Humphreys, C.C. (Chris Humphreys)

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Humphreys, C.C. (Chris Humphreys)

PERSONAL:

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada; married; wife's name Aletha; children: one son.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Actor, novelist, and playwright. Actor in plays, including Hamlet, 1994, and The Rivals; actor in television series, including The Bill, 1989-90, Coronation Street, 1990-91, and The Adventures of Shirley Holmes, 1996-2000; actor in films, including Scandal, 1989, Color Me Perfect, 1996, and Out of Bounds, 2004. Also worked variously as a fight choreographer, a bank clerk, a motorcycle messenger, and a wine salesman.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Playwriting award, New Play Centre, for A Cage without Bars; Ian Fleming Steel Dagger finalist, Crime Writers Association, 2002, for The French Executioner.

WRITINGS:

PLAYS

A Cage without Bars, produced in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, at New Play Centre, 1993.

Glimpses of the Moon, produced in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, at Lunchbox Theatre, 1996.

Also author of Touching Wood.

"FRENCH EXECUTIONER" SERIES

The French Executioner, McArthur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2001.

Blood Ties, McArthur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003.

"JACK ABSOLUTE" SERIES

Jack Absolute, McArthur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2003, Thomas Dunne Books (New York, NY), 2006.

The Blooding of Jack Absolute, McArthur (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2004.

Absolute Honour, McArthur and Company (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2006.

OTHER

(As Chris Humphreys) The Fetch, (Book One of "The Runestone Saga"), Random House (New York, NY), 2006.

Author of Quintessence of Dust Web log.

SIDELIGHTS:

Canadian playwright, actor, and novelist C.C. Humphreys is the author of a number of acclaimed works of historical fiction, including The French Executioner and Jack Absolute. In addition, Humphreys has written the award-winning drama A Cage without Bars, as well as The Fetch, a fantasy novel for young adults.

Humphreys published his first novel, The French Executioner, in 2001. The work concerns Jean Rombaud, an expert swordsman who is brought over from France to behead Anne Boleyn, the wife of Henry VIII. Just prior to her execution, Boleyn asks Rombaud to sever and bury her six-fingered hand—a powerful talisman—at a sacred crossroad, a request that places Rombaud in grave danger. In the sequel, Blood Ties, Gianni Rombaud is ordered by the leaders of the Inquisition to locate Boleyn's missing hand, pitting the executioner's son against his father.

Humphreys based the roguish protagonist of his "Jack Absolute" series on a character he once portrayed in The Rivals, a play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. "I loved playing Jack Absolute," the author told Danuta Kean on the Orion Books Web site. "It was one of the few roles in my career that I really absolutely connected with. One of my main motivations for being an actor was to leap around with a sword. That style of play was definitely my forte—slap a thigh-length boot on me, give me a rapier and I am your man!"

In the series opener, Jack Absolute, Jack reluctantly agrees to work with British commanders during the American Revolution. Skilled at hunting, code-breaking, and espionage, Jack is assigned to make contact with the Mohawk tribes and convince them to join forces with the Redcoats. During his travels, Jack uncovers the Illuminati, a secret society with mysterious intent. A critic in Kirkus Reviews deemed Jack Absolute a "breathless adventure, packed with sword fights, battles, dastardly rivals, disposable women and more narrow escapes than a cat has lives." According to a Publishers Weekly contributor, "Humphreys combines historical detail, a larger-than-life hero, clever plotting and fast pacing to craft a thoroughly entertaining historical adventure."

In The Blooding of Jack Absolute, a prequel to Jack Absolute, sixteen-year-old Jack leaves Westminster School in shame and joins the British army. Sent to North America during the French and Indian War, Jack survives the Siege of Quebec and the infamous St. Francis raid. "Compelling and threatening in turn, this is a novel with not only a strong sense of place but also a mesmerising storyline," observed Ayo Onatade on the Shots Magazine Web site. After helping capture a French warship, Jack returns to England where he discovers a plot to assassinate King George in Absolute Honour. "It is a grand action read, rolling along with passion and drama; thoroughly enjoyable," wrote Sarah Abel on the Shots Magazine Web site.

In 2006, Humphreys published The Fetch, his first work for teen readers. Born with a caul over his face, fifteen-year-old Sky finds a chest containing a set of runestones that belonged to his Norwegian grandfather. Sky also discovers his fetch, a spirit double that can travel through time and space. Guided by his grandfather's voice and his cousin, Kristin, Sky journeys to the past where he meets his Viking ancestors. "Humphreys's writing is tense and atmospheric, and both Sky and Kristin are well-developed, interesting characters," noted School Library Journal reviewer Christi Voth.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July 1, 2006, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Fetch, p. 49.

Canadian Book Review Annual, 2002, review of The French Executioner, p. 166.

Globe and Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), December 14, 2002, review of The French Executioner, p. D34; August 5, 2006, Paul Butler, "Absolute Intrigue," review of Absolute Honour, p. D9.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2006, review of Jack Absolute, p. 744.

Publishers Weekly, July 31, 2006, review of Jack Absolute, p. 46.

School Library Journal, December, 2006, Christi Voth, review of The Fetch, p. 146.

ONLINE

MyShelf.com,http://www.myshelf.com/ (March 14, 2007), Rachel A. Hyde, review of Absolute Honour.

Orion Books Web site,http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/ (February 20, 2006), Danuta Kean, "Chris Humphreys Tells Danuta Kean Why He Loves Writing Historical Fiction."

Shots Magazine,http://www.shotsmag.co.uk/ (March 14, 2007), Ayo Onatade, review of The Blooding of Jack Absolute; Sarah Abel, review of Absolute Honour.