countdown boutiques-francophones SubscribeAndSave Pets Kindle Explore the Amazon.ca Vinyl LP Records Store sports Tools

  • Rebel
  • Customer Reviews

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
27
4.1 out of 5 stars
Format: Hardcover|Change
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on December 3, 2001
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 14, 2002
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 5, 1999
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!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 29, 2001
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 7, 1999
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 7, 1999
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 3, 1999
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!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 9, 2000
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 4, 2000
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.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 18, 1998
This is a wonderful series of books covering the civil war from the Southern viewpoint through the eyes of a Yankee sympathetic to the Southern cause through highly stretched circumstances!!! Superficial at best, enthusiasts will be left wanting. When one knows the author is British, one wonders why he would try to write this historical fiction when he has no feel for the genre...and it shows; it lacks feeling.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse