counter The Pilot by James Fenimore Cooper, Fiction, Historical, Classics, Action & Adventure - Free Download Books
Hot Best Seller

The Pilot by James Fenimore Cooper, Fiction, Historical, Classics, Action & Adventure

Availability: Ready to download

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), although brought up in privileged circumstances, became a merchant seaman and served for three years as a midshipman in the Navy. His knowledge of the sea would serve him well, in numerous novels through his long career. But it was in The Pilot that he painted the fullest and most engaging picture of the ocean-going adventurer. Cooper was James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), although brought up in privileged circumstances, became a merchant seaman and served for three years as a midshipman in the Navy. His knowledge of the sea would serve him well, in numerous novels through his long career. But it was in The Pilot that he painted the fullest and most engaging picture of the ocean-going adventurer. Cooper was prompted by the example of Sir Walter Scott's The Pirate -- a popular novel of merit, but "not strictly nautical, or true in its details." Scott's novel produced in Cooper "a sudden determination to produce a work which, if it had no other merit, might present truer pictures of the ocean and ships."


Compare

James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), although brought up in privileged circumstances, became a merchant seaman and served for three years as a midshipman in the Navy. His knowledge of the sea would serve him well, in numerous novels through his long career. But it was in The Pilot that he painted the fullest and most engaging picture of the ocean-going adventurer. Cooper was James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), although brought up in privileged circumstances, became a merchant seaman and served for three years as a midshipman in the Navy. His knowledge of the sea would serve him well, in numerous novels through his long career. But it was in The Pilot that he painted the fullest and most engaging picture of the ocean-going adventurer. Cooper was prompted by the example of Sir Walter Scott's The Pirate -- a popular novel of merit, but "not strictly nautical, or true in its details." Scott's novel produced in Cooper "a sudden determination to produce a work which, if it had no other merit, might present truer pictures of the ocean and ships."

30 review for The Pilot by James Fenimore Cooper, Fiction, Historical, Classics, Action & Adventure

  1. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    The real inventor of the popular Sea Tales, James Fenimore Cooper, a former American navy officer, the love of the ocean shows in his writing...A mysterious pair of ships, a large frigate, Spalmacity, 1,200 tons, and a tiny schooner Ariel, 100 tons, sail quietly by the east coast of England, the time 1780, a group of workers sees them enter a small, obscure, dangerous bay, shoals and rocks underneath, the sun about to set, their flags are British (Yankee ships, in fact), but something does not f The real inventor of the popular Sea Tales, James Fenimore Cooper, a former American navy officer, the love of the ocean shows in his writing...A mysterious pair of ships, a large frigate, Spalmacity, 1,200 tons, and a tiny schooner Ariel, 100 tons, sail quietly by the east coast of England, the time 1780, a group of workers sees them enter a small, obscure, dangerous bay, shoals and rocks underneath, the sun about to set, their flags are British (Yankee ships, in fact), but something does not feel right, these nautical fools are tempting fate, the Englishmen on land, scatter in haste. The ships calm pilot, not on board, but on shore, calls himself Mr.Gray, not his real name of course, native of this island, a disguised very able sailor, his directions guides them, he is the famous John Paul Jones. So the Americans battle the incoming waves and shallow bottom, any mistake will be deadly, darkness descends, but The Pilot has been here before and his memory is sharp, they wisely obey his advice... War rages across the other side of the wide Atlantic Ocean, its fifth year, no end in sight, tens of thousand have perished, property worth millions, destroyed. Mr. "Gray", has a special mission from Congress, and the power to command, to inflict pain on the British, give them some of their own medicine and capture hostages, to exchange for American ones. The nervous crew does not trust this unknown man, but they arrive after a tense, long passage, safely... But a storm is gathering strength, the seas grow treacherous, a short visit to shore, to pick up Mr.Gray, then they meet the ocean turmoil and somehow survive the crashing, huge waves and brutal winds to return to their previous anchorage, in the bay. Captain Munson of the frigate, the old figurehead commander of this mission, follows the Pilot's guidance, Lt. Barstable, the captain of the schooner, as well, still the sailors are puzzled who is this man? They venture inland to a former abbey, Colonel Howard, an old expatriate loyalist, from America lives there, with a pretty niece, Cecilia, and a ward, Katherine, cousins, that two, officers from the ships are very interested in. Barstable and Griffith, second in command of the frigate, both knew these charming ladies in the former colonies, so too The Pilot with an English preacher's daughter, here, Alice. Mr. Gray, oddly goes away on a secret task, they wait for his return, a bloody battle in a nearby ruin, between American marines under tough Captain Manual, and British soldiers, led by wily Captain Borroughcliffe. Plenty of naval battles occur, later, grisly hand to hand combat, stabbings, cannons roar, crews disappear, masts and canvasses fall, guns flash, men tumble down from the sails, hitting the salt water, bubbles spotted but nothing else, they never rise again, swords cut into human meat, limbs lost, ships and seamen sink...and victory bittersweet, still this is war in the 18th century, you see your enemies close, much too close. Bold adventures on land and sea for those interested in them... this book is great fun indeed.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Villines

