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on 1 February 2009
Having read and re-read (and read again!) all of Bernard Cornwells historical novels I approached this, my first stab at reading one of his modern novels. I was not disappointed. His hero, Nick Breakspear is likeable, believable and not a superhuman (unlike in some other author's books where the hero is so macho as to be totally unbelievable) in other words normal. The other characters both "goodies" and baddies" are portrayed with the usual Cornwell precision. What a character Maggot is! The story travels at break neck speed and you won't want to put it down until the last page. I usually judge a book by my desire to read it again and this is definately one of those.
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on 17 March 2010
Crackdown is a adventure book. Simple as that. Don't expect the similar style of writing to Cornwell's others as I get the impression he had deliberately sat down to test another technique. He has succeeded but this is much more of a standard novel rather than an epic style like the Warlord Trilogy or even the Gallow's Thief.

The gist of the story is that an Ex-Marine desperate to escape from the grips of his ostentatious father drifts to the Caribbean isles and sets up as a charter captain. This rest of the adventure is about the war on drugs. I can't help but feel that perhaps Cornwell has a history with the substance and that perhaps a close family member has been affected because he writes with such venom when he describes cocaine. This is an avant garde subject for the early 1990's so it isn't like he is jumping on the anti drug band wagon. The characters are fun and dynamic but don't expect anything too Sharpe like because you will be disappointed but at the same time I finished the book looking forward to hearing from Nick again.

In short I was keen on the book and enjoyed reading it. The subject matter is dealt with in a heavy handed manner but I suspect Cornwell doesn't care if anyone reads it as this is HIS own weapon and his way of hitting out on drug users and pushers. I think he seems himself as the Senator rather than as Nick (maybe a bit of both). Well worth a read if you find a copy or just like Cornwell. The only negative is that he did not have his usual stab at organised religion which I find highly entertaining.
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on 8 February 2011
I have always enjoyed Bernard Cornwall's writing, this book was good, but as an action adventure story not as interesting for me as his other books
But having said that, I am used to reading his historical fiction stories, so possibly this was the reason that I could not settle with this one, plus I found the ending a little bit abrupt, but again that was my feeling.
The writing was up to his usual standard, so, it is still an excellent read.
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on 25 June 2016
I love Cornwell's historical novels, but as a sailor, I enjoy a good sailing thriller too.
Good plot, great characters, brilliant action scenes, but disappointingly, little real sailing content, which Cornwell could easily manage with his experience as both sailor and novellist, although perhaps he's looking to appeal to a wider audience.
A great sailing thriller with more sailing content: Single-Handed
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 14 August 2014
Cornwell's Bahamanian set adventure is populated with rogues and heroes, calm seas and high adventure. It's a bit of a favourite of mine and I've stormed through this breezy adventure four times now. This early (ish) tale feels less polished than his more recent work. I like to think that the sailing adventures are learning books for the author and that he's testing themes and styles. In Nick Breakspear, Cornwell gives us an everyman hero who is easy to route for; we're also given a collection of colouful bad guys and a handful of interesting friends to help our man along. The entertaining tale concerns a group of people tied up in corruption and drug smuggling and it also gives us echoes of "Wildtrack" in that the hero is coerced into doing something in order to repair a broken boat before he can pursue his life on the ocean. The story contains much of Cornwell's flair for description and is carried along on a fast paced narrative which, for me, makes the pages fly by.
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CRACKDOWN Bernard Cornwell 1990

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 although 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.

The central character of Crackdown is an ex-marine officer, Nick Breakspear, who runs a charter company in the Bahamas. Against his better judgement he accepts a charter from a US senator to take his cocaine addicted off-spring on a curative cruise which ultimately brings him into conflict with Caribbean drug smugglers.

The story is full of action, the characters are well rounded and believable, and Cornwell uses his first hand knowledge of boats, sailing and the local waters 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 13 June 2016
I've read loads and loads of his books but this one was an odd one out in that it was "slow and luke warm". It doesn't put me off buying n reading his stuff but this one left me feeling short changed.
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on 23 September 2008
As before if you like sailing it is interesting. Some adventure but thisis not what he does best so it didnt grip the way the Sharpe and Harlequins do.
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on 21 October 2013
An excellent tale of modern day adventure, with serious social comment and information thrown in.
The story was particularly well crafted, full of interesting characters set in a beautiful part of the world, with some diverting action passages.
Mr Cornwell' s writing has no difficulty in spanning the centuries he for me, is becoming the number one literary story teller.
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on 18 December 2012
My late husband introduced me to the Sharpe novels some 25 years ago, having bought them in the States. I've been hooked on Cornwall ever since. His sailing novels are,I believe,his first published books. I loved them because he is a sailor and in those books I felt that I stood beside him on his watch. He got it right. Don't expect Sharpe, read them for what they are; exciting,accurate sailing adventures. Enjoy them. I highly recomend all of them. Cornwall does his research whatever he writes it is this that makes his books so good.
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