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Customer Review

on 26 July 2011
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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Product Details

3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars
£7.78+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime