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.