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Rebel (The Starbuck Chronicles #1) by…
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Rebel (The Starbuck Chronicles #1) (original 1993; edition 2001)

by Bernard Cornwell

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5721217,365 (3.66)19
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Title:Rebel (The Starbuck Chronicles #1)
Authors:Bernard Cornwell
Info:Perennial/HarperCollins Publishers (2001), Paperback, 402 pages
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Rebel by Bernard Cornwell (1993)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
An interesting novel. Appears to have been one of Cornwell's earlier ones but it was still good. There are three more in the series and I think I will read them at some point. I would like to see what happens to Nate Starbuck and his friend Adam. ( )
  autumnturner76 | Sep 22, 2014 |

I'm on the fence between 4.5 and 5 star review, however, I'll admit that I loved it, flaws and all, but more of that at the end.

World:

Wow, thank you. An author who writes with pronounceable names. While I'm used to spending more time decoding word sounds AND trying to figure out what the item is, you don't have to do that here, even if there are some unique words.

The setting was beautifully described. From the battlefields to the kingdoms, you always have a clear picture in your mind, but it didn't clutter the pages so much that i skimmed. Excellent job here.

Characters:

Wyl, I loved him. I cried when he wouldn't. For a coming to age story, I just felt this was perfectly executed. His struggles were 100% real and applicable to younger MG and up. There were times, I encouraged him forth, and other times I tried to protect him. Any young man or parent can easily identify with his bravery and heart.

The others ... While I understood what was happening, and these characters were also well written, I didn't really connect with anyone except the other young boy. This of course can and surely will change in the future as I await the release of the next books.

Plot:

The story itself reads as not only the beginning of the series, but a true coming of age/station for Wyl. We watch him grow-up, stumble, fight, and persevere. A bit more action in the beginning would've been nice to move it on a little faster. It wasn't anything major, and I still managed to read the story from beginning to end in less than eight hours. There are a few sub-plots that arise and I felt they were executed well too.

Things that didn't quite work for me:

Not enough explanation on the magic of the weather-mage ... but I love magic in stories so this could just be me. Little explanation about Wyl's sire since I have a sneaky suspicion this is on special kid, or maybe it's wishful thinking.

A few info dumps, but I've witnessed worse, and for children with budding imaginations, sometimes more is better ... a lot of talking too, but kids do that, so I'm not certain if this is really a fault. My kids are only silent when asleep :)

The bed play references ... while the second one is understandable, the first kind of made me do a double take. It's not the context so much as the visual image I received as an adult. Would a YA/MatureMG draw what I did, I can't say, but ... yeah.

Finally, I did pick up on a few missing commas, but it didn't affect the readability.

Overall:

I'm hooked and after buying a copy, I plan to let my son read it too. I'd recommend for YA lovers, fantasy lovers, and even kids 10 and up. I look forward to reading the next in the series, and happy to see another dark fantasy. ( )
  AuthorRaeZRyans | May 24, 2014 |
An interesting novel. Appears to have been one of Cornwell's earlier ones but it was still good. There are three more in the series and I think I will read them at some point. I would like to see what happens to Nate Starbuck and his friend Adam. ( )
  AutumnTurner | Dec 29, 2013 |
Rebel is the first in the Nathaniel Starbuck series. Cornwell is best known for the Richard Sharpe series, but he has also written novels about Stonehenge and the Arthurian legend (all on my must-read list). The Starbuck series follows Nate Starbuck, son of Elial Joseph Starbuck, a radical abolitionist preacher, to the South, where he enlists in the Faulconer Legion, more from antagonism toward his father than from any allegiance to states’ rights or slavery.

Nate, while at Yale Seminary, had become enamored of a lithe (lithe, always lithe) young actress, who cons him into helping her rob the owner of the theater where she is performing. They flee together to Virginia just as Fort Sumter falls. She is met at the station by her lover and dumps Nate who, recognized as a Yankee, is about to be tarred and feathered by a mob, when he is summarily rescued by Washington Faulconer, an incredibly wealthy Virginia scion. Faulconer’s money was all made in the stock market and railroads, so his manumission of household slaves hardly represented much commitment to any particular position on the slavery issue. He takes Nate on first as his secretary, then as a lieutenant in his new legion. Elial is incensed at his son’s betrayal of abolitionist values.

