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5.0 out of 5 stars a great read
This is a book of great interest to the western fan.
The story lines cross over and over to add suspense.
Published 18 months ago by H. Osborn

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars This work of Cornwell lacks the same quality as Sharpe.
After having read all of Cornwell's Sharpe series including the recent book "Triumph", I was eager to begin the Starbuck series. I was somewhat dissapointed in the story and the main character. Starbuck lacks the conquering hero qualities of Sharpe. Starbuck comes from a good background and becomes corrupted in the novel. What appealed to me about the Sharpe...
Published on July 17 1998 by jorton@lemoorenet.com


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5.0 out of 5 stars a great read, Jan. 1 2013
By 
H. Osborn (canada) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Rebel (Hardcover)
This is a book of great interest to the western fan.
The story lines cross over and over to add suspense.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently Crafted, May 23 2002
In "Rebel" we meet for the first time one Nathan Starbuck(whos last name is a mystery to me.) Like all Cornwell books you need a sidekick and Nate gets one in Sergant Turslow(the American ansewer to Patrick Harper). The book as are all(or most Cornwell books is excellently crafted with lots of detail and even interspured with humor. This serise of books is one of the finest Cornwell has ever written.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining!, Dec 3 2001
By 
"p_trabaris" (Naperville, IL United States) - See all my reviews
For a different type of Civil War story I recommend "Rebel" by Bernard Cornwell. "Rebel" is the story of a lackluster seminary college student from Boston, MA finding his true calling in life as a soldier. Part of a four book series set, "Rebel" is book one of the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles. The story is set in ante-bellum Virginia right before the Civil War is in full swing.
The hero Nate Starbuck is a northerner who decides to fight for the Confederacy. His reasons are not specifically stated but we can infer that he is rejecting his family's way of life and rebelling against both his nation and his repressive father. Starbuck decides to join his friend's father's legion as a second lieutenant. Prior to the war, Starbuck has shown little aptitude for any other trade and he hopes that soldiering is his true calling. The battle of Manassas (or the first battle of Bull Run) is Starbuck's proving ground where he shows his budding talent.
Very much like Cornwell's Sharpe series, Starbuck is a little too good to be real and that's what makes "Rebel" so fun to read. Interestingly enough Cornwell gives lots background about Starbuck, more than he has shared about Sharpe in any of his Sharpe stories. I think it is unusual that Cornwell's hero Starbuck selected the South to pledge his allegiance, he is after all a northerner born and bred. Perhaps It is Cornwell's way of illustrating how far Starbuck is rejecting his old way of life.
Nevertheless, I found the novel very entertaining and recommend it to readers who look for high adventure and exciting stories. It is hard to find fault with any novel by Bernard Cornwell. He is an excellent story-teller and he can write. I would recommend "Rebel" to readers who enjoy wars/battles and don't mind a few facts getting lost along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sharpe in the American Civil War?, May 23 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
Cornwell is a gifted writer and story teller. When I first became addicted to the Sharpe books I devoured them at the rate of about one every couple of days. I have just recently begun to read the Starbuck books. (I wish Cornwell could have thought of a better name for the main character. Every time I see the name "Starbuck" I think about Dirk Benedict's character in the old "Battlestar Galactica" television show!).
Although this book was very enjoyable, I am afraid that Starbuck is nothing but Sharpe in the American Civil War. It appears that Sergeant Truslow is the Confederate version of Sergeant Harper. Even the plot appears to some extent to be merely a re-working of "Sharpe's Eagle." Just as Sharpe and Harper killed the obnoxious Lt. Gibbons in battle in "Sharpe's Eagle," so Starbuck kills the obnoxious Captain Ridley during the heat of the First Battle of Bull Run.
Mr. Cornwell's command of 19th century military history is excellent except for one error which irritated me and hindered, to some extent, my enjoyment of the book. At several points in the novel Cornwell refers to General P.G.T. Beauregard's army at Manassas as "The Army of Northern Virginia." In reality, this force was called, at this early point in the war, "The Army of the Potomac," which, of course, later became the name for the principle Union Army in the East. (The Southern forces under the command of General J.E. Johnston which arrived in the nick of time at the Battle of First Bull Run was styled "The Army of the Shenandoah.") The Confederate Army in Virginia is not properly known as the "Army of Northern Virginia" until after Robert E. Lee took command of the force in June, 1862. Mr. Cornwell does not usually make errors of this magnitude in his works, and I wonder if this error was merely an oversight or was it intentional?