    In reading historical fiction novels, I’ve noticed that the story is always affected by the placement in time of two lenses. The first lens is fixed at the time of the writer. Its location is measured by the time that has elapsed from the historical events depicted in the novel. As history fades into the past, the facts that comprise it become obscured and they degrade. Society also changes with time, which can change the writer’s interpretation of history. The Second lens is set in the time-fram In reading historical fiction novels, I’ve noticed that the story is always affected by the placement in time of two lenses. The first lens is fixed at the time of the writer. Its location is measured by the time that has elapsed from the historical events depicted in the novel. As history fades into the past, the facts that comprise it become obscured and they degrade. Society also changes with time, which can change the writer’s interpretation of history. The Second lens is set in the time-frame of the reader. If a great distance in time exists between the writing and reading of a historical fiction novel, then the two states of society can become at odds with one another and the story can degrade into nonsense or fantasy. With The Pilot, the lenses are optimally spaced. The fifty years that separated the Revolutionary War and Cooper’s words give this novel a wonderful focus. The mannerisms and behaviors of the characters are nicely preserved. And Cooper is close enough to the war to let us see that it was in truth a British Civil War and that the 'South,' in the eyes of the British, actually won this internal struggle. As for the placement of the second lens, that of the reader, a little less patriotism in our stories about the Revolutionary War is exactly what we need in our present-day society. I thought it was remarkable that the attitudes of both sides were expressed so evenhandedly by Cooper, an American writer. It was actually refreshing in terms of today’s political climate, where simply hugging the flag is enough to gain a surprising amount of popular approval. The story itself twists and turns quite often but each curve comes in its own time. This leads to a tale that is easy to follow, which is a good thing given that the English language from two hundred years ago can be difficult to follow. The characters are likable and the distance in time between then and now serves to illuminate a couple timeless aspects of life. One is the supportive nature of life-experience that transcends artificial conditions such as rank and social structure. And another element is that people may see themselves as great, but how we see ourselves has very little bearing on who we actually are.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    One of the first American action books I read of that genre. Being based on the real life exploits of John Paul Jones, Cooper romanticized sea life as well as giving a sense of American pride and identity. People will say that: it is romanticized and dramatized. But to them I say, "Why not? Isn't that the point of a story?" This story drums up patriotism in a naive innocent way that skeptics and cynics of this age just don't get it. One of the first American action books I read of that genre. Being based on the real life exploits of John Paul Jones, Cooper romanticized sea life as well as giving a sense of American pride and identity. People will say that: it is romanticized and dramatized. But to them I say, "Why not? Isn't that the point of a story?" This story drums up patriotism in a naive innocent way that skeptics and cynics of this age just don't get it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Axslingin

