While the major fighting of the war moves to the south in the summer of 1779, a British force of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry, backed by three sloops-of-war, sails to the desolate and fog-bound coast of New England. Establishing a garrison and naval base at Penobscot Bay, in the eastern province of Massachusetts that would become Maine, the Scots - the only British troops between Canada and New York - harry rebel privateers and give shelter to American loyalists.
In response, Massachusetts sends a fleet of more than 40 vessels and some 1,000 infantrymen to "captivate, kill or destroy" the foreign invaders. Second in command is Peleg Wadsworth, a veteran of the battles at Lexington and Long Island, once aide to General Washington, and a man who sees clearly what must be done to expel the invaders.
But ineptitude and irresolution lead to a mortifying defeat - and have stunning repercussions for two men on opposite sides: an untested 18-year-old Scottish lieutenant named John Moore, who will begin an illustrious military career; and a Boston silversmith and patriot named Paul Revere, who will face court-martial for disobedience and cowardice.
Grounded firmly in history, inimitably told in Cornwell's thrilling narrative style, The Fort is the extraordinary novel of this fascinating clash between a superpower and a nation in the making.
©2010 Bernard Cornwell (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
"Grounded firmly in history, inimitably told in Cornwell's thrilling narrative style, The Fort is the extraordinary novel of this fascinating clash between a superpower and a nation in the making." (Amazon.com review)
It's hard when your favorite author puts out a book which is just simply so tedious you can't finish. I believe Cornwell is nothing short of a genius so I cannot imagine why he chose to use as a story line a particularly unimportant piece of history and then have no character driven drama aound it.
I am a huge Cornwell fan. I have read every book he's written and the Sharpe's books at least twice. The man can make soap bubbles sound exciting; but not this time. The numerous characters took a long time to develop and then the lead characters didn't do very much in the book. He created some likeable characters but didn't really test them or put them under the gun. I love history so I didn't mind the trivial side notes and the historical detail but this info didn't add much to the story. Usually Cornwell takes the historical detail and weaves it into the story in a way that allows the reader to "feel" the history and it is done so artfully that it enhances the story and puts the reader in the middle of the action. Instead this book felt disjointed and the characters and events somewhat random and disconnected. Sometimes the side notes were interesting, like the dialogue where the militia has to eat crow and request help from the continental regulars but there was no follow up in the story where this information comes back as part of the story. I wanted to know what happened and how the event affected the outcome but the author never explained. The book takes a long time to break into action and the tone of the book at first seems rather light and the characters somewhat comical, then boom the battle starts and body parts start flying. I was somewhat startled by the transition. One of the things that I enjoy from this author is the anticipation of the action. Usually as the characters are developed in a Cornwell book they are placed in increasingly tense situations and conflict until the whole story starts to race downhill. By the time the reader is thrust into the battle sequences the story is at a full gallop and the reader is right in the middle of the action. Not this time. The reader was also very weak. I will pretend that Cornwell's evil twin wrote this one and will wait with unbridled anticipation for the next Cornwell novel.
simply put, it has been two months of trying and I can not get through this book. Dull, tedious and in need of better narration.
sad because I have listened to every book Bernard Cornwell has available an purchased without thought, or reading review and this time I must say, don't spend the credit.
I've listened to several Cornwell books on Audible. Usually they're compelling, tense and with superb narration. While this one held my interest, the tension was a little forced, the narrator simply "acceptable" and the audio quality suspect in places (at least places other than a school gymnasium).
I'm not clear on why the characters are a little more shallow than the typical Cornwell - perhaps he's trying to stick closer to the written record of the Penobscot expidition. I'd have to add that I really appreciate the "Author's Notes" Cornwell includes at the end of his novels, wherein he expands somewhat on the historical context and his departures for the purposes of narrative. That was sadly absent in this edition.
"When I finish a good book, I feel like I've lost a friend." -- My Mom
I don't know of any other author that could have done justice to this bit of American history. It has a lot of charaters... and ships... to keep track of and the narrator does a great job helping to keep them sorted out. The story itself is just plain frustrating and leaves the reader wondering how America ever made it past the Revolutionary War. All that said, it was well worth the credit and time. What an interesting and little known part of our history!
