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3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  2,432 ratings  ·  322 reviews
While the major fighting of the war moves to the south in the summer of 1779, a British force of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry, backed by three sloops-of-war, sails to the desolate and fog-bound coast of New England. Establishing a garrison and naval base at Penobscot Bay, in the eastern province of Massachusetts that would become Maine, the Scots--the only Briti...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published July 11th 2011 by UK General Books (first published 2010)
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Jason Koivu
I tired…HA! I meant to write "I tried…" but I'm going to leave that typo in, because it's suitable. I tried reading The Fort and I tired of it.

Unless they're causing me to pull out my pubes or take a potato peeler to my eyeballs, I don't like to give up on books. However, as I neared the halfway point of this American Revolution historical fiction by Bernard Cornwell, I realized I had no investment in the characters and little interest in the story. The tweezers and spud peelers beckoned ominou...more
MINI REVIEW: This smoothly written book covers the mostly unknown Penobscot Expedition of the American Revolution. According to some historians it was the worst naval war blunder since Pearl Harbor.

Paul Revere is shown to be an arrogant incompetent suffering court martial after the failed attempt against the British (but he appealed it under peculiar circumstances later); prickly Commodore Saltonsall is the fall guy in an attempt to have the other states cover the costs and General Peleg Wads...more
Richard Mulholland
This is not the usual Cornwell book in that there was no one central hero. However, after battling through the quite slow (but necessary) first quarter of the book, I really started loving it. Especially the introduction os Lt. John Moore. Growing up my great aunt would often read me my fav poem about the Scottish hero:


by: Charles Wolfe (1791-1823)

Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note,
As his corse to the rampart we hurried;
Not a soldier discharged his...more
Bane of Kings
Disappointing. An OK read but expected better from Cornell especially given the time period. First Cornell book that I've not enjoyed.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nick Brett
In Britain we had a brilliant cunning plan - we shipped out convicts to Australia and our religious nutcases over to the newly discovered America. In retrospect we are well aware that we should have left these two groups at home and shipped ourselves out to the paradise of Australia and the land of plenty that was America. But I digress, let's roll forward to the point where America tired of British rule, British Kings and, more importantly, British taxes. Obviously an unreasonable attitude but...more
Another excellent read from an author who can do no wrong in my eyes.

Initially I heard negative publicity about this book; at least one person whose opinion I highly value told me it was very dull and difficult to read, so I expected the worst.

I never found it.

Cornwell's job is to recreate a little-known battle, The Penobscot Expedition, from the American War of Independence, bringing to life the characters on both sides. Thus we get to learn about real-life historical figures - Lovell and McLea...more
Paul Pessolano
"The Fort" is the story of a very little known conflict during the Revolutionary War. The battle took place in Upper New England at Penobscot Bay. The battle took place on both land and sea, but is best known as the greatest naval disaster in American History prior to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

The English, in an attempt to establish a base of operation, sent a small expeditionary force of both men and ships to build a fort and naval base. The force consisted of less than a thousand so...more
This is one of Bernard Cornwell's best books.

His Rebel series covered the American civil war; this
concerns the Independence period and a time when Canada
still lay in the political balance between the old world and tea party types.

It's the latter we're concerned with here and the rather parsimonious number of stars garnered in the reviews thus far bear no relation to the book's quality.

This book is stellar.

I've read quite a lot of Bernard Cornwell and there's usually a fair amount of boilerpla...more
Nathan Trachta
I got this thru Amazon’s Vine program because I’ve enjoyed Mr. Cornwell’s works in the past and was intrigued by this taking place in Maine. I can honestly say that The Fort was unique for Mr. Cornwell’s work; at least for what I’ve read. Rather than having one protagonist and an antagonist, Mr. Cornwell gives us the perspective of three sides from a fairly neutral position; that of the British, the American land, and the American maritime. Interestingly the American land perspective is the majo...more
Bernard Cornwell is widely known as "Britain's storyteller." The Sharpe novels, the Grail Quest trilogy, "Stonehenge," the Warlord Chronicles, and the Saxon Tales are all steeped in the legends and lore of Britain and western Europe. True, with the Starbuck novels and "Redcoat" Cornwell has written a bit about America, but in general his prolific pen has focused on matters on the east side of the pond.

With "The Fort," his latest novel, Cornwell balances the score a bit. "The Fort" focuses on the...more
Bernie Charbonneau
Ok, first, I do not give 5 stars to often. The novel really has to do something for my mind to warrant the high praise. This novel did just that! The synopsis on the back leaf might not read like it would be the most interesting but if you are a fan of the American Revolutionary war then this little skirmish that developted in what is now Maine but back in 1779 was still a part of Massachusetts. I will preface to say that Mr. Cornwell is my favorite Historical Fiction writer and maybe I was in t...more
The last Cornwell's book I read was "The Fort". The Fort is just an unbelievable story of Seven hundred British redcoats in an unfinished fort, named Fort George, and the harbor beneath. The British were tasked with going against the State of Massachusetts army of around 900 men and a fleet of 42 ships, half of which were warships.
This book will keep you on the edge all the time. I live in MA so my "loyalty" should be to the State of MA army, but the British characters especially John Moore ( th...more
Teen Mcveigh
Cornwell is a favorite author for historical fiction. He is engaging and well researched, making subjects of learning fun and interesting. Usually.