    If anybody can spin a tale, it's Jimmy Cooper, and I mean that with the utmost respect. He can literally put you in the story, in that time period, and given that none of us are from any but this one, can leave you confounded and a little unsettled. But then, the times were much that way in this story, so if that was the intent of Cooper, it was mission accomplished. Set during the of the American revolution, our protaganists were on a mission for the congress of great importance, requiring them If anybody can spin a tale, it's Jimmy Cooper, and I mean that with the utmost respect. He can literally put you in the story, in that time period, and given that none of us are from any but this one, can leave you confounded and a little unsettled. But then, the times were much that way in this story, so if that was the intent of Cooper, it was mission accomplished. Set during the of the American revolution, our protaganists were on a mission for the congress of great importance, requiring them to sail into the teeth of the British empire to accomplish their mission. If not for the mysterious pilot they picked up on enemy shores, the story would no doubt have ended much earlier than it did. The initial harrowing description of navigating through treacherous shoals gave new meaning to the meme of the Navy being not just a job, but an adventure. The picture Cooper paints could easily be seen as something that you might want to see on the big screen. It would be quite a production, with dramatic depictions of sea life, and apparently, accurate descriptions of the operations of sailing vessels. Without being an expert on sailing such ships in the day, some parts were a little over my head, as they should be, but Cooper's descriptions were still graphic enough that even us lubbers could get an idea of what was happening. The fledgling Americans also spoke as the Brits did, and in fact, were still seen as Brits, albeit treasonous and disgraceful subjects that deserved everything that should befall them. That said, the dialect of the officers of the story spoke of high education and manners-on both sides of the conflict. The propriety and manners elicted were refreshing in that we largely do not see these kinds of gentleman anymore. Barnstable and his nemesis Bouroughcliffe were my favorites. It was challenging to reconcile that with the fact that, in the end, these were shit-kickin' killers that would run a cutlass through you with no hesitation if the situation warranted it. But Cooper does reconcile it masterfully, and you learn to both fear and respect the men who would risk all for duty and honor. And risk all they did. As brave and gallant as these men were though, they had their proverbial Achille's heel. And they were beautiful, and capricious, and irresistible, and made things infinitely more complicated than they needed to be. But, if something is worth having, it's worth fighting for. The congress that sent the Americans on their mission might have had a thing or two to say about the love interests of men that led the charge, but then, the congress wasn't there, now were they? It would be hard to say if there were actually main characters; in reality, there were several, depending on what part of the story you were reading, but nonetheless, the story flowed nicely, and Cooper ties up with a bow near the end. In the interim, there is blood, strategy, honor, deceit, humility, tragedy, and even a bit of comedy, if even in an affrontery sort of way. Each adjective describes a powerful, page turning part of the story. Better you read about it, than me giving it away. Just a few minor criticisms, with and emphasis on minor. As I mentioned, the nautical terms were, for the most part, over my head, and that is on me, not Cooper, but again, getting a visual usually overcame my ignorance of what Cooper was actually describing. Then there were a few conversations that frankly could have been left out. The sailor tormenting the slave on the way to the cutter had nothing to do with the story. Boltrope's drunken rant with the parson was another one. Certainly, nothing that ruined the story. Very close to a five star, but there is no shame in four.