I did find the story interesting but it was almost impossible to listen to this one. Perhaps the narrator could work on other tales adequately, but I will remember his name and question whether to listen to other books he's involved with.
Yes, the book is chock full of amazing and interesting detail in both military and period life that the reader/listener can't help but learn and develop a deeper interest and appreciation of the foundations of the U.S.
David McCullough's 1776
Mr Bowerman delivered an impressive and creative performance. He added depth to each character and created a very vivid picture of the environment, people, and culture of the era.
Peleg Wadsworth, he seemed a competent and undervalued voice to the expedition and added stability in a chaotic environment. Or Francis McLean who seemed beyond competent, stable, and common sensed while exhibiting grace and mercy in the execution of his duties.
Outstanding reading - really brought many different characters to life.
Disappointment - Cornwell is one of the best authors ever, but this is clearly his worst book. A rambling story without an ending. Unlike all his other books.
Skip the Fort and listen to the Richard Sharpe series instead.
Not Cornwell's usual. One of my favorite authors and I can't following the story line if there is one.
Think twice before listening to this one.
First of all, I feel compelled to address those reviewers who feel that the author has fabricated some fanciful fiction, where the glorious British bested the Colonial upstarts at every turn, and suggest they might want to spend some time reading up on the period, and not just our own history or this battle, but also the broader history of the Seven Years War/French-Indian War, French Revolution and Napoleonic era.
If Bernard Cornwell shows any bias in his writings, it's towards his main characters, and often not even then. The only bias he consistently holds is to the facts surrounding the history behind the story. He takes liberties where necessary to drive the story, but works very hard to mold the story to the facts of events in question, not the other way around. The incident in this story actually happened largely as Cornwell has portrayed it. The US Navy, with the exception of John Paul Jones, didn't really come into its own until after the Revolution and didn't become the "scourge of the Royal Navy" until the War of 1812. At this point in our history, it was of little consequence and, as depicted in this book, couldn't compete for men and supplies with their privateer brethren. We formed our army with many misgivings about the idea of having a standing army. It was made up mostly of local militias, with little broad cohesion on a mass scale (the political bickering and communication problems inherent in this model are also featured in the story). We certainly won some major victories with this rag tag civilian army, but it was not the professional army that the Royal Army was. While we ultimately succeeded in winning independence, it wasn't because we clobbered the Brits in every battle on land and sea. We lost a few along the way as well.
I appreciated Mr. Bowerman's Scottish accent for the Scottish characters. Not overly thick, but genuine. His American accent wasn't bad either, though it was a inadvertently amusing at times and therefore a bit distracting. Overall, I really had no problem with the narration, though perhaps a different narrator might have breathed more life into the story? I dunno. It is what it is, and I've certainly heard a lot worse.
I don't know about a follow-up, as it's a book about a specific event, and not any one or two of the characters. It's not really that kind of a book. The characters, while all real people, who went on to do many other things during the Revolution and in their lives, were all actors in these events, and who they were and what they did came together to drive the outcome of the events in the story. None were really portrayed as heroes and villains, in the traditional sense. They were there, and the decisions they made, or failed to make shaped the outcome. Any follow-up would really just be another book about an event from the Revolution, which may, or may not feature one, three or all of the main persons featured in this book.
I would certainly go see it if it were made into a movie, though. The subject is interesting, and with the right cast and director, it might even make a better movie than it did a book. In fact, I think it would make a better movie.
I think fans of Cornwell should probably try it, if only to have read (or listened to) it. It is in keeping with his tradition of historical detail and accuracy, and so provides a good telling of this event. The characters aren't uninteresting, or poorly drawn, they just aren't...."true to life", like his fictional characters are. I think he fell short in this way, and characters are perhaps the most important part of a work of historical fiction.
I'll close by saying that one of the things I have always enjoyed about Bernard Cornwell, is his ability to paint an exciting, detailed and organic picture of a battle, including the events leading up to and following the event itself. His portrayal of the Battle of Assaye, in Sharpe's Triumph is one of my favorite literary interpretations of a battle. Setting aside the fictional Sharpe's involvement, one comes away with a solid understanding of the events.
Cornwell does his research.
In this regard, if nothing else, I feel Cornwell remained true to form.
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