Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Fort, Bernard Cornwell

Publishers: HarperCollins

Pages: 464

Main Characters:

Lieutenant John Moore, Paul Revere

The Fort is one of Cornwell’s latest novels and tells the tale of the Penobscot expedition of 1779. Where a small garrison of seven hundred British troops held an unfinished fort on the coast of Maine from a determined rebel army. The rebel army, sent by the state of Massachusetts, consisted of nine hundred men along with forty two ships. The Fort tells the story from the British and American sides as they both focus on capturing or keeping Fort George.

For me, I think this was one of my least favourite books Bernard Cornwell has written. I think it lacked the grandeur that his other novels have. What I mean by this is that most of his other novels are set during a certain period of history. His Saxon Tales are set in the period of the Viking invasion, his Grail Quest is set in the period of the Hundred Years war and his Sharpe novels are set in the Napoleonic era. Now I know some people will say “well, The Fort is set in the era of the American Revolution” and it is, but it is just focused on the assault on Fort George which I think is a bit too narrow. I think if this book included more of the history from the other parts of the American Revolution then I would have found it a lot more entertaining.

That’s not to say it was a bad book. As usual the detail Cornwell puts into this book is as good as any other. His description of the cove where Fort George is placed is also excellent and really helps you imagine the landscape the rebels and the British fought over. But, unlike his other novels I didn’t feel there was a defined main character, which for me is one of my favourite parts of Cornwell’s writing, there’s always a hero! I think that Cornwell focuses on numerous characters in this book because they are all key people in the revolutionary war. However for someone like me who does not know that much about the war, these names go ‘straight over my head’ and the importance of the characters is lost on me. I know this might sound abit ignorant (and it is!) I should look up who these people are, but to be honest, this book gave me no motivation to do so.

Like I said, this wasn’t a bad book but I just didn’t seem to connect with it the way I have done with Cornwell’s other books. I think if you are interested in the Revolutionary war then you would like this book much more than me. Maybe if Cornwell brings out a sequel and elaborates on how the Penobscot expedition affected the outcome of the War of Independence, then I would enjoy it more.

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