  5. 5 out of 5

    J.L. Dobias

    Pilot (A Tale of the Sea) by James Fenimore Cooper 1824 One more deviation from my normal reads. Someone was asking about good historical fiction they might use for an essay and this was one of the offerings mentioned. I couldn't resist since its a fictionalized account involving a notable hero of revolutionary fame in the United States of America. The novel itself reminded me of the style and scope of Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1830) and the stranger's life, as it vicariously told, re Pilot (A Tale of the Sea) by James Fenimore Cooper 1824 One more deviation from my normal reads. Someone was asking about good historical fiction they might use for an essay and this was one of the offerings mentioned. I couldn't resist since its a fictionalized account involving a notable hero of revolutionary fame in the United States of America. The novel itself reminded me of the style and scope of Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1830) and the stranger's life, as it vicariously told, reminds me of Giacomo Girolamo Casanova (as related in his memoir written 1798 published 1822-German). As such our hero is called stranger and Mr. Grey and John in the few scenes within which he is prominent. Truly the style is what makes this classic what it is. It is more reminiscent of the Dumas books with the romantic adventure spirit. But what am I saying? Dumas and Fenimore were contemporaries, though Dumas' writing may have begun well after the publication of Pilot. Some would like to say that Fenimore created the template for this type of romance, but I think there are other's to pull up to that position who come from further back in literary history. Pilot was written partially in response to The Pirate by Sir Walter Scott(1822). But I will admit that Fenimore improved the genre immensely. In the Pilot James Fenimore Cooper uses a device that I have found annoying though seemingly prevalent in his era. This is breaching the forth wall, well maybe it was supposed to be an aside back then, but for me it pushed through each time he pause to let the reader know we were going to skip this part or jump back and show the reader what he knows the readers are so anxious to see. This enables him to, throughout, bring in several asides that apprise the reader of things that otherwise might be left unknown or at maybe bewildering to the reader: or at least we are led to believe so by Fenimore. One such instance is this next-where in three short sentences he brings us back and up to date. :: We must leave the two adventurers winding their way among the broken piles, and venturing boldly beneath the tottering arches of the ruin, to accompany the reader, at the same hour, within the more comfortable walls of the abbey; where, it will be remembered, Borroughcliffe was left in a condition of very equivocal ease. As the earth had, however, in the interval, nearly run its daily round, circumstances had intervened to release the soldier from his confinement-- and no one, ignorant of the fact, would suppose that the gentleman who was now seated at the hospitable board of Colonel Howard, directing , with so much discretion, the energies of his masticators to the delicacies of the feast, could read, in his careless air and smiling visage, that those foragers of nature had been so recently condemned, for four long hours , to the mortification of discussing the barren subject of his own sword-hilt. Borroughcliffe, however, maintained not only his usual post, but his well-earned reputation at the table, with his ordinary coolness of demeanor; though at times there were fleeting smiles that crossed his military aspect, which sufficiently indicated that he considered the matter of his reflection to be of a particularly ludicrous character. Cooper, James Fenimore (2012-05-16). The Pilot (p. 236). . Kindle Edition. More important than this though is the introduction that proclaims that Fenimore is attempting to write a sea adventure with more realistic tone (Being that he served for five years as a seaman aboard a merchant ship and obtained the rank of midshipman.). Somehow in those words I mistakenly conjured notions of the harsh realities of seafaring life without realizing that this was going to digress quickly into a romance heavily on the romantic side of lovers and sometimes tragic lovers. The story opens off the coast of Great Briton; and if my reckoning is correct it's somewhat north and east of the isle and within some treacherous waters. Our secondary characters (Barnstable and Griffith) are bringing two vessels into a bay that is protected by rock with the expectation of obtaining a passenger they will call the Pilot, who we are led to believe will be helping navigate around these waters unknown to them. It is by the Pilot's instructions that they are to make rock-fall and send a party ashore. One of that party is Barnstable, the captain of the whaling schooner Ariel, who we quickly find has the surprise of a lover who has anticipated their landing. What ensues before Pilot arrives is a bit of a trist (very brief) with his love Katherine Plowden who tells him of her and Cecilia's plight[Cecilia is Grifiths lover]. Cecilia Howard is a ward of Colonel Howard as is Katherine though Cecilia is more closely tied to the man. The Colonel staunchly supports his king and eschews the rebellious Americans, which is why he has brought his wards back to England. With not enough time Katherine leaves Barnstable with a letter and some instructions. These become important in the sense that she demonstrates that their movements in English waters are being watch; particularly by the Colonel. While many believe that a man name Paul Jones is aboard those vessels the Colonel is certain that Barnstable and Griffith are aboard with the colonel's nephew, Merry. This is the one of two times Paul Jones is directly mentioned though many times alluded to. The Pilot proves his mettle to the sailors by saving them through navigating in troubled waters back out of this rocky bay. The Pilot's purpose is left mostly unknown in a sense of a need to know basis. Because they reveal a portion of what is in Katherine's letter the Pilot finds it worthy of a diversion and serendipitously he takes Griffith along and they manage to become captured. It should come as no surprise when one of St. Ruth's nuns, Alice Dunscombe, is shocked to recognize a voice when the prisoners are interrogated. Soon Pilot becomes a player in the grand romantic tragedy that is afoot. It doesn't take long for the plot to be diverted leaving this reader with the notion that the original plot he perceived was a MacGuffin and the true plot is one of lost love and young love and duty and honor and perhaps whether all those can all survive in the same adventure tale. Make no mistake, there are still a few naval battles to be fought and the usual pitfalls and storms of nature against man. There are even some strange turns of events that often stretch the suspension of disbelief. This is a great classic for all readers and might interest some of those Romance fans though mostly Adventure Romance and those who are interested in the details of ocean sailing ships. This rather dusty historical romance fiction still reads quite well and satisfied this reader's thirst for exceptionally long sentences. J.L. Dobias.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Brooke