In closing, although "Rebel" is not "great literature" by any stretch of the imag! ination, it is great entertainment and, like the Sharpe novels, a painless history lesson.
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5.0 out of 5 stars CORNWELL FANS, LET'S BE ARROGANT!, July 6 2004
Bernard Cornwell can write a scene of battle better than anyone on this planet. Sharpe, Thomas of Hookton, and Nathanial starbuck have all slugged through horrendous tours of duty and we've all intimately felt it thanks to the "in the trench" writing of Cornwell. Despite some sentiment that Cornwell has developed a recipe for his novels and have unjustly hacked stars from the ranking, they should look at other novelists who have remotely produced a body of quality work such as Cornwell. That being said, Rebel is the first in the great Starbuck Chronicles(Chronicles is to Legion as Series is to Brigade). The quote on my copy says, "The best thing to hit Civil War fiction since Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels." - Washington Post. The Killer Angels is the Gold Standard of Civil War writing. Fairly said, Rebel alone is no Killer Angels, but the series certainly is and Nathanial Starbuck is a character that you want to get to know. As with Sharpe and Thomas (of Hookton), his courage, knowledge, and confidence grow with time and experience and as a reader, you grow with them. For readers who are Civil War reenactors you'll find no "farby" writing here. The Zouaves (between the cracks Federal & Reb uniform nuance) and artillery are represented and for the Rebs in the crowd you'll be happy to see the Tigers at Manassas.
One questions Bernard, "Whatcha got against the horses?" That's the point; Cornwell pulls no punch when the men are at war. I encourage all Cornwell fans to read (ya already have I suppose) - fans of Civil War, Yanks or Rebs and fans of top shelf historical fiction - climb on board this caisson!
Enjoy,
23rdPA "Birney's Zouaves!"
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greatest civil war series of all time, and sadly unfinished., June 26 2004
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
In Bernard Corwell's "Starbuck Chronicles" Cornwell does everything right, succeeding IMO in writing the best historical fiction ever written on the subject of the American Civil War - Yes even better then John Jake's "North and South", or "The Red Badge of Courage"
Cornwell's greatest success probably is his amazing detail and great historical accuracy in desribing the war. What i probably found most impresive was his great detail in desribing battles such as Bull Run and Antietam - every sentence kept me captivated and this detail alone is reason enough for anyone interested in the war to read each and every book in the series cover to cover. You will hard pressed to find anything either fiction or non fiction that does a better job giving you a total mental picture of the battles portrayed in the series (i was especially impressed with the great detail desribing the battle of Antietam)
As with the other historical and political aspects of the civil war Cornwell addresses everything, the struggle of freedom over slavery plays a pivotal role in the series and throughout Cornwell's novels he does a great job of accurately portraying nearly every pivotal political and military figure central to the eastern theater of the civil war.
For those of you woried that the series may be to much history, not enough story put your mind at ease. Not only does Cornwell succeed in writing one of the best accounts of the war ever written he gets an "A" grade when it comes to the story as well.
Cornwell delivers one of the most memorable cast of characters ever. Just to give you a little background, without giving to much away the main character Nathaniel Starbuck (Son of a fictional famous abolitionist) arrives in Richmond, Virginia just as news arrives of the siege of Fort Sumnter. Through a series of events Nathan finds himself fighting for the South out of simple gratitude to the father of his best friend.
While the first book "Rebel" ends after the southern victory at Manassas (Bull Run) the rollercoaster of emotions, fitting the events that surround the characters really comes into being in the following books.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of "Rebel" and read this series - you won't be dissapointed. It isn't often that i read the same book more then once but i've read each book in the series at least several times, they're that good.
