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The Fort

3.53  ·  Rating Details ·  3,914 Ratings  ·  425 Reviews
In the summer of 1779, as the major fighting of the Revolutionary War moves to the South, a British force consisting of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry and backed by three sloops-of-war sails to the fogbound coast of New England. Establishing a garrison and naval base at Penobscot Bay, in the eastern province of Massachusetts, the Scots harry rebel privateers and s ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Harper (first published September 30th 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
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
When you read history (or in this case, historical fiction), you often learn something unexpected, and in The Fort, something not very pleasant about our country’s beginnings. Cornwell unveils the virtually unknown military disaster of 1779, when a large force of American revolutionaries tries to dislodge a newly established British encampment on the coast of colonial Massachusetts (future Maine). It is not surprising that this battle has not been covered. I can only shake my head and wonder how ...more
Richard Mulholland
Apr 09, 2011 Richard Mulholland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction
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
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
Milo (BOK)
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.
Paul Pessolano
Feb 03, 2011 Paul Pessolano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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
Mar 11, 2016 Sir rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made Me MAD!! it's very well-written, as are all of BCs books. I won't get in to what angered Me, as it will ruin the story. This is a GREAT book.
Nicholas Parsons
The writing style wasn't Cornwell at his best but wow, what a story! A battle like no other. Well, I suspect many more battles might be like this but we just don't hear the stories told. It's the story of a battle lost, and it was a bold and interesting choice for Cornwell. I won't say more for fear of spoilers, but just read it."
Nathan Trachta
Oct 23, 2010 Nathan Trachta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 25, 2016 SeaShore rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-1779
I really wanted to like this book for the information given and the way it's told. The research is incredible and some information I had to look up and was anxious to do so to keep up. Lots of detail on Majabigwaduce and the Penobscot River. I needed to take a few breaks as I plowed through this book .
Who were Paul Revere, Dudley Saltonstall and Solomon Lovell?

Paul Revere as artillery commander joined a force of 1,000 troops led by Brigadier General Lovell to board Commodore Saltonstall’s fleet,
Oct 03, 2016 Ed rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Died in the wool, Cornwell fans,
I've read 43 of Bernard Cornwell's books. I doubt if I ever gave any of them a rating of less than 4 stars, most of them 5. This offering was excruciatingly boring and if the author had been anyone other than Cornwell, I would have abandoned the book half way through. As it is, I skipped through the last 200 pages reading the first and last sentences of paragraphs or inferring where the story was going as I skimmed along the surface. I did read the Historical Notes word for word and realized the ...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
Nov 15, 2015 Xpdite rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
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 parts of the north, north America
were dangerously poised between the old world and tea party officials.

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

It is stellar.

I've read quite a lot of Bernard Cornwell and there's usually a fair amount of boilerplate
Oct 19, 2015 Trina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the audio recording of this book - great Scots accents by the narrator helped keep all the characters straight during the disastrous Penobscot Expedition to rid the British from re-establishing themselves in Massachusetts (now Maine) during the American Revolution. The fort thrown up by the King's men could easily have been taken if the Americans had just pressed home their attack - but the commanders dithered and the militia resisted (most had more experience tilling their fields ...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
Feb 07, 2015 Chuck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I believe Bernard Cornwell is one of the best writers of historical fiction I've read. He doesn't disappoint here. Near the end of the American Revolutionary War, the summer of 1779 to be exact, the British began trying to establish a fort and naval base on Penobscot Bay in far northeastern Massachusetts which would later become the state of Maine. From there they could challenge patriot privateers and shelter Americans still loyal to the king. Massachusetts sent a large fleet of warships and pr ...more
Dylan Quarles
I did not seek this book out I simply came upon it at the library. That said, it was still somehow a huge disappointment.

I should have read the reviews here before dedicating time to reading it as they would have warned me that, The Fort is really a book about screw ups and cowards. As an American, it embarrassing.

Perhaps the author is English, in which case this book is about an "against the odds" victory over rebel villains.
Either way the ending is so bad it doesn't matter which country you
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
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
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
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.
Sep 24, 2014 Rob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very slow start, with too much time on characters that we never see again. Ham-handed development and stage-setting gradually gave way into a fairly interesting book, with atypical action and a very unusual ending. It was: decent, but I feel no impulse to recommend it to anyone else.
Dorinda Balchin
Oct 29, 2016 Dorinda Balchin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Fort tells the story of the military action which took place at Penobscot Bay where General McLean of the British Army was sent to set up a garrison to control the New England seaboard and offer a place of refuge for loyalists fleeing from the American War of Independence. The American rebels in their turn planned to oust the British in a show of strength. The novel is told from four perspectives – British and American, both on land and at sea. This gives the reader a feel for the complexity ...more
Jan 22, 2017 Heather rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After the British establish a fort on the Penobscot River, the Massachusetts patriots--among them General Peleg Wadsworth and Colonel Paul Revere--mount an expedition to oust the redcoats.
Cornwell (Agincourt) delivers a straightforward fictionalized account of a disastrous 1779 American military campaign in today's Maine (then Massachusetts) that's heavy on historical figures and tense battle scenes. After the British establish a fort on the Penobscot River, the Massachusetts patriots mount an e
Feb 26, 2017 Dale rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not Cornwell's Best Effort

Published in 2010 by HarperCollins

Set in 1789 Massachusetts, Bernard Cornwell tells the story of the Penobscot Expedition - a small scale invasion by British forces of a bay in what is now Maine.

The government of Massachusetts is determined to repel this invasion without help from the Continental Army. It calls up its militia and its fledgling navy. It does accept help from the American national Navy and its contingent of Marines. By far, the most famous American in thi
Oct 21, 2016 MrsRK rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As always, Cornwell hits it. Great historical novel, lots of facts, enhanced by action and some suspense. If you love this country and its rich History, you will love this book. Cornwell is British, who moved to the US to be with his American wife. He lives in Cape Cod and his library displays a huge American flag.
A less-than-memorable Cornwell novel about a little known Revolutionary War battle where the British send a regiment of Scots into Maine to build and occupy a fort. The Massachusetts militia respond and we get 400+ pages of back and forth. The self-serving character of Colonel Paul Revere is the most interesting. But ultimately the story is just kind of *there.* The Brits remain, the Americans retreat and....well...that's it.
The most interesting part of this book is the Historical Note chapter in the back. However, to really appreciate the Historical Note, you need to read the entire book. Sorry...
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Historical Mystery Fiction- Revolutionary War 1 1 Feb 03, 2017 08:59AM  
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who 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 birth mother's maiden n ...more
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