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Redcoat

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,431 ratings  ·  52 reviews
It is autumn 1777, and the cradle of liberty, Philadelphia, has fallen to the British. Yet the true battle has only just begun.

On both sides, loyalties are tested and families torn asunder. The young Redcoat Sam Gilpin has seen his brother die. Now he must choose between duty to a distant king and the call of his own conscience. And for the men and women of the prosperous...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published April 15th 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published 1987)
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Johnny Tremain by Esther ForbesMy Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln CollierRise to Rebellion by Jeff ShaaraThe Turncoat by Donna ThorlandChains by Laurie Halse Anderson
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Community Reviews

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John Galt
I've become accustomed to a little more action in my books. Redcoat had its flashes of battle--and they were great. It also gave a wonderful sense of humanity to historical figures-John Andre and Charles Lee my favorites, but...I didn't find too much more to it that held my attention. To put it bluntly it was only average, and I won't be giving it a re-read in the future.
Kirstin
This was my first Bernard Cornwell book and I was very pleased. I feel he has lived up to my expectations. I thought this book started a little slow but it picked up towards the end. I found myself confused as to which side I really wanted to win. You get to know both sides of the war and how much camaraderie existed between the two sides. Philadelphia was a very divided city and its British occupation could not have been easy. I found characters like Martha very interesting. She was a die-hard...more
John Reas
I've been a fan of Cornwell for years, and this fictional account of the events occurring during the British occupation of the city of Philadelphia in 1777 during the American Revolution didn't let me down. It's fast paced, and interspersed with the historical events that transpired that over that winter that I wasn't aware of, such as the extent that the British Commander-in-Chief,William Howe,tried to bring a lasting peace to the colonies while fighting a rebellion, with a love triangle involv...more
Karen Gennari
Once again, I have to emphasize Cornwell's unrivaled mastery of researching and chronicling historical events, whether it be the 14th century or the 19th. He did not disappoint with Redcoat.

For those who prefer the "history" in "historical ficton," you get plenty of it with vivid details of the Revolutionary War and its players, both real and fictitious. Some readers lament that this novel lacks Cornwell's trademark epic battle scenes, espousing every gory detail. Some lament that it is uncharac...more
Deb
I hadn't paid much attention to the Philadelphia side of the British occupation. Good reflection of what was happening while Washington and the troops were freezing at Valley Forge.
Patty
I learned more about the war and enjoyed the characters.
Chris
It was good. Please don't hide me.
Nicki Elson
Historical fiction is how I prefer to get my history, and Cornwell does a great job of working in the minute details of the time and place to make that piece of history come alive for me.

Did you know that it was considered a luxury to have dentures that were crafted from teeth yanked from the heads of soldiers who died on the battlefield? Cornwell's detailing gets delightfully nasty like that without going overboard, just enough to make me cringe and put me in the rawness of the period. He also...more
Graham
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alasandra Alawine
Cornwell delivers his usual terrific novel that makes you feel like you are in the thick of things.

Sam and Nate Gilpin (twin brothers) joined the British Army and the only escape is death though Nate longs to run away with Maggie (Sargent Scammell's wife) and start a new life in America. Sam is content being a solider and fears for his brother's life if he attempts to escape (desert) the army. When Same and Nate are captured by the American Rebels they meet Jonathan Becket (Rebel) who received a...more
Ed
Apr 14, 2010 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction and Cornwell fans.
A somewhat typical Cornwell offering: well written, well researched, well plotted and full of exciting situations. As usual, the battle scenes are very realistic and descriptive.

Cornwell's weakness, if he has one, is in his characterizations. His heroes are indefatigable. His villains often have few redeeming qualities, especially the non-coms. In this case one, Sergeant Scammel, an amoral killing machine with an ability to impress his seniors while terrorizing his subordinates. The other major...more
Liz Chapman
Another great Cornwell book , this time set in 1777 Philadelphia during the war of Independence. Although not totally Historically correct the book brings to life the stories of both Loyalists and Patriots sometimes within the same family at war against each other . The Commander-in -Chief Sir William Howe tries to bring about peace but is ineffectual and spends most of his time with his mistress holding parties ,dinners and other expensive entertainments while the rest of the people in the city...more
Hamdanil Rasyid
Another average Cornwell book. It had a some fascinating military action in the beginning (and a little towards the end), but after the Sir William moved to Philadelphia, it became more of a slow-moving drama, the characters now stuck in the occupied and relatively actionless Philadelphia.
Madeline
Like the other Cornwell books I've read, this one tended to tell more than show; and be more interesting and move at a faster pace in the first half of the book than the second half.

There were times while reading where I was irritated with how every character Cornwell introduced had something to do with another character, but at the same time, their interactions made the book fun and interesting.

