Ranking of John Jakes’ “KENT FAMILY CHRONICLES” Series

Below is my ranking of the eight novels written during the 1970s by John Jakes, as part of his “Kent Family Chronicles”series:

RANKING OF JOHN JAKES’ “KENT FAMILY CHRONICLES” SERIES

1. “The Bastard” (1974) – Set between 1770 and 1775; this novel introduces Philip Kent, the founder of the Kent family and bastard son of a French actress and an English peer. He settles in Boston after his father’s family denies him his rightful inheritance and becomes involved with the Sons of Liberty and the independence movement from England.

2. “The Titans” (1976) – The novel follows the experiences of preacher-turned-journalist Jeptha Kent, family friend Michael Boyle and Jeptha’s estranged oldest son, a Confederate cavalry officer named Gideon Kent; during the first year of the Civil War.

3. “The Americans” (1979) – The last novel in the series, set during the 1880s, focuses on Gideon’s only son, Will, who plans to become a doctor; his actress daughter Eleanor, who experiences tragedy during the Johnstown Flood; and his cousin/stepson Carter, who becomes involved in politics.

4. “The Furies” (1976) – Philip Kent’s granddaughter, Amanda, experiences the Siege at the Alamo, the California Gold Rush and the abolitionist movement in New York City between 1836 and 1852. Her cousin Jeptha Kent becomes estranged from his Virginia wife and sons, after he embraces the abolitionist cause.

5. “The Seekers” (1975) – Considered the darkest chapter in the saga, the first half of the novel focuses on Philip’s son, Abraham, and his experiences in the Ohio Valley as a soldier and later, as a settler in the 1790s. The second half focuses on Abraham’s son, Jared, and his experiences during the War of 1812; and a fateful journey to the West in which he and his cousin Amanda are brutally separated.

6. “The Warriors” (1977) – Jeptha’s youngest son, Jeremiah Kent, endures the consequences of William Sherman’s infamous march through Georgia as a Confederate soldier. The end of the Civil War finds family friend Michael Boyle as a worker on the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad in the Nebraska Territory; and Gideon Kent, whose work at a New Jersey rail yard and support of a union leads to a confrontation with his wealthy cousin Louis Kent, Amanda’s son.

7. “The Lawless” (1978) – After inheriting Jeptha Kent’s fortune in 1871; Gideon becomes an avid newspaper owner, romances his cousin Louis’ former wife Julia, and continues his involvement of the union cause. Meanwhile, his brother Matt experiences the start of the Franco-Prussian War in Paris; and his younger brother Jeremiah becomes a gunfighter and later, hired gun for an enemy of Gideon’s.

8. “The Rebels” (1975) – This second novel follows Philip Kent’s experiences during the American Revolution. It also focuses on the son of a Virginia planter’s son named Judson Fletcher, who will become the father of Philip’s future daughter-in-law.

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