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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice change
I have just finished this book and after a few slow chapters at the start ( I think mostly because there are a lot of characters to introduce) I found this book fascinating and hard to put down. I read about the 1st 7 Sharpe novels in the 80s and have not read any Cornwell until Azincourt last year (pretty good I thought) and now The Fort which made a nice change. I...
Published on 14 Jan 2011 by R. J. Hedley

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty decent story
I liked 'The Fort' a lot, though it does feel a little slow a times. This, I think, is mainly due to the fact that Cornwell has adhered rather strongly to the actual facts of the historical events depicted in the novel. It leaves less room for Sharpesque heroics but makes the story seem all the more realistic for it. At times I wasn't entirely sure whether I was reading a...
Published on 3 Oct 2011 by Flemming Nielsen


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I am disappoint, 23 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
Long time fan of Cornwell, but this is a historical account masquerading as a work of fiction. As good as he normally is with building his characters, he gives no more than a few lines to describe each in this book. I think the subject of this book is a story he has wanted to tell for a while, but, rather than spend the time writing a novel, he spent a weekend jotting down broad ideas for the book and published his notes.

This is a poor account of a story that could have been a brilliant work of fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to his usual standard, 16 Sep 2011
By 
L. A. Flockton "wid" (france) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
This book promised much from the blurb but was something of a disappointment as the way it was written was nothing like his other books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit dull and boring, 14 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
This book covers a period of history during the American war of Independance. A small British force occupies a small peninsula in Maine called Majabigwaduce. A much larger American force arrives on huge armada of ships to try and dislodge the British. The British are still trying to complete the fort and thier commander is just going to put up a token resistance to avoid bloodshed. However the superior American force fails to seize the initative and eventually is forced to retreat.

I found the whole book very slow without really strong characters and not as good as other Cornwell books I have read.

Shadow on the Moon
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More history and less f-action..., 4 Sep 2011
This review is from: The Fort (Kindle Edition)
Read lots of Cornwell - love all of it. This is one of his dryer factional efforts which is a deliberate depiction of the Penobscot Expedition - not going to be popular in America this - especially as it debunks Col Paul Revere.

Interesting in the Antony Beevor way and not exciting in the Sharpe way, this was something of a very interesting disappointment - worth the effort but hardly pacey. I'm afraid I got the impression that Cornwell didn't write it all - it lacks his magic.

The Kindle edition was appallingly badly typeset - broken words and missing quotes and punctuation all over the place.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A dull experience compared to Cornwell normal standard, 29 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
I was disappointed reading the Fort. Cornwell normally is a problem to stop reading, and why was the book not like this. The Fort is about a mess where nothing function, no plans are fullfilled, no goals achieved. The history is of course right, but write an essay on the Fort, and not fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Shame, 16 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
A disappointment. A well researched book as usual but I found it a bit hard to get enthused by, and I'm a Bernard Cornwall fan. The main problem is that the reader is never sure which side of the conflict they should e supporting and there is no strong hero character which you expect in a Cornwall book eg Sharpe, Uther, Starbuck etc
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent from start to finish, 12 Aug 2011
This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
An excellent read from start to finish with Cornwell capturing the battle from both sides superbly painting a picture that makes you feel like you want both to succeed! For any fans of military history or military fiction I would thoroughly recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid performance by the author, 9 Aug 2011
By 
N. Smith - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
This was my first Cornwell book and I will be returning to him. I am a fan of all military history but I am weak in this particular period and I had not heard of this particular campaign and that added to the tension and enjoyment of the story as it unfolded. I was never really sure what would happen next and that made for compelling reading. One of the comments on the back of the jacket is spot on, it states "Cornwell's gift is to make his stories sound as though he is reporting from the front lines" - how true and it is does in a way that is very friendly to the lay person.

This campaign has two dimensions, a fort that is under seige from infantry assault and below the fort, a harbour that is under seige from naval forces. This gives the author plenty of scope to make the scene very interesting with the interplay between the key characters of the various forces and the tactically important locations in and around the fort / harbour. There is a good balance in the account as to how military ability and the impact of personalities effect outcomes.

I think the best way to enjoy the book is to read the first 60 - 70 pages in one go, as they feel a bit slow. From that point on the story is a very compelling read. I would suggest NOT being tempted to read the historical notes at the end of the book until you reach that point naturally, as some of the authors insight (which is very interesting when you reach that point at the end of the story) may spoil the tension of the storyline.

