Rebel (Starbuck Chronicles 1)
The first book in Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling series on the American Civil War.
It is summer 1861. The armies of North and South stand on the brink of America’s civil war.
Nathanial Starbuck, jilted by his girl and estranged from his family, arrives in the capital of the Confederate South, where he enlists in an elite regiment being raised by rich, eccentric Washington Faulconer.
Pledged to the Faulconer Legion, Starbuck becomes a northern boy fighting for the southern cause. But nothing can prepare him for the shocking violence to follow in the war which broke America in two.
Cornwell turns his attention from the Napoleanic Wars to the American Civil War in this new series, and he does an equally good job with it. The writing, the research, and the characterisations are all as good as anything in the Sharp series, perhaps even a little better – it’s nothing I can articulate, but I find Starbuck a more interesting character than Sharpe, it might be because he changes so drastically.
A great job is done here of showing the divisions within a country as it fights itself, not to mention showing why people go to war: some for pride, some because they have no other choice, and others to prove something to themselves or to the people around them.
Every character in this book has their reason for fighting, and for picking the side they do, and it’s not always easy to to tell what that reason is straight off because these are believably real characters.
The characterisations are what makes the history come to life, they turn what could have been a dry account of events into something worth reading.
If you’re a fan of the Sharpe books, then you should definitely give this a go.