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Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen, Anna Quindlen

The Fort

The Fort - Bernard Cornwell I tired…HA! I meant to write "I tried…" but I'm going to leave that typo in, because it's suitable. I tried reading The Fort and I tired of it. Unless they're causing me to pull out my pubes or take a potato peeler to my eyeballs, I don't like to give up on books. However, as I neared the halfway point of this American Revolution historical fiction by Bernard Cornwell, I realized I had no investment in the characters and little interest in the story. The tweezers and peelers beckoned ominously.

I was surprised I was giving up on a Bernard Cornwell book, being such a big fan of his Sharpe series. He does battle action excellently and has a good eye for historical detail. Part of the problem with The Fort was that it takes a while for the action to develop. There's a good deal of backstory dumped on the reader in order to set the stage. I thought I'd enjoy this bit, since I just finished Nathaniel Philbrick's Bunker Hill and was clamoring for more on the Revolution. I called for it, but all that arrived was this slow-developing, seemingly insignificant engagement.

The other issue was that I had no Richard Sharpe type hero to immediately latch on to. In fact, I'm still left wondering whose meant to be the sympathetic character. There's some obvious meanies, such as truculent British officers, but there's also some backbiters and preachy types on the American side. It's fine by me if Cornwell intended ambiguity. It's not fine that I find neither side particularly appealing. I don't mind my allegiance for characters being up in the air, but I can't loath them all and keep my interest up for long…unless the loathing pushes my buttons and makes me shake my fist at them. No, these were the sorts of disagreeable folks you might meet like strangers at a friend's bbq, people you speak with just long enough to realize you want nothing to do with them and then discreetly move away.