This month's read is Redcoat, an historical fiction by Bernard Cornwell set during the British occupation of Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War. Historical fiction is how I prefer to get my history, and Cornwell does a great job of working in the minute details of the time and place to make that piece of history come alive for me.
Did you know that it was considered a luxury to have dentures that were crafted from teeth yanked from the heads of soldiers who died on the battlefield? Cornwell's detailing gets delightfully nasty like that without going overboard, just enough to make me cringe and put me in the rawness of the period. He also tosses in sublte touches of humor and romace without getting the least bit gushy about it.
This paticular story has lots of main players, and their stories are nicely woven together. There's one in particular that has me intrigued---he's bad, but he's also got potential for greatness. I don't think it's going to happen, but I'm so hoping he reaches a glorious moment of redemption before the story is done. That kind of depth of character is what keeps me turning the pages of any book.
One thing that chuffs me about Cornwell's stories---I've noted it in other books I've read by him as well---is that the female love interests can't just be plain or regular pretty, they're all bestowed with astounding physical beauty that nears perfection, as if they couldn't possibly be worth capturing a man's heart or notice without that all-important quality.
I also noted something odd on the copyright page---the copyright isn't held by Bernard Cornwell but by something called Rifleman Productions, Ltd. I Googled it, but my search only led me to an Australian dance company. What do you suppose the reasons are for the copyright not going to Cornwell? Does this mean it's actually written by a team of ghost writers or could there be other business reasons?
To see what the rest of the Coffeehouse gang is reading, click around below. Thanks much to The Armchair Squid for hosting.