The Fort

Written by Bernard Cornwell
Review by Fenella Miller

The Fort is the story of a battle in the American War of Independence. It took place in the summer of 1779 when a British force of 750 Scottish infantry was dispatched to build a garrison in what is now the State of Maine. The Americans sailed with a fleet of 40 ships and over 2000 men in order to “capture, kill and destroy”. The rebels underestimated their British opponents and, after three weeks of skirmish and attack, the Battle of Penobscot Bay was eventually decided.

This is told from both sides of the battle and all the main characters were real people. As always Cornwall is meticulous in his research and describes the events in vivid detail. The Fort is a well-written, accurate account of an unfamiliar historical event. It was interesting to learn more about John Moore and the truth behind the legend that surrounds Paul Revere.

However it is not a riveting read, unless you are an aficionado of obscure battles and prefer a history book to a novel. It lacks a main character that a reader can identify with and it will disappoint many Cornwell fans who will buy it hoping for a compelling adventure story. They could well be misled by the very Sharpe‑like cover. This is faction, not fiction, and is the first book of Bernard Cornwell’s I’ve not read in one sitting.