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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good...., March 14 2002
By 
Harry F. Clark (Waynesboro, VA USA) - See all my reviews
I've enjoyed reading Cornwell's series of Civil War novels (the Starbuck series). I recommend them, however, only with certain reservations.
These books are best approached as works of pure fiction that are set against approximations of history. People who read them either as an introduction to or as an adjunct to a study of actual history need to be wary here. Cornwell is a novelist, not an historian. Usually he gets the facts right; sometimes he does not. He freely invents major characters and events, and there are places where he alters established historical fact to suit his fiction. The result can be confusing.
For example, in _Copperhead_, Cornwell has Johnston hatching the battle plan for the Seven Pines offensive all on his own. That's not the way it happened. What's known about what did happen is far more interesting than Cornwell's altered and simplified version of events.
The second bone I have to pick with Cornwell's Civil War books, is that people who have read his previous novels (the Sharpe series) will find the many of the same characters and themes recurring in these. The characters here are somewhat less one-dimensional, but they're still transparent and predictable. The dialog is better.
As an historical novelist, I would spot Cornwell somewhere between Patrick O'Brian and the Shaaras (Michael and Jeff). He's not as good a novelist as O'Brian; he's not as good an historian as the Shaaras. On the other hand, he's almost as good as all of them combined. Not quite, but almost.
For those looking for the best Civil War novels, I would read these only after first reading the Shaaras' trilogy and The Red Badge of Courage. If at all possible, I would then read them alongside more carefully written accounts of the historical backgrounds.
That said, this is an excellent series of books. It will hold your attention and give you a fairly accurate impression of the sorts of things that really did go on back then. The facts are somewhat loose, but the final impression you'll get will not be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comedic Conferates Win as Well, Aug. 25 2001
By 
Harry Kelley (Mt. Pleasant, MI US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
In addition to all that's been said about the battles, I have to say that there is much of comic genius in this book. Thaddeus Byrd is one of the funniest characters on paper (paper worth more than what it is printed upon indeed). His blustery apprehension of the cracked world is as winning as it is side-splitting. His tenderness in considering his young wife make you love him. His achievement of presence in the Battle of Manassas is a remarkable development. As a Southerner, I have to say the Cornwell gets it right. It is very rare that anyone except Southerners get the details of Southern sensibility correct. And generally Southerners themselves are quick to hide behind a mask of pleasant amusement. But the bravado, insecurity, breeding, manners, and style of the South are perfectly laid out in the writing of this novel. I for one did not find the battle to be the heart of the novel. Rather, I found it to be the development of Faulkner, the braggadocio of a self-made man, the epitome of the South, and the revealing of his spineless nature. Mind you, I have living relatives name Robert Lee and John Davis. And the original name on my own birth certifice was Stonewall Jackson.
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5.0 out of 5 stars down to the smallest detail, Jan. 30 2001
By 
Sara (Scranton, PA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
I find it interesting that Cornwell chose to write his story from the Confederate standpoint...nowadays many stories are told from the northern perspective. Being a current student of history, I think that it's important (even if the main character and some of those he interacts with are fictitious) that people acquaint themselves with truths from both sides. We should not be afraid of the past...however awful some events may have been, they nevertheless happened and are now part of our history. I enjoyed this book not only for looking at the "other" side, but because of Cornwell's descriptive ability...his account of the Battle at Manassas is about 80+ pages long and captures the smallest details. A very worthwhile read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wel written and good to read, Aug. 27 2000
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
Most people will associate Bernard Cornwell's writings with the adventures of Richard Shape, both in Spain/France and more recently in India. Rebel is set at the start of the American Civil War, yet has many of the themes of the Sharpe books, the soldiers life, incompetent officers, sergeants to be won over, a love interest and the occasional internal dialogue reflecting the thoughts of the main figures. Cornwell brings his vast literary talents and depicts a Virginia of 1861 that is on the verge of a destructive and bloody war. His writing is what you would expect of an author who fine-tuned his military fiction over a whole series of musket and shell novels.
Nathaniel Starbuck is the son of a northern abolitionist preacher. Hailing from Boston he finds himself caught up in the turmoil of a Richmond - capital of the Confederacy - which seems intent on war. Saved from tar and feather at the hands of a war hungry mob by his friends father - the rich and egotistical Washington Faulconer - Starbuck enlists in the Faulconer Legion and marches off to war against his home - the North.
This is a good book and I enjoyed it a great deal. However, where I think Cornwell excels are in his descriptions of battle scenes. Unlike Sharpe who is usually thrown into battle within the first pages, Starbuck does not experience battle until the end of the novel. This is not to the detriment of the book, but it is worth bearing in mind if you are expecting a total replica of Richard Sharpe.
