Title: The Fort
Author: Bernard Cornwell
First published September 30, 2010
480 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9780062067296 (ISBN10: 006206729X)
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About the Author
Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 to a Canadian airman father and an English mother who served in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by the Wiggins family, who belonged to the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect that prohibited frivolity and medicine.
Cornwell changed his name to his birth mother’s maiden name after leaving the sect.
He attended Monkton Combe School and the University of London before working as a teacher. Despite trying three times to enlist in the British armed services, he was rejected due to myopia.
Cornwell then joined BBC’s Nationwide and eventually became the head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland. He also worked as editor of Thames News at Thames Television before moving to the United States in 1980 after marrying an American.
Unable to obtain a green card, he turned to writing novels as a means of supporting himself.
As a child, Cornwell was an avid reader of C.S. Forester’s Hornblower series and noticed a gap in historical fiction regarding Lord Wellington’s campaign on land. This motivated him to create his own series, featuring protagonist Richard Sharpe, a rifleman involved in the major battles of the Peninsular War.
Cornwell wrote several novels in the Sharpe series, including Sharpe’s Eagle and Sharpe’s Company, before landing a three-book deal.
Cornwell and his wife Judy co-wrote a series of novels under the pseudonym “Susannah Kells,” including A Crowning Mercy, Fallen Angels, and Coat of Arms. In addition, Cornwell published Redcoat, a novel set during the American Revolution.
Cornwell’s Sharpe series was adapted for television, with Sean Bean starring in the title role. Cornwell also wrote a series of contemporary thrillers with sailing as a common theme, such as Wildtrack and Sea Lord.
In 2006, Cornwell was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. His latest work, Agincourt, features an archer who participates in the Battle of Agincourt, but is not related to any of Cornwell’s previous characters.
The Fort by Bernard Cornwell is a historical fiction novel that was first published on September 30, 2010. Cornwell is a prolific writer of historical fiction, with notable works including the Sharpe and Saxon Stories series.
The Fort is set during the American Revolution and tells the story of the battle for Penobscot Bay, which took place in 1779. At its heart, The Fort is a war novel focused on the conflict between the British and American forces.
The story is told from the perspective of a diverse cast of characters on both sides of the conflict. The main character is Paul Revere, who is tasked with building a fort to defend Penobscot Bay from the British.
Alongside Revere, readers are introduced to Lieutenant-Colonel John Moore, a British soldier tasked with capturing the American fort, and John Nutting, a young American soldier. The novel is meticulously researched, and Cornwell presents the historical context of Penobscot Bay in a way that is accessible and engaging.
The author’s attention to detail is evident not only in the historical accuracy of the setting, but also in the depiction of the characters. The characters are complex and multifaceted, with their motivations and beliefs carefully explored.
One of the strongest aspects of The Fort is the pacing. Cornwell employs a fast-paced, action-packed narrative that keeps the reader engaged throughout.
The story moves quickly, and the battles and skirmishes are vividly and thrillingly depicted. In addition, the author’s prose is clear and straightforward, making the story easy to follow.
However, despite its strengths, there are some flaws in The Fort. The character development, while well-crafted, is somewhat shallow, and some of the characters are difficult to differentiate.
Additionally, while the action is gripping, the novel lacks some of the emotional depth and nuance that makes other war novels so powerful. Overall, The Fort is a solid historical fiction novel that will appeal to fans of the genre.
While it is not without its limitations, the novel’s strengths, such as the well-crafted prose, attention to historical detail, and fast-paced action, make it a compelling read. Readers interested in the American Revolution, military history, or action-packed novels will find much to enjoy in this book.
Rating: 4/5 stars.