I have to say that while Sam seems like the kind of guy I'd crush on in high school nice, Cornwell's...more
Fred
A love story cloaked in some historical fiction during the British occupation of Philadelphia.

The plot seems appropriate for a three-episode production of Masterpiece Theatre complete with gallant English generals, ambitious soldiers trying to improve their stations and witty wordplay of beautiful women at fashionable Philadelphia parties. I know I've seen this on public television.

Having just read the author's Agincourt, I can't believe this is one of Cornwell's better novels. So, it's just OK,...more
Joshua Proctor
I do have to say I was not expecting much when I read this book but was pleasantly surprised. It does a great job at showing a decently balanced view of both sides of the Revolution (something which is rarely found in literature on the American Revolution). While some of each side had their flaws, there always remained individuals, both Patriot and Redcoat, who were very honorable. The book went at a great pace while still staying historically accurate for the most part. There are a few points w...more
Paul Jarvis
This was the first non Sharpe book by Bernard Cornwell that I read and, with the possible exception of the Grail Quest series, is probably the best.
Holly Martin
A view into the American Revolution not frequently told. This tale focuses on the British occupation of Philadelphia from 1777-1778 from the perspectives of both the occupiers and occupied. Cornwell does an excellent job delving into the politics of both American Loyalists and Patriots, the well-to-do and those who work the land. It also takes a close look into the variety of views from those both high and low within the British Army, and the personal changes that cannot be avoided by those who...more
Oismiffy
Bernard Cornwell is undoubtedly a great author, but every book of his I've read that concerns anything American has been a huge disappointment.
I think that maybe he needs a really good "baddie", but being British and married to an American means he can't bring himself to find one in this book (and similarly in the Fort). He tried, but they are lacking in depth and just not believable.
I read about two thirds of this book before giving up. Although the start is good, once the battle is finished,...more
Stuart Lutzenhiser
A not entirely successful novel about the 1778 occupation of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary war. Cornwell usually excels at balancing a human story with the background of an interesting battle or event. In this case, there are a series of interlocked love triangles which are fairly banal but actually the only interesting part of the story. The occupation of the Philadelphia is not very interesting - I'm not sure that I would have picked that as my only novel on the revolution. Still fairl...more
Colin Powell
Historical story set during the American War of Independence. Our heroes and baddies are: an ordinary British soldier, a feisty American rebel lady and a villain who is an ruthless and ambitious American loyalist serving in the British Army. Perhaps slightly more for a British audience because we look at things from a more British perspective. I think an American might find it a little apologetic from a Brit point of View as well. However, it was still enjoyable.
Jules
I'm not entirely sure what to say about this book. It didn't capture my interest so very much so that it took me some time to finish. I overall liked the characters okay, the plot was interesting and well done - but all in all, the novel is not one where I could really feel passionately with the characters or which I found to be so well done atmospherically or linguistically that I couldn't stop reading. It's a solid work, nothing more and nothing less.
Chuck
The story is a good one, but not original. Setting it during the British Occupation of Philadelphia made for an interesting background since most stories about the Winter of 1777-78 take place at Valley Forge. Though Cornwell takes liberties with the chronology of events, which he aptly explains at the end of the book, the detail of the events themselves is accurate and lend to the storyline. I liked it, but I didn't love it.
Marianne
A solid historical fiction covering the war with the British in Philadelphia, 1777. Cornwell's characters provide a good backdrop to learn about the war in a more intimate way. The battles are well written and don't feel repetitive. The second half of the book slows a bit, but it does a good job tying up the interpersonal relationships.
Winston
Not one of Bernard's best. He got the details on the uniforms all wrong. Sergeants did not have stripes during the AWI. He sort of brought that over from his remarkable Sharpe's series. His description however of how the British Army looked as marched in to New York after several days of fighting is spot on.
Denise
This was my first Revolutonary book of fiction. I liked the book, at times it seemed to slow down but I think this was oreof my issue with a different writting style.
Redcoats of british side fight the rebels over more than land, fighitng for love and status lead a man down many differnt paths.
Jeff Yoak
Cornwell always takes quite some time to get rolling and particularly to make his characters compelling. Once he gets there, it can be incredible. This weakness was minimized with 20+ Sharpe novels, but this novel set in much the same time and with the same backdrop fell flat for me.
Chuck
This story is centered around the British occupation of Philadelphia in 1777. The residents who are left in the city are largely Tories (Loyalists) but we do have a nucleus of active Patriots as well. Cornwell creates protagonists on both sides. This is another of his good ones.
Sho
~Not part of a series (so far). It's about a British soldier during the American War of Independence.
~Actually I didn't find this one as good as a lot of his others, but that could be because it's not a subject I find particularly gripping. The Starbuck Chronicles are better
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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
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