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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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SCOUNDREL Bernard Cornwell 1992

I have for a long time, personally believed, that Cornwell's sailing adventures are some of his best writing. Historical novels are my main interest in fiction and I am not normally that keen on modern period thrillers, I am happy to make an exception to the rule for Cornwell's five sailing tales, (and those of Sam Llewellyn), particularly as they are set in the decades of my own serious yachting days and therefore have a very familiar nostalgia. I must admit that I was genuinely disappointed when no further novels of the same ilk were forthcoming after the five were published.

I believe that Scoundrel is probably my favourite of Cornwell's five sailing thrillers.

The central character is Paul Shanahan, a shady arms dealer selling his wares to the IRA and Palestinian terrorist groups, who is, I believe, Cornwell's best and most memorable anti-hero. The story is a maze of twists and turns, is full of action, and has enough red herrings to keep the first time reader guessing until the end. The characters are all well developed and believable, and Cornwell uses his first hand knowledge of boats, sailing and his time in Belfast as a journalist to the best effect.

Every couple of years I take down my spare, battered, paperback copies of these five novels and they accompany me on holiday. I am not sure how many times I have re-read them in the past twenty years but despite knowing the stories intimately I never tire of them.
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on 28 February 2001
'Scoundrel' is a great book that offers more than just a good read. Set in the shady world of terrorism, it starts off in an interesting, if slightly mediocre fashion but suddenly, without warning the story completely knocks you out. Cornwell's anti-hero has hidden depths and just when you think you understand him, he peels off yet another mask.
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on 2 January 2001
This is a book that had me glued to each page. Set at the time of the gulf war this story is based on the IRA terrorist campaign. Paul Shanahan is is the middle of a massive arms deal between the IRA and the Palestinian underworld. With both sides and the CIA watching he finds the temptation of keeping the money too much. I enjoy reading this book it is fast moving and extremely readable.
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SCOUNDREL Bernard Cornwell 1992

I have for a long time, personally believed, that Cornwell's sailing adventures are some of his best writing. Historical novels are my main interest in fiction and I am not normally that keen on modern period thrillers, I am happy to make an exception to the rule for Cornwell's five sailing tales, (and those of Sam Llewellyn), particularly as they are set in the decades of my own serious yachting days and therefore have a very familiar nostalgia. I must admit that I was genuinely disappointed when no further novels of the same ilk were forthcoming after the five were published.

I believe that Scoundrel is probably my favourite of Cornwell's five sailing thrillers.

The central character is Paul Shanahan, a shady arms dealer selling his wares to the IRA and Palestinian terrorist groups, who is, I believe, Cornwell's best and most memorable anti-hero. The story is a maze of twists and turns, is full of action, and has enough red herrings to keep the first time reader guessing until the end. The characters are all well developed and believable, and Cornwell uses his first hand knowledge of boats, sailing and his time in Belfast as a journalist to the best effect.

Every couple of years I take down my spare, battered, paperback copies of these five novels and they accompany me on holiday. I am not sure how many times I have re-read them in the past twenty years but despite knowing the stories intimately I never tire of them.
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on 4 August 2015
This is the best of Cornwell's books with a sailing theme. The 'hero' is not a superman and his morality is suspect which makes him pretty human. The plot is convoluted but not hard to follow. The final 'surprise' is fairly predictable but that's probably because we live in an age which is more accustomed to expecting such events. The writing is well up to Cornwell's best standard and I found myself reluctant to put it down right to the end. Recommended.
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on 9 August 2010
Bernard Cornwell is one of my favourite writers of historical fiction. His Sharpe and Arthurian books are superb and take you to the times they were set in. He is less well known for his suspense thrillers and this is one of those.
Before he became an author, Cornwell worked for the BBC and worked for a time in Northern Ireland dueing the troubles with the IRA, here he uses his experience and knowledge of those times to weave an excellent thriller with the background of some aspects of the terrorists. He weaves this with his love of boats and his knowledge of how to sail a sailing ship is clearly evident amid the detail.
This is a fast paced thriller with good characters and a terrific story. It is a pity he has not written more of this type of ovel as they make a great holiday read.
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on 23 November 2014
Great to read a Cornwell novel that isn't about the ridiculous Sharpe or King Arthur/Alfred. Instead I guess he uses his Cape Cod home and a keen interest in sailing to do a contemporary tale about American IRA sympathisers betraying PIRA and aiding murderous psychotic "Arabs". It's set during Gulf War 1 but is a chillingly accurate forecast of 9/11. So, Bernie has stitched up PIRA, Irish American republican sympathisers, Libyans, Iraq, Palestine and any other terrorists. Gertcher! All of the madness is irrelevant because Cornwell writes with pace, tension, good characters and one just rattles along enthralled.
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on 16 February 2012
This book is a little different from Cornwell's other books. His hero's are usually rather gallant men who only do violent deeds when forced to, and they are always likeable characters. The chap in this book shows himself to be thoroughly ruthless early on in the narrative and the tension in the tail is to discover which side he is really on, and what sort of man he really is.
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on 16 February 2014
I enjoyed this story, it had everything you'd expect from Bernard Cornwell, excitement, intrigue, it was well researched, good technical description and a twist or two. But I found it lacking in the depth which his latest novels possess, which I guess comes down to experience; a good buy and entertaining none the less.
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on 9 February 2014
There is an Irish dimension to this story by one of the best writers around. I normally try to ignore anything to do with the IRA as, being English, I can't understand them at all. However, the book is a cracking yarn, with lots of layers, so you keep thinking you know what is going on and then discover that you don't.

Personally I prefer Bernard Cornwell's historical stories, but he shows great versatility in being able to handle thrillers set in the more recent past.
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