With the good excuse of not being a Massachusetts/Maine/Boston person, the contact previous to this book that I had had with Paul Revere had amounted to me hearing the name. I would have considered it vaguely familiar to myself.
Now, after finishing this wonderful book and the afterword by the author, I can say that I know a fair bit more about him and his general value. And, much like Mr Cornwell wrote, if the General Peleg Wadsworth’s descendant had also known it, I believe that we would be reading of the ‘Midnight Ride of … [someone else]’. Not Paul Revere.
Indeed, I find it interesting how on the American side people managed to comfortably forget such a brilliant disaster of naval history as well as anoint one of the (supposed) culprits to as great a position as they’ve done with Mr Revere.
In any case, when I try to approach the book and leave the good character of Paul in peace…
We have, in theory, a story of the State of Massachusetts preparing an expedition to expel the British from their newly founded New Ireland with its capital at Fort George. The British are led by General McLean who has a force of 700+ men and three sloops of war. The good State of Massachusetts wishes to drive these nasty Brits into the sea by forming up its militia of a few thousand… which is unfortunately not quite accomplished when they assemble near a thousand men. But, these thousand men are supported by a frigate and around forty other ships, and two hundred most sturdy Marines.
Anyone want to guess the outcome? There was one hint above: militia. =)
This was the second Bernard Cornwell book I’d read, with the previous one being a Sharpe series installment, and I believe to have enjoyed it more. That might have, however, had to do with the more naval action here, plus the general sense of British humour that could be compared to the Americans. Whatever else said, the Penobscot Expedition did not lack interesting characters, and I do believe that the author has done them justice here.
So, overall, a very good and enjoyable war story which is all the better for depicting a scene that is not generally (as far as I know) known.