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Redcoat Paperback – Aug 23 2011


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Joseph (Aug. 23 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241955629
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241955628
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #132,061 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

The British occupation of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War brings together two unlikely comrades, redcoat Sam Gilpin and rebel Jonathon Becket. The story of these two young men evocatively illustrates the divided loyalties that characterized this war. Though both men love the same woman, the true heroine of the novel is Becket's patriot sister, Martha Crowl. She commands the attention of the reader with every appearance. The grim and gory reality of war is skillfully played out against the gaiety of Loyalist society. Cornwell's fictional characters mingle well with the historical figures of the time. A worthwhile effort by Cornwell, known for his historical adventures, the Richard Sharpe series. Recommended. Lydia Burruel Johnson, Mesa P.L., Ariz.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Arousing adventure yarn. . . [The] battle scenes are excellent." -- Washington Post Book World

"Cornwell's command of historical detail is one of the great strengths of his writing..." -- Washington Times

"Electrifying . . . [Cornwell] is a master at describing battles as observed by the participants." -- St. Louis Post-Dispatch --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
Bernard Cornwell's Redcoat takes place during the American Revolution, largely in and around Philadelphia. He uses numerous characters, both historic and fictional, to tell the story of the British occupation of that city. Their lives become a tangle of rebel and loyalist, love and hate.
Sir William Howe commands the Redcoats, but it is Sam Gilpin, a private in his army, whose story intertwines with that of Jonathan Becket, a young rebel with a club foot. They become friends and Sam helps Jonathan to survive a terrible leg wound. Both fall in love with Caroline Fisher. Complicating matters, Christopher Vane, a British officer, falls in love with Jonathan's widowed sister, Martha Crowl. Being a rebel herself, she spurns Vane's advances, and he swears vengeance on her.
In this work, Cornwell is at his best when describing the battles, other military matters, and the milieu in which they occur. He gives a very strong flavor of the times and the country.
Readers who enjoy this work, will also enjoy Cornwell's Sharpe series, for which he is rightly well known. For a less fictional account of the Revolutionary War period, Alan Eckert's narrative history, Wilderness War, is an exciting and accurate portrayal of the campaign against the Indians in the Western New York and Pennsylvania.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Not a Sharpe or Starbuck found in any page, which is an interesting change of pace for Bernard Cornwell. Nevertheless, "Redcoat" is enjoyable historical fiction and Cornwell serves up his usual excellent effort. The time is 1777 and the America colonists are rebelling against their British masters. General Sir William Howe leads the British contingent in the Americas. His task is to bring the colonies under control but the rebel-colonists have no intention of letting that happen. The General is surrounded by rebel sympathizers and spies. One of the most interesting items about this story is that the book's vantage-point is almost entirely from that of the British (which is rare, especially in the U.S.A.) I found this viewpoint refreshing.
The main character Sam Gilpin is a former stable boy turned British infantry soldier. Sam witnesses his brother's execution by the evil Sargent Scammell, a psychotic killer, and wisely decides that soldiering is not for him. Whereupon, Sam accepts a position as a personal servant to Captain Vane who is a social climbing career army officer. Since the British Army does not allow for soldiers to leave the service easily, Sam must somehow survive in this adverse environment. Probably what makes this book unusual is the intercourse between civilians and the military. In Cornwell's other stories you rarely witness discussions between soldiers and civilians.
Cornwell writes great fiction. He certainly had enough material to write a few stories about the revolutionary war but chose instead to write this one book. The way he ends the story it is clear that he intends no sequels, that is a shame because the Revolutionary War would be a natural landscape for his novels to appear. If you like this story I recommend the Sharpe series, especially "Sharpe's Company", "Sharpe's Regiment", and "Sharpe's Eagle". All are great books.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The author is best known for his Sharpe series. This historical novel, in a slightly earlier time frame, is set in and around Philadelphia after the Battle of Brandywine. It is based on the British occupation of Philadelphia, and the various battles and skirmishes between the British Army and the American Army. It provides a realistic account, using both real and fictional characters, including the army's brutality towards the enemy (killing wounded enemy soldiers), the army's brutality towards its own troops, and the general pillaging of civilian property. There are a number of intertwined plots based on the actions and attitudes of different individuals. The key players other than General Howe, his mistress Lizzie Loring, his brother Admiral Lord Howe, Captain Andre, etc., are the fictional British Army private Sam Gilpin and his commander Captain Vane; the 20-year old Philadelphian Jonathan Becket, his sister Mrs. Crowl, and his uncle Abel Becket; and the young rebel Caroline from across the river. The plot drags a little at some points as the author establishes characters and situations, but overall is a good story. The story deals with the seamier side of life, with conflicting romantic interests, various people out to feather their own nests, and considerable violence. It is definitely not the type of whitewashed history you find in school textbooks.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Redcoat is a fine work of historical fiction on the American Revolution as seen from the British perspective. The ingredients of Cornwall's writing are all here. Characters are standard fair for him, with some clever deviations. Cornwall seems to revel in graphic, bloody descriptions of fighting, whether a battle or a fight to the death between two protagonists. At times I find this penchant for violence threatens to undermine the fine historical research that goes into his works. The main stength of this novel lies in its fine depiction of General Howe's 1777 Philadelphia campaign. The description of the British night attack at Paoli's Tavern and the rebel counter-attack and near success at Germantown are first-rate, and alone worth reading. While some of the characters and plot are standard Cornwall creations, traceable to his ever popular Sharpe series with predictable villins, confused heros, and shattered notions of honor, the reader can still get a very balanced view of what motivated both sides in this conflcit. Rebel and Loyalist outlooks are clearly expressed through the characters. The book delivers a good story, slow at times, but reflective of the nature of the war itself, and those who were pursueing it. There are some clever character developments here, with interesting role reversals which provide for surprise. If the reader does not mind Cornwall's often graphic, bloodletting descriptions, he will find much of merit here. This is a good novel on the American Revolution, with rich historical detail and some interesting plot.
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