The book is set at the beginning of the Revolutionary War in America, detailing one of the worst American losses in naval history. All based on true accounts. The dogged slowness of this book makes it exasperatingly difficult to get through. There were many times where the most interesting character in the book was the fog, which I believe was the poi...more
John Vibber
I was surprised to find a major American Revolution battle that I'd never heard of. I was doubly surprised to learn of events that tarnish the reputation of Boston's most famous silversmith. The Fort tells of a mission that slowly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and thus became so painful to remember that it disappeared from mainstream history. You may end up rooting for the far more competent Brits who fought this battle, but Cornwell's book presents a compelling and ironic tale well-t...more
Who but Bernard Cornwell would make Paul Revere the American Revolution's most cowardly villain, even for just one battle? In "The Fort," redcoats are consummate professionals, the patriot force is its own worst enemy, and that midnight ride is just another overrated p.r. stunt. I see no reason to disbelieve a word of it. (I don't think you can write it off to author's pro-British bias, since he has in other novels skewered icons like Sir Lancelot and Henry V.) "Redcoat" is definitely next on my...more
This is one of my favorite Cornwell novels. It is the story of the Penobscot Bay Expedition of 1779, one of the most dismal episodes in our Revolutionary War history. It is important because it is a very clear and insightful glimpse of how militias can fall far short of the 'patriot' theme, especially if they are primarily composed of impressed men whose heart is not in the job at hand. And of course, impressed men are usually those who are working hard to support families, keep the family farm...more
Zena Ryder
This is the first Bernard Cornwell book I've read and I didn't really know what to expect. I liked it quite a lot and will probably read another at some point. Cornwell knows how to tell a story, there are some good characters, and apparently Cornwell's work is pretty historically accurate. (He noted at the end of the book where he departed from the historical facts.)

However, the book is "basic", in a certain sense. There is no plumbing the depths of the human condition here. There is no grappl...more
William Russeth
Found the book very upsetting and frustrating. Not that Mr. Cornwell did a poor job, on the contrary he made the events and mishaps of this battle come to life in grand style. The problem was the ineptness and incompetense of the revolutionary expedition. He totally shatters the ideal of Paul Revere. It really makes you wonder how we ever won our freedom. Its a good read and I would recommend it.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
In the hands of a skilled writer of historical fiction like Cornwell, the reader becomes so vested in events and characters that even with the outcome known and hundreds of years in the past, there is still a sense of suspense. I found myself hoping that events could turn around for the hapless Americans in this obscure naval defeat. Cornwell tries to be fair in his treatment, but while ineptitude and infighting plague the American side, the British are led with courage and professionalism.

Interesting subject and story but, unfortunately, a drag to get through. Almost gave up on it twice but thought that I might miss something and ground on through to the end. Battle scenes were quite good however.
Generally, though, it was a struggle to bother projecting the imagery of this book into my imagination. I had no such trouble with Bernard's other work. (I last read Cornwell's 1356) Maybe I was infected with the atmosphere of pending failure by the reticence of the rebels to bring on d...more
Fiona Robson
“Summer 1779.
Seven hundred and fifty British soldiers and three small ships of the Royal Navy. Their orders: to build a fort above a harbour to create a base from which to control the New England seaboard.
Forty-one American ships and over nine hundred men. Their orders: to expel the British.
The battle that followed was a classic example of how the best-laid plans can be disrupted by personality and politics, and of how warfare can bring out both the best and worst in men. It is a timeless tale o...more
Richard Beasley
This is trying to be more accurately historical than much of his other work. I don't know much about War of Independence, and appreciated the balance -and the emphasis on the need for professionalism in soldiering. But not as much as a romp as Sharpe or the Saxon, warlord, or Grail series. Short of falls between two stools - not an out and out adventure yard, but not a detailed, literary study. (Currently reading For Whom The Bell Tolls, which is a literary reflection on war)
Overall, set your ex...more
It goes without saying that Cornwell is a great historical novelist--and this is another in a line of fine books. This novel examines the Penobscot Expedition in the Revolutionary War. Despite examples of great heroism, the bulk of the campaign was characterized by incompetence, arrogance and cowardice on the part of many of the American leaders and militiamen. I did not realize that this also was the greatest naval disaster for America until Pearl Harbor! In any event, Cornwell does a great job...more
Patricia Rodrigues
Já li alguns livros de Bernard Cornwell, entre os quais duas trilogias, uma sobre o Rei Artur e outra sobre a Guerra dos 100 anos, que adorei ambas.
Este livro passa-se em 1779, durante a Guerra da Independência dos Estados Unidos, nomeadamente durante a Expedição à Baia Penobscot. Esta expedição teve a maior força da marinha americana e foi uma tentativa de expulsar os britânicos do Forte George, na Península de Majabigwaduce, mas foi o maior desastre naval americano até Pearl Harbor em 1941.
In "The Fort", Bernard Cornwell dramatizes the disasterous (for the Americans) attack on the British garrison at the Loyalist stronghold of Penobscot, Massachusetts (later Maine). Cornwell has upped his considerable game in this volume by interspersing selections from primary sources related to the doomed expedition. These, plus his stronger than usual historical note at the end of the novel, provide vital historical context as well as support for his narrative choices. Cornwell has written many...more
Jack Alexander
Our revolution takes a turn for the worse when 1000 American troops including Marines and 40 ships sail from Boston to Penobscot bay to oust a small British force (3 ships) garrisoned on Castile island. With rousing initiative The Americas take the high grounds, easily defeating the British and take their gun batteries, turning them on the garrison and the ships. At the same time as the ground assault, the ships engage in a ferocious naval battle where countless cannon shots where fired, very li...more
This wasn't a particularly engaging book and I had a lot of trouble keeping my focus when I read it. While it seemed to be a good fictional account of the event, it lacked any kind of characterization, a protagonist or anything really concrete to make me want to read on. It really was just an account on a particular event during the war, and after a while the lack of all the other elements to make a good story, affected my overall impression of the book.

The author writing style and research tha...more
Doug Vanderweide
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Title 2 28 Feb 02, 2013 09:20PM  
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name, Cornwe...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...
The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1) The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1) Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2) The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)

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