When I first saw these books written by Bernard Cornwell I had no desire to read them. Yes they are written by my favourite author and yes they are very highly acclaimed as some of Cornwell’s best work but still I didn’t want to read them. I think this was because at the time I had no desire to read about American History. For me I thought U.S. history was too modern as I preferred more Medieval history (why I had no problem reading Cornwell’s other novels like Azincourt) and therefore didn’t feel the Starbuck Chronicles would appeal to me. However when I came to university I had a module on American history, from the War of Independence to 9/11. I became absolutely hooked, especially the foreign policy, so then decided to turn my attention back to the Starbuck Chronicles, and I’m glad I did they were brilliant!
Rebel is the first book in the four part series of the Starbuck Chronicles. The book starts out with Nathanial, the son of a famous anti-slavery preacher, getting caught in the South when the Civil War begins. After been caught in the South because of his famous name, Nathanial is saved from been tar and feathered by the father of his close friend Washington Faulconer. As the war starts Nathanial ‘Nate’ is split between his loyalties. Does he return to his father, who despises him for running away with a French actress or stay in the South where his friends are and become a soldier in their army. Nate chooses the latter deciding to stay and fight with the Confederacy and make his name in the army.
Nate finds himself becoming a staff member in Washington Faulconer’s Legion. A core trained and paid for by Faulconer to be part of the Confederate army. As the Legion marches into the first battle of the War, Nate is dismissed for his actions in blowing up the North’s main rail supply bridge. As Nate returns to headquarters he stumbles into the Northern army's flacking force. Rushing back to the Legion he warns his General of the flanking force and helps lead the Confederate army to its first victory of the war.
As I said above I thought this book was brilliant. As usual it was filled with detail, from the names of the commanders of the armies, or the movement of the troops, or the way Cornwell portrays the battles, it really created an image of what fighting in a 19th Century army was like. The book also shows how people’s loyalties were divided during the Civil War. And how not everybody from the North and South were united in the beliefs that a war was been fought over.
This was a brilliant book, great for anyone who is a interested in the Civil War as Cornwell really brings the history alive with his story telling. I would also suggest this book to anyone who is a fan of Cornwell’s Sharpe novels, as I always see Nate as the American version of Richard Sharpe. Great read can’t wait to review the next one!For author’s official website click here