Anyone with a knowledge of the US Navy in the revolutionary war might be aware of the record of the American Navy (with the very noticeable exception of John Paul Jones) that was so dismal that it's is a shocking that they did so well during the war of 1812.
Bernard Cornwell in his latest work of historical fiction tells the story of Majabigwaduce, the British expedition to capture and fortify it and the Massachusetts expedition to drive them away.
You have sympathetic characters on both sides. Gen McLean with a young Lt. John Moore who would find his fame later in life convinced that they have no prayer of holding Fort George that they are building on the fly. Meanwhile Peleg Wadsworth on the American side is dealing with a commander on land waiting for his fleet to act, a commander at sea waiting for the land force to attack and a Col of artillery named Paul Revere who seems more interested in his prerogatives than in the battle itself.
We see the preparations being made and the result considered a foregone conclusion by both sides, but men act according to their gifts and with the exception of Wadsworth the American commanders prove a gift that keeps on giving to the British.
For those familiar with his Sharpe series the back and forth of battle will be a sight they recognize, Cornwell knows how to make a battlefield come alive and this fight is no exception. The book continues to move and we find ourselves identifying with the men of both sides, as we might expect since they are all the same stock.
The book seems slightly slower than many of his other works but the deeper you get into the volume, the deeper the volume draws you in.
The Fort is a bastion of the quality that we have come to expect from Cronwell. It is worth your time and money.
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In response, Massachusetts sends a fleet of more than forty vessels and some one thousand infantrymen to “captivate, kill or destroy” the foreign invaders. Second in command is Peleg Wadsworth, a veteran of the battles at Lexington and Long Island, once aide to General Washington, and a man who sees clearly what must be done to expel the invaders.
But ineptitude and irresolution lead to a mortifying defeat—and have stunning repercussions for two men on opposite sides: an untested eighteen-year-old Scottish lieutenant named John Moore, who will begin an illustrious military career; and a Boston silversmith and patriot named Paul Revere, who will face court-martial for disobedience and cowardice.
Grounded firmly in history, inimitably told in Cornwell's thrilling narrative style, The Fort is the extraordinary novel of this fascinating clash between a superpower and a nation in the making.A Q&A with Author Bernard Cornwell