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The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary War
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The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary War

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  4,193 Ratings  ·  440 Reviews
From New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell—one of the greatest yet little-known skirmishes of the Revolution: the Penobscot Expedition, a battle that would reveal the true character of a legendary Revolutionary hero.

This new novel takes place during the very early days of the rebellion, or the War of Independence, in 18th century Massachusetts before Washingto
Paperback, 496 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Harper Paperbacks (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
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
Richard Mulholland
Apr 09, 2011 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
Milo (BOK)
Disappointing. An OK read but expected better from Cornell especially given the time period. First Cornell book that I've not enjoyed.
Paul Pessolano
Feb 03, 2011 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
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Bellissimo pezzo di storia, abbastanza misconosciuto. Purtroppo, però, non all'altezza del solito Cornwell.
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 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
Mar 11, 2016 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.
Hayden Hoover
Aug 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some might say that this book was boring or this book was not interesting enough but I found that this book was most helpful in understanding history through a more enjoyable context than a textbook. Considering it as a novel, it was one of the most interesting historical novels I have ever read. In this novel by Bernard Cornwell was published in 2010 and is not the typical Bernard Cornwell book. Bernard Cornwell is typically known to write historical fiction from the time periods such as the Na ...more
Jul 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: summer-1779
The author is passionate about providing detailed information while showing the story. 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 fl
Nathan Trachta
Oct 23, 2010 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
Oct 03, 2016 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
Oct 19, 2015 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 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.
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."
Sep 24, 2014 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.
Lillian White
This book is a recount of a running battle during the Penobscot Expedition in the American Revolutionary war in 1779. Featuring real-life historical characters, times, places etc, it is a knowledgeable and accurate telling of the events of that time and place. Unfortunately, that is how it read: as a recount. There are one or two other characters added into the story to offer 'human interest' if that is the right term to use, outside of the war, but I found them hard to warm to and did not much ...more
David Fox
Spoiler alert! This story reveals the true character of an American "patriot" Paul Revere and I think he is a pompous, cowardly, braggadocio douche. The book also reveals and expands on the gritty and often much ignored growing pains of a new country. The book details an attempt made by the British to re establish it's presence in America and the repercussions sent by the Americans to drive them out. More than a battle though the book is about proper leadership and how to inspire your men and dr ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book in Castine, Maine - which in 1779 was the the scene of a major American military disaster which ended in among other things the disgrace of Paul Revere. The book has a few too many battles in it for me but the history, of which I knew nothing, was really interesting including the politics between The Continental Army and the Massachusetts military (Maine was part of Massachusetts at that time). The characters are very well drawn and the history as well researched as possible. ...more
Terrie Wiederich
Oct 12, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a difficult read, a little bit boring. Half-way through the book, I read a spoiler and lost interest completely. I try not to start a new book before finishing the previous one and I spent MONTHS not reading anything until I finally decided to give up on The Fort. If you do choose to read it, do yourself a favor and DON’T read any reviews. Some reviewers have neglected to give fair warning of spoilers.
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Historical Mystery Fiction- Revolutionary War 1 3 Feb 03, 2017 08:59AM  
Title 2 31 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, 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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