Set across three continents, Jack of Diamonds is
a spellbinding story of chance, music, corruption
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 thatJack
be his last novel.
If poker was an addiction then music was an
overwhelming obsession; one could never replace the
other in my life.
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