayd from childhood in the slums of Toronto during the Great Depression. Through the various life decisions he makes to become a great Jazz pianist and more than useful poker player. Unfortunately he falls foul of the Mafia in Las Vegas and high tails it to Africa, where unfortunately he falls foul of the miners he works with. But it all ends well in London. A very entertaining book in which the master storyteller really shows his skill. ( )
  Bruce_McNair | Dec 30, 2012 |
Jack Spayd begins his life during the Great Depression in a Toronto slum, sharing a home with his drunkard father and battered mother. Life changes for Jack following the gift of a mouthorgan, and a natural talent and a love of jazz music , when he is introduced to the Jazz Warehouse and the benevolence of it's owner. When Jack reaches 18 he enlists in the army and emerges from the war with a medal for bravery. He then heads to Las Vegas to establish his jazz career but instead makes an enemy of the Mafia which forces him to flee to Africa.

This was quite a long, rambling book. The story was Ok and it was easy reading, but not riveting.

Bryce Courtenay died not long after publishing this book ( )
  TheWasp | Dec 30, 2012 |
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Harry Spayd was a drunk. He was also my father, but the only thing he contributed to my childhood was a sense of unremitting terror.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670076074, Hardcover)

Born and raised in a poor, working-class family in Toronto, Jack Spayd is the son of an unhappy marriage. But when he is given a harmonica as a young boy, he discovers a talent for music that will change his life forever. After being taken under the wing of 'Miss Frostbite', the owner of a local jazz club, Jack becomes a gifted musician, playing piano and harmonica. After the death of his mother, he travels to Las Vegas and finds work in the clubs there, but is increasingly drawn to gambling. He earns a reputation as a good player, which brings him to the attention of the mafia. Jack wants to join the professional circuit, and to do that he needs serious money behind him. It's this need that sees him travel to the Belgian Congo, where he's heard it's possible to earn big money working in the most dangerous parts of the local copper mines. He gradually falls in love with Africa - and then with a beautiful Ethiopian woman. They move to London, where they bring up a daughter who becomes a supermodel. In a dramatic twist, the story returns to Africa - and to a fortune in diamonds. Jack of Diamonds is the story of a young, talented man, fighting to achieve his ambitions, and having to use his considerable talents to find his way in a perilous world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:32 -0400)

Born and raised in a poor, working-class family in Toronto, Jack Spayd is the son of an unhappy marriage. But when he is given a harmonica as a young boy, he discovers a talent for music that will change his life forever. After being taken under the wing of 'Miss Frostbite', the owner of a local jazz club, Jack becomes a gifted musician, playing piano and harmonica. After the death of his mother, he travels to Las Vegas and finds work in the clubs there, but is increasingly drawn to gambling. He earns a reputation as a good player, which brings him to the attention of the mafia. Jack wants to join the professional circuit, and to do that he needs serious money behind him. It's this need that sees him travel to the Belgian Congo, where he's heard it's possible to earn big money working in the most dangerous parts of the local copper mines. He gradually falls in love with Africa - and then with a beautiful Ethiopian woman. They move to London, where they bring up a daughter who becomes a supermodel. In a dramatic twist, the story returns to Africa - and to a fortune in diamonds. Jack of Diamonds is the story of a young, talented man, fighting to achieve his ambitions, and having to use his considerable talents to find his way in a perilous world.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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