Elial is the classic zealot who insists one can recognize a Southerner on sight because of their ape-like features stemming from poor breeding, hence their addiction to slavery. Elial glories in the destruction and blood of the battlefield and hands out biblical tracts to dying men, ignoring their pleas for water. Thaddeus Bird, Faulconer’s brother-in-law, is one of the funniest characters, and he nails Faulconer’s braggadocio and arrogance. He recognizes Nate's valuable qualities. "He can think, Adam, and that's a distressingly rare talent among young men. Most of you believe that it is sufficient to merely agree with the prevailing sentiment, which is of course what dogs and churchgoers do. Starbuck has a mind. . . . and he's endowed with a talent for cruelty."

Another favorite quote of mine attributed to his famous general grandfather is: "War is much like making love to a woman, an activity full of delights, but none of them predictable, and the best of them capable of inflicting grievous injury on a man.” Vignettes of famous people abound. The image of Nathaniel Banks, the Union general at Second Manassas, filled with self-importance, who wanted nothing better than to run for president, preening himself in front of his sycophants until he realizes things are not going so well against Stonewall is a minor classic. Belvidere Delaney, the Southern attorney who presciently realizes the North will win the war and who volunteers to spy for the north is another wonderfully drawn character. Another great character is the foul-mouthed swear-you-under-the-table Nathan Evans, a Confederate colonel. For example: "Faulconer doesn't have men, boy, he has white-livered fairies, Milksops, Mudsills, Black-assed, shadbellied, shit-faced, pussy-hearted trash. . . [and:] Boston, a shit hole. A piss hole. A city of puking crap, Christ, but I hate Boston. A city of Black-assed Republican trash. A city of interfering, hymn-singing, lickbelly women who are no damned good for anything." Let's see Tony Soprano top that!

Cornwell must have done considerable research. One scene has all the qualities of verisimilitude and too delightful not to quote. A surgeon has just amputated a Northern soldier’s leg and the patient won’t come up from under the chloroform haze despite the ammonia spirits the assistant is waving under his nose. “ ‘Give me the chloroform,’ the doctor ordered, then took a scalpel to the patient’s torn trousers and cut back the tattered, bloody cloth to reveal the man’s genitals. ‘Behold a miracle,’ the doctor announced and poured a trickle of chloroform onto the unconscious man’s testicles. The man seemed to go into instant spasm and tried to sit up. ‘Frozen balls,’ the doctor said happily, ‘known in the profession as the Lazarus effect.’ ” The book culminates with the Battle of Manassas, during which Starbuck discovers his true vocation, that of a soldier. The battle scenes, while horribly realistic, are less interesting than the characters surrounding Nate. Nate, having met the “elephant” realizes that even though terrified, it appeals to him. He learned that “war was a gigantic game of chance, a huge gamble, a denial of all predestination and prudence.” The adventures continue in the second volume, entitled [b:Copperhead|68532|Copperhead (The Starbuck Chronicles, #2)|Bernard Cornwell|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170692875s/68532.jpg|2831130]. ( )
  ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |
I had no trouble parting with this series. There is way too much religion and young Starbuck is just annoying. The only redeeming moment comes when Sharpe’s son puts in a fleeting appearance. I have to admit, though, that he handles that staple of American fiction, the difficult father-son-relationship, quite well. ( )
  MissWatson | Apr 15, 2013 |
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The young man was trapped at the top end of Shockoe Slip where a crowd had gathered in Cary Street.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060934611, Paperback)

When Richmond landowner Washington Faulconer snatches young Nate Starbuck from the grip of a Yankee-hating mob, Nate is both grateful and awed by his idealistic rescuer. To repay his generosity, he enlists in the Faulconer legion to fight against his home, the North, and against his abolitionist father. When the regiment joins up, ready to march into the ferocious battle at Buff Run, the men are prepared to start a war . . . but they aren't ready for how they—and the nation—will be forever changed by the oaths they have sworn for their beloved South.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:33 -0400)

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Nate Starbuck enlists in the Faulconer legion to fight against his home, the North, and against his abolitionist father.

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