Rebel (Starbuck Chronicles 1)

Bernard Cornwell


rebelThe 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.

Patriot Games

Patriot Games

Tom Clancy


On holiday in London, Ja518cfc9bzhlck Ryan, historian, teacher and former marine, gets in the way of a terrorist attack. When the terrorist he captured escapes custody and his family is attacked Ryan joins the CIA, where he uses his intelligence and his ability as an analyst to track down the terrorists, who are planning a fresh attack on the target Ryan saved.

Despite being thirty years old, Patriot Games never feels dated as it follows Jack Ryan’s efforts to do the right thing while protecting his family. Jack Ryan is a well realised character with a conscience and flaws, all of which make him as realistic as any to be found within the pages of a book; contrasting him are the terrorists, who have a deadly goal and are prepared to kill anyone that gets in their way to achieve it – they are not rabid, indiscriminate killers, though, they’re intelligent and they have a plan.

While there’s no doubt who we’re supposed to root for, Tom Clancy has done a good job of showing that terrorists are not all mindless, suicidal bombers, which makes them all the more frightening. He also shows the work done quietly, out of the spotlight, by the security services who fight such men and woman on a daily business.

In this age of increased terrorist activity, Patriot Games gives an important insight into the war being fought to protect us all.