Cover Image: Rebellion's Message

Rebellion's Message

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

We meet Jack Blackjack  at a time when he is part of a gang of pick pockets. The gang is run by Bill with his lady love Moll. In London in 1554 at the time of Queen Mary there is great unrest with an army from Kent on the march lead by Wyatt. Jack will find he was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he has to go on the run for murder. Jack has many spies and assassins on his trail but the humour of how he survives is the main plot of our story. This book really takes you deep into the ever changing times of this period of London.
I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
My thanks to Black Thorn for a digital edition via NetGalley of Michael Jecks’ ‘Rebellion’s Message’ in exchange for an honest review. It was originally published in 2016 and is being rereleased on 5 December 2019 in paperback and digital editions.

This is the first in Jecks’ Bloody Mary Mystery series and is the origin story of his roguish anti-hero, Jack Blackjack.

It opens in London during the winter of 1554. Queen Mary has only recently come to the throne and there is unrest due to her intention to marry a Spanish prince. A rebellion is gathering force led by Thomas Wyatt. 

These matters don’t concern light-fingered Jack Blackjack, who is only seeking his latest ‘gull’. Yet his life changed dramatically when he finds himself waking in a tavern yard with a sore head, a blood streaked knife in his hand, and a dead stranger beside him. Jack knows that he had robbed the man but was certain that he didn’t kill him. The purse that he had lifted contains something more valuable than money. Not only does Jack become the main suspect for the murder but various parties are keen to acquire those contents placing Jack’s life in  mortal danger.

This short novel was packed with action as Jack tumbles from one crises to another and finds himself thrust into the middle of political intrigues. Who can he trust? 

I recently read the latest novel in the series, ‘The Dead Don’t Wait’ and while I enjoyed it, I did note that I found it hard to relate to Jack’s personality. Therefore, I welcomed seeing this earlier novel offered for review as it provided the necessary background of how Jack came to be the person that he is in the later novel. 

Jack emerges very much as a survivor. Quick-witted, naive at times, he narrates his life story in a very entertaining way. The battles that take place defending London from the rebels are visceral and it was like being smack in the middle of the fighting. 

Jecks does a brilliant job of bringing the gritty streets of 16th Century London vividly to life. Clearly he has deeply researched the period and yet conveys that information effortlessly. As readers we learn alongside Jack of the various intrigues that are threatening to tear the country apart. 

I am now looking forward to reading the middle two novels in the near future.
Was this review helpful?
Overall a solid, decent story. 

Everything about this for me is solidly average - and this isn't a bad thing.  It's not overly complicated and the characters aren't overly complex.  It's an easy book to read commuting or other places where your concentration could be broken regularly. 

I thought it was little contrived in places and I'm not really a fan of 1st person but for other people that won't be a problem or it will even be a positive!
Was this review helpful?
This Author is one of those rare ones who can bring a time and place to life - fully immersing her readers so much so that you can almost smell the dirt , feel the tensions of the times , the ability to survive paramount .

Jack Blackjack once again finds himself in a perilous predicament - how many times will he awaken from a blow to the head with a dead body by his side ?
Jack soon finds that there are two different parties in the chase to find him - those who wish to dethrone the Queen and those who are working for the safety of the Queen. For the dead man was carrying a coded message , now missing , along with Jack's dagger in his body  and both side want it .
Jack is now fleeing  , desperate to find out who has framed him - Oh , he also has the problem of not knowing who he can trust , there is certainly no honour amongst thieves .

This is engaging book featuring Jack and his cronies - following his life as a cut purse , his love for 
Moll, Bill's girlfriend and their will to survive at all costs .
 All I can say is that this book was thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to more in the same vein in the future .

I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
There are so many things I love about this book.  The time period is my favorite and who doesn't love a mystery?  Jack Blackjack is a thief that bounces from one situation to another. Set during the rebellion to remove Queen Mary, Jack finds himself in a traitorous plot.  It is a pure delight to see how he gets himself out of the mess he has found himself in.
Was this review helpful?
Jack Blackjack is a cutpurse that bumbles from one harrowing situation to another. Set during the rebellion to remove Queen Mary, Jack gets entwined in a traitorous plot.  There is a lot going on in this book and the writing is solid. However, I just never connected to Jack.  This is my personal taste and not a reflection on the author or his skill. I just don't seem to care for characters that ride life like a bobbing apple in a swift current.  There is humor and complexity to the writing. It is obvious that Jecks has researched and knows his subject. London comes alive, you will experience the sights and smells of the 16th century.
Was this review helpful?
Rebellion's Message by Michael Jecks is a cautionary tale, which takes place at the time of Mary of England and during Wyatt's Rebellion when the nation was afraid that Mary was going to marry Philip of Spain and essentially turn their country over to him. Jack is a relatively successful cutpurse who spends his days among whores and thieves and night among the same. He is a member of a household run by Bill who takes h is earnings and redistributes them, mostly to himself but in return provides safe shelter and food and ale. One day young Jack is in a tavern when he is passed a purse another has stolen. It is good and heavy and thrilled at his luck, Jack moves to leave the tavern. One in the courtyard, Jack is hit over the head and when he awakens he finds he is lying next to a dead man. Knowing what it will mean if he is found this way, he wisely takes off, going the only place he knows he will be safe, home. He turns the purse over to Bill and tells his story. Bill extricates the coin and tosses the purse back to Jack. Jack discovers a false bottom and within in it a small piece of parchment with something written, but it is in code. Gil, another of his mates takes a liking to the fancy purse, so Jack gives it to him sans message. Thus begins a time where seemingly everyone is London is after Jack and the message and no one seems to be honest about which side of the rebellion they are on and who, if any, can be trusted to not try to kill Jack. With many close calls under his belt, he tries to figure a way to get out of London to safety. People are dying. He doesn't want to be one of them.