Bottom line - very readable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History comes alive, 26 July 2011
This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
Bernard Cornwall needs little introduction as an author. He had written dozens of historical novels, and they are all characterised by meticulous research coupled with a writing style that hides most of it. Instead he concentrates on plot and character development, with the history emerging as required, not in the form of lecture notes.

The Fort carries on in this style, and is thoroughly engaging as a simple piece of entertainment. What makes it particularly interesting though is that the real events involved two major historical figures. The first was Sir John Moore, who later became a a pivotal British general in the peninsular campaigns during the Napoleonic Wars. Here he is a junior officer in his first battle, unsure, but already showing the signs of the greatness to come. The second in Paul Revere, he of the famous poem generations later, and in his first and only battle. Revere is a lauded figure in the US, but this account is both historically accurate and does not show him in a good light. In fact, it was his only battle because he was sacked from his military position in its aftermath. While he was subsequently absolved of blame at a court-martial, it appears that there were political reasons that the State of Massachusetts wanted the entire blame for the failures of the Penobscot Expedition to fall upon the US Navy commander so that they could claim recompense from the Federal Government. Certainly if Cornwall's well-researched account of Revere's conduct is accurate then the man deserved severe punishment for incompetence, disobedience and dereliction of duty. It is significant that despite the fact the the War of Independence had many years to run and despite his successful hearings, Revere was allowed no further command by his peers and superiors. They, at least, had the measure of the man.

The Penobscot battle itself is little-known for reasons that are not entirely clear. It was a large action, with a clear and significant outcome. However, one reason for its relative obscurity does spring to mind. Without wishing to spoil the dramatic narrative, I suspect the reader will have figured it out by the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic. As always., 19 July 2011
This review is from: The Fort (Paperback)
Bernard Cornwell is a genius and if he doesn't already have a time machine I'm definitely getting him one for his birthday. I was gripped from page 1 until I had finished the historical note at the end. The amount of time and effort he has clearly put into researching this book must have been phenomonal. As always, Cornwell has impressed. The seige of Majabagwaduce is not well known, although from the exciting and engrossing way this book has constructed the narrative it is hard to understand why. The Fort is action packed, the characters are likeable and 3 dimensional, which is impressive considering that they are true historical figures (and some very famous!) from the 18th century. It can't be easy to construct characters so realistic and so likeable whilst adhering to the truth.

The excerpts from various letters and diary entries that Cornwell uses throughout the book are a nice touch and help to bring the events and characters to life. They also demonstrate quite how fact based this novel is compared to some of Cornwell's other work (the Warlord trilogy for instance) which is quite nice in a way because although there is a certain amount to be said for poetic license, I probably prefer the feeling of finishing a book based on the evidence of written historical records and knowing that I've not only really really enjoyed it, I've also learned something.

Cornwell focusses on the characters on both sides of the war, which is nice. He always makes a little effort to show things from both sides, but in this novel in particular I think he did a brilliant job. He does neglect to mention that both sides were completely wrong and that neither had any right to America, but I suppose that none of the characters' points of view would have been anywhere close to along those lines! There is one bristly mention of the subject of slavery between Wadsworth and McLean but that's as far as that topic goes as well. But Cornwell has never used his novels to criticise a certain viewpoint, which is admirable as the truth should be an end in and of itself.

If I had to pick one fault with this one, it would have to be the fragmented lines he uses after key events for dramatic effect. I don't have the book to hand and unfortunately can't find a quote on the net to use as an example, but if you've read it you'll know what I mean. The 'And the Americans were going to war.' type lines. Anyway, that is such a minor fault that I feel a little ridiculous even mentioning it. Probably an equal number of people liked this technique.

Also, I don't think there was any real need for Cornwell to for example compress events of say 3 days into 2 days, or ignore the day of reconnaisance that McLean did before establishing the location of the fort. I can see why he's done this, none of us want to read a book that seems to drag on forever about unimportant events, but I think he could have found a way around this. Just gloss over some of the less interesting days but I would prefer if he had mentioned them at least.

But that's all! Everything else about the book is fantastic. It's all pretty much typical Cornwell style. The battle scenes are as always bloody and gruesome at times but that's what war is like, and I'm sure we must all secretly enjoy it (or at least reading about it) or we wouldn't be reading millitary based historical fiction. I really liked this book and I think every Cornwell fan will like it too, so buy it, read it and lend it to your friends. Even if you aren't a Cornwell fan yet, buy it and read it and you soon will be.
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The Fort
The Fort by Bernard Cornwell (Paperback - 26 May 2011)
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