Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Book Boyfriend: Jack Barak from The Matthew Shardlake Mysteries

A weekly meme from The Unread Reader
Talk about your fictional crush!

"A hard eye and a fighter's build, as I had observed before. A heavy sword at his hip and a dagger too at his belt. But there was intelligence in his eyes and in the wide, sensual mouth, whose upturned corners seemed made for mockery."

~Matthew Shardlake describing Jack Barak in C.J. Sansom's Dark Fire

How to choose my very first book boyfriend? Ok, ok--it wasn't a hard choice. Jack Barak popped straight into my head. Who doesn't like a bad boy?

Jack is from C.J. Sansom's Matthew Shardlake Mysteries, which are set in Tudor London. He begins as one of Cromwell's thugs--but he soon proves to Matthew, the 'crookback' lawyer, that's there more to him.
How do I picture Jack Barak? As Karl Urban--except in Tudor clothing.
Jack's a descendant of converso Jews. Unlike Matthew, he doesn't worry his head with questions about the nature of the Divine or the problems of the Reformation. And he's not a man of strong faith. He's just fiercely attached to his Jewish heritage--a fact he wisely keeps quiet.

Under Cromwell's orders, Jack helps Matthew solve the mystery in Dark Fire. Jack grows to like and respect the hunch-backed lawyer, so when Henry VIII beheads Cromwell, he takes Matthew as his new master. But that's a formality. By then the two men are on their way to a real friendship and treat each other more-or-less as equals.

There's a romance for Jack in Sovereign, with a woman who's not likely to put up with his carousing and infidelities. But can Jack settle down? Fortunately that's not my problem. I don't want to marry Jack, after all. Keeping him as a book boyfriend suits me just fine, thanks!


  1. Ooh...I LOVE Karl Urban, and that description seems to fit him. I've never heard of this series before, but it sounds like a good one!

  2. Hmm...great choice! Karl Urban is definitely a looker!

    Here's mine:

  3. @Sara It's a wonderful series, especially if you like the Tudor period! Unfortunately, Jack doesn't come in until the second book (which is Dark Fire.) But it's still worthwhile to read the first one (Dissolution).

    @SimpleLoveofReading Yeah--it's hard to go wrong with Karl Urban!

    @Nic Lol--Yum is the right word!

  4. Very cool pick! I hadn't heard about this series before but I'll have to check it out soon.

    Especially if one of the characters looks like Karl Urban. :)

  5. @csilibrarian Lol! Well, if memory serves, Sansom never describes Jack much beyond the description I quoted. But going by that, I think Karl Urban is perfect!

  6. Jack Barack is my first fictional Crush too!! :-)

  7. I love this series of books, and am a huge Jack Barak fan too! I never bother reading Dissolution these days; Mark was such a wet blanket. But from Dark Fire onward, with the introduction of Barak, and later Tamasin, these are exceptionally good reads! As a Barak fan, when you read Lamentation...dear lord! I almost spat the dummy!!!