    “The Pilot” could be considered ‘historical fiction’ in that it deals with historical events, being set in the American Revolutionary War, but written nearly forty years after its end. The greater part of Cooper’s work fits the genre, not that the term was in common use at the time. It is also a novel of the sea, one in which its author (being a former navy man) took pains to be thoroughly authentic. If for no other reason, it can be an interesting read for anyone interested in nautical subjects “The Pilot” could be considered ‘historical fiction’ in that it deals with historical events, being set in the American Revolutionary War, but written nearly forty years after its end. The greater part of Cooper’s work fits the genre, not that the term was in common use at the time. It is also a novel of the sea, one in which its author (being a former navy man) took pains to be thoroughly authentic. If for no other reason, it can be an interesting read for anyone interested in nautical subjects. Despite rather stilted, florid (and even sloppy) language, “The Pilot” does provide enough action to carry the reader along. It does very much invite that reader to skim over much of the verbiage. Let us be thankful for the action and the reasonably compelling story, for the characters are without much dimension or growth (they are pretty much Cooper’s ‘stock’ types who appear in novel after novel). It is, first of all, an adventure novel and any ‘meaning’ must be found between the lines (where the occasional humorous subtext may also sometimes be discovered). As is not uncommon in Cooper, heroic women carry their portion of the plot. This is in juxtaposition with somewhat ‘unenlightened’ comments from some of the male characters; the contrast only serves to help highlight the female roles. James Fenimore Cooper may not have been quite a feminist (though the daughter he encouraged to be a successful author in her own right definitely was) but he’s at least on the way to it. But, again, characterization was not the author’s strength and both women and men tend to be stereotypes. So, a good story, plotted out well, that suffers when we get to the actual narrative. That JFC for you; in some of his novels, the story far outweighs the faults of the execution. Here, I’d say they’re more evenly balanced, hence the three-star rating. Incidentally, it would be the worst sort of spoiler to mention just who the mysterious pilot of the title might be. I figured it out about a third of the way in.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Peterson

    If a picture is worth a thousand words, this author prefers TWO THOUSAND words. VERY, VERY, VERY wordy! Sounds funny to say writing uses too many words, but this writing does. Other of Cooper's stories are wordy, too, but those words convey much action that makes it worthwhile, if not exactly necessary. This story doesn't really take the reader very far. A bunch of Americans sail into British waters and land to undertake some secret mission that is never revealed nor carried out. So those who di If a picture is worth a thousand words, this author prefers TWO THOUSAND words. VERY, VERY, VERY wordy! Sounds funny to say writing uses too many words, but this writing does. Other of Cooper's stories are wordy, too, but those words convey much action that makes it worthwhile, if not exactly necessary. This story doesn't really take the reader very far. A bunch of Americans sail into British waters and land to undertake some secret mission that is never revealed nor carried out. So those who die do so only to save one person and take a couple of prisoners to be bargained for later. Maybe the author's point was to explain differing viewpoints of our revolution from both sides of the ocean, which did take place if one could make it out through all those extra words.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Stephen Hicks