I have loved Michael Jecks' writing since reading his Templar series years ago. This is a similar story, yet different. 
Jack is a hapless fellow. Obviously his choice of profession comes with certain innate dangers and yet he is a good guy. He is honest, relatively and non-political, although he is pulled into political intrigue. He is unable to hide, which given the size of the city, even then, is amazing. Everyone he meets is out for themselves, which sometimes gets them killed, and always threatens to get him killed. It is a face-paced intrigue, true to the time, which was one of upheaval and uncertainty. It is an interesting read, a "fun" read, if you will and one I enjoyed. I recommend it to anglophiles and history readers. Enjoy!

I received a free ARC of Rebellions's Message from Netgalley. All opinions and interpretations contained herein are solely my own. #netgalley  #rebellionsmessage
Was this review helpful?
First book I read in this series and won't surely be the last.
I liked the well researched historical background, the well crafted plot that kept me hooked, and the solid mystery that kept me guessing.
It was an engrossing and entertaining read, masterly told and extremely engaging.
I look forward to reading other books in this series.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
Was this review helpful?
I had not read any of Jecks' Bloody Mary series before and this rerelease intrigued me. It was exactly muy sorg of story - a thoroughly morally grey protagonist with his back against the wall and a band of not so loveabld rogues pitted against dangerous and difficult odds in the filthy streets of tudor London. The history is meticulously researched and Jecks has managed to comfortably walk the line between accuracy and relatability for the modern reader. This was fast paced, cleverly plotted and thoroughly immersive. Highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
I first reviewed Rebellion's Message in 2016. Before going any further, I must say I do like the cover for this new digital edition. I loved Jack Blackjack when I first met him and have continued to shake my head over his wayward journey. He's somewhat like that annoying younger brother, always walking deeper and deeper into trouble, and then wondering how on earth things had come to pass. Thankfully, like a cat with nine lives, he seems to land on his feet, even if the landing is somewhat shaky. 
Jack being Jack, and me being me, I am incorporating parts of my review from two years ago.  Rebellion's Message was the first in a Tudor mystery series rife with "intrigue, deadly court politics, a roguish, likeable anti hero, and murder-- all centered on the firm historical detail of the period during the rebellion of 1554 lead by Jane Grey supporters against Queen Mary."
An "engaging mystery tale told by a bumbling young scapegoat, Jack Blackjack who has the perfectly respectable occupation of a cut purse, living off his wits, along with his fellow gang members, all lead by the nasty piece of work, Bill Tanner. Not your band of merry men, rather a group of people living in squalor, thieving and more to make a living. Jack is besotted by the lovely Moll, Bill's girlfriend."
"Jack becomes unknowingly caught up in the rebellion. (He just never looks around the corners!) One minute he's stealing a purse, the next he finds himself coming to consciousness with a dagger in his hand, a dead body beside him and lump on his head. Taking off ahead of the hue and cry, Jack's road to discovering who framed him is littered with dead bodies, traitors, and important personages."
In 2016, I termed Rebellion's Message as masterly and I must say I continue to stand by that opinion. Jack Blackjack will always be one of my fav. Tudor rogues, that's when I'm not holding my head in my hands despairingly, muttering, "Really Jack!"

A BlackThorn ARC via NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
I haven't read a Michael Jecks book since The Last Templar and The Templars Acre, and I only belatedly remembered 2 things, when I started reading The Rebellious Message, which were, Firstly, the previous books were meticulously researched and the language of the time, was authentic and employed, and secondly, I spent a lot of time searching my dictionary and Thesaurus to make sense of the words used!! 
In that respect, nothing has changed!. Set in Tudor times, Queen Mary is on the throne, but there is an uprising against her, from Wat Tyler and the men of Kent. Not everyone is in favour of the new Catholic religion , and the idea of King Phillip of Spain, ruling this Kingdom is not a welcome idea.
Jack Blackjack, is a pickpocket, who wakes up in a tavern yard, with a thumping headache and a dead man next to him, who is covered in blood, and wearing Jacks knife. Jack knows he didn't kill the man, but before he can investigate further, the hue and cry is raised, and Jack has to run. He soon finds out, that an important coded message, that was concealed in the dead mans purse, has been lost, and this message is crucial to the safety of the Queen and the security of the Realm. Jack is suspected of the murder, and is soon being chased by those who wish to dethrone the Queen and those who are working for the safety of the Queen. The rebellion by the Men of Kent, throws another spanner into the works, as Jack honestly doesn't know who he can trust! There is apparently no honour amongst thieves!! 
This is a strong story of violence and cruelty, when life was cheap and loyalty could be dangerous, as the political scene changed so quickly. 
Jack Blackjack, and his other aliases, is a competent and at times, confused narrator, like the reader!. He gets assaulted and knocked out on a regular basis, luckily, before the Glasgow Coma Scale came into being!. The dirty and seedy side of London is well portrayed. The battle descriptions are vivid and intense, and the frantic action around the deadly streets of London, like a deadly cat and mouse hunt, is skilfully played out, so it is hard to know ,which side is winning or whom to feel sorry for!. 
I never guessed the murderer! I felt the greatest sympathy for young Jack, all through the book, and I wasn't disappointed by the ending!. I found this to be a most enjoyable romp through Tudor London,and highly educational to boot!. I have rated this as a 5 star read, and will endeavour to keep up to date with this fascinating series.
Was this review helpful?