The battle in question is First Manassas or Bull Run in the North (the confederates usually named battle sites after the nearest inhabitation, whereas the Federals usually used the nearest geographical landmark). Cornwell writes with skill and enthusiasm of the battle, which reflects his obvious extensive research of the subject matter, for example, his depiction of the vulgar Confederate Colonel 'Shanks' Evans is wonderfully graphic and historically correct. Often the events can seem confusing to read, not because of Cornwell's writing but rather because First Manassas was confusing! So be prepared to be propelled right into the heart of the battle, the musket smoke, the crash of the shell, the whine of the shot and the gasps of the dying.
Bernard Cornwell has written four 'Starbuck' novels and it is reported that the question he dislikes the most is when will number five come along. There is no doubt that Sharpe is both his first love and indeed proves to be more lucrative but Starbuck is equally well written, good to read and hopefully deserving of further adventures.
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4.0 out of 5 stars VERY GOOD, Aug. 10 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
This book is great, althought I resent the fact that the main character is a confederate soldier. But at least he dosen't belive in slavery or anything... he's just a rebel! That's his reason and he really is! Whether trying to hunt down a disgruntled mountain man murderer to fight by his side, or blowing enemy faces off this book is pure goodness and will keep you interested the whole time. Who cares if main character has the same name as a succsesful coffie shop? This book is great.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Introducing a Hero, April 19 2000
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
I cannot rate this book without talking about the brilliance of the whole series. Cornwell takes you from your reading room, and teleports you back to a simpler time. And you find out that it's not so simple. Set against the backdrop of the Eastern Theatre in the American Civil War, he portrays the massive carnage and greatest bravery in minute detail. You actually hear the cannons, and smell the rotting flesh of the wounded. Yet, the main plot does not take place amongst the gunfire outside. But, rather, within. It is a story of a soul, and his struggle with God, man, who he is, and what he stands for. Amidst the shouting, crying, blasting, and dieing...is a poor heart, searching for peace. I found Cornwell's protrayal of Nate Starbuck to be no less than perfect. I found myself rooting, questioning, hoping, and praying for this fictional character. For, I saw myself in Nate. The same questions, fears, and desires. When done, I walked away from this story with a different outlook on life, liberty, and what's truly important. As will you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read, Jan. 4 2000
By 
Erik Gnann (Buffalo, New York, United states of america) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
Rebel by Bernard Cornwall was one of the best historical fiction books that i have ever read. I recently finished this book and i enjoyed it so much that that very night i started to read the second book in teh satrbuck chronicles Copperhead. Rebel is filled with fascinating characters, suck as Truslow the un rifined backwoodsman who even though he hates Yankees befreinds starbuck and even helps him at the end of the book. The battle scenes were amazing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cornwell knows the heart of war, Sept. 5 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
Oh to write like Bernard Cornwell! How is it that an Englishman so aptly portrays the inner conflicts of a northern Bostonian who has joined up with the Confederate cause? Perhaps Starbuck, the protagonist in this 3 volumn epic has a counterpart in the successful Sharp series circa the Napoleanic wars. The new Rebel is Nate Starbuck and he's just as dashing, daring, and reckless as the older hero. It's evident that Cornwell visited battlefields on-site and did extensive research prior to writing this novel. But true to Cornwell's style he is able to blend in the good/evil antagonist Washington Falconer, founder of Falconer's Brigade, add a dash of the sexy harlot Ms Truslow, and debate the morals of the good vs evil via Reverand Starbuck the hero's father and you have not just a good novel, but a great novel!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cornwell has done it again with Starbuck!, Aug. 4 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
Nate Starbuck is a traditional hero in the mold of Derfel Cadarn and Richard Sharpe! Bernard Cornwell has created a character unique from his other characters, but still struggling to be the best soldier he can be. The story of Nate Starbuck is an odyssey of a man being cast out from his life, and finding in himself a new life. Nate is a failure in everything he does, and the Civil War gives him the opportunity to become a soldier. This is a great book, and I can't wait to read the others in the series. Here is another hero I can care about!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great remembrance, June 7 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Rebel (Mass Market Paperback)
I have not had the opportunity to read any of Bernard Cornwell's other books but I can assure you that I will start after I finished this novel. Cornwell creates a story that is truly believable while not sacrificing the true historical happenings of the Battle of Bull Run. Although, at times, I was lost trying to figure out how much time had passed between certain scenes, I thought it did lend a bit of fluidity to the confusing aspect that war is. This is a particularly good book if you are looking to learn about the Civil War while enjoying an well woven tale.
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Rebel
Rebel by Bernard Cornwell (Hardcover - Jan. 7 1993)
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