I dearly hope that one day Bernard Cornwell will do us the favor of completing this incredible series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Got here backwards, but had a good time!, Nov. 12 2003
By A Customer
When an established author gives a blurb to another up-and-coming one, no one imagines that the established author will benefit. But here's a case when he did. I've been a fan of James L. Nelson's sea-faring adventures since the beginning of his "Revolution at Sea" series. I snatched up Nelson's latest book, "Glory in the Name," and was not disappointed. The guy just keeps getting better and better. When I was done, I scanned the blurbs on the book and saw that Bernard Cornwell called it the best Civil War novel he'd ever read. I thought, well, if his judgment is that good let's try him out.
Again I was not disappointed. Cornwell's Civil War series is fast and exciting. Some of what the other reviews, here, say are pretty fair. These are full ahead adventures without a lot of heavy characterization. These aren't historical essays disguised as fiction, but really the descendents of the best historical-adventures in pulp fiction of the thirties and forties. I would like to see a Civil War hero from the North someday, but I guess its more interesting for the author to follow the "lost cause" and the underdogs. Of course, with the generalship the North suffered under till Grant came on board, there should be enough suffering and angst for any storyteller. Until then, Bernard Cornwell tells a good tale and writes blurbs for good books.
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2.0 out of 5 stars it's no Gods and Generals, July 31 2003
By 
P. Fan "Amaranth" (new york, ny United States) - See all my reviews
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I was hopping that this fictional account of the civil war will have the same riveting battle scenes and in-depth account of the human struggle as the war escalated, but it was quite disappointing. Starbuck and all the other characters are two-dimensional. Also the future of how each characters turn out by the end of the novel is quite predictable. Therefore, I know I wouldn't be reading the second book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars An Inauspicious Begining, Nov. 9 2002
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
One of my favorite writers of historical fiction kicks off his Civil War series with this remarkably tepid tale. A number of flaws make themselves manifest over the course of the book, the foremost of which is an unlikable hero. Cornwell seems to have decided to take the hero of his wildly successful Napoleonic era series, Richard Sharpe, and make his new hero come from the exact opposite background. Unfortunately, while one is naturally inclined to root for an orphaned, gutter-bred, ill-mannered rogue who rises through the ranks due to sheer merit, one is much less likely to root for the privileged scion of a Boston abolitionist preacher who joins the Confederate forces as an act of rebellion against his strict upbringing! Indeed, while Sharpe grows and learns a little in each book, the only thing Starbuck seems to learn in this first volume is to devalue human life! Indeed, his overall transformation seems rather forced.
It doesn't help that Cornwell appears to be creating the same setups as in the Sharpe series, giving his hero a dangerous and loyal sidekick, a passel of idiotic officers, with one or two sprinkled in who recognize the hero's value. There's even a tempting woman to lead all the men astray! It's also rather slow and plodding compared to the Sharpe books, although granted, it appears to be designed more as a prelude to the series than anything else.
The story follows 20ish Nate Starbuck, as he enlists in a local Confederate force being mustered by the fabulously wealthy and dangerously vain father of his best friend. The book sees the slow build to war, as the "Faulconer Legion" equips and readies itself, before finally getting into action at the Battle of Manassas (aka Bull Run 1). The battle/action scenes are adequate, but not as gripping as his Napoleonic stuff. I suspect this may be because the Civil War is more familiar to us Americansï¿we've seen it in print, on TV, in film, even reenacted!ï¿whereas the Napoleonic battle has the allure of something new.
As always with Cornwell, there's a ton of interesting little details, and various historical figures popping in and out of the plot. He does seem to play rather loose with a number of facts, but it is fiction after all. I'll read the next in the series, but this one was a serious disappointment for this Cornwell fan!
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5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK THE FIRST OF THE SERIES IM HOOKED!!1, March 31 2002
By 
Edwin Ortiz (edgewater, nj USA) - See all my reviews
IM A CIVIL WAR BUFF AND I TOOK A CHANCE ON THIS BOOK DESPITE THE FACT THE HERO IS A CONFEDRATE AND THE RISK WAS WELL WORTH IT. THE CHARCTERS ARE MULTI DIMENSIONAL AND MR CROMWELL HAS A GREAT WRITING STYLE THAT MAKES HISTORY COME ALIVE. I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK HIGHLY.
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Rebel by Bernard Cornwell (Hardcover - Jan. 7 1993)
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