    A rousing, rowdy tale of a group of American sailors on a secret mission off of England during the Revolution, The Pilot was a fun, engaging story. Just a word of caution - you might want to keep a nautical dictionary handy. James Fenimore Cooper was a naval commander in reality, so he doesn't skimp on the lingo and jargon of 18th century sailors! I enjoy sailing quite a bit, so it was enjoyable to get a glimpse of what life on a tall ship during the Revolution might have been like. The dialogue A rousing, rowdy tale of a group of American sailors on a secret mission off of England during the Revolution, The Pilot was a fun, engaging story. Just a word of caution - you might want to keep a nautical dictionary handy. James Fenimore Cooper was a naval commander in reality, so he doesn't skimp on the lingo and jargon of 18th century sailors! I enjoy sailing quite a bit, so it was enjoyable to get a glimpse of what life on a tall ship during the Revolution might have been like. The dialogue was a bit hard to follow, but I didn't find that too detrimental to the overall experience of the book. Above all else, this was just a fun book to read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katherine Austin

    What should be a rousing tale of the exploits of John Paul Jones terrorizing shipping in the British Channel during the Revolutionary war is almost unreadable. The language is so flowery and repetitive, pages on end of unnecessary description and dialogue. The female characters are such ninnies- I hated them. The plot is convoluted with so many needless twists and turns by the end I didn't care what happened. What should be a rousing tale of the exploits of John Paul Jones terrorizing shipping in the British Channel during the Revolutionary war is almost unreadable. The language is so flowery and repetitive, pages on end of unnecessary description and dialogue. The female characters are such ninnies- I hated them. The plot is convoluted with so many needless twists and turns by the end I didn't care what happened.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Once you get used to the rather verbose style, The Pilot draws you into its story. The strength of the characters, rather than the plot, engages the reader. The seamen's dialect is particularly interesting. Once you get used to the rather verbose style, The Pilot draws you into its story. The strength of the characters, rather than the plot, engages the reader. The seamen's dialect is particularly interesting.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    Once I got used to the Old English the book was written in I enjoyed this story.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Neil

    If James Fenimore Cooper had lived in the 20th Century he would have been a screen writer for Walt Disney. His characters will never be unemployed as they reappear in each successive novel only with different names and in different locations. They include: A crotchety old man entrusted with the care of two young female relatives who are themselves divided by political or social concerns and who are both in love with two rebellious but earnest young men; a devious suitor to one of the two ladies If James Fenimore Cooper had lived in the 20th Century he would have been a screen writer for Walt Disney. His characters will never be unemployed as they reappear in each successive novel only with different names and in different locations. They include: A crotchety old man entrusted with the care of two young female relatives who are themselves divided by political or social concerns and who are both in love with two rebellious but earnest young men; a devious suitor to one of the two ladies who is liked by neither but favored by the crotchety old man; and a spinster who tries to maintain order among all of them. There are also at least two irreverent sub-alterns who are masters of their particular vocations and reliable to the point of death; a pivotal character who is not introduced until the third to last chapter; and a well heeled-inebriate who is as eloquent as Cooper himself. Finally, no Cooper tale is complete without a mysterious titular character which, from the amount of pages devoted to him, appears to be secondary but actually manipulates the destinies of all of the other characters. Cooper’s plots are also versatile. They can be used on land or on sea, and before, during or after the American Revolution. Believe it or not, these statements are meant to be compliments. I love Cooper, and everyone else should too! Teen agers should love his stories because they are about young people who are always in conflict with adults. In the end the adults always recognize the error of their ways and least one couple gets married happily ever after. Women should love Cooper because his female characters are courageous, defiant, and always, always, right. Men should love Cooper because his indomitable heroes always fight a violent battle or two. In every Cooper story, the main characters are always captured and liberated only to be recaptured and liberated again at least twice. One of those escapes must involve some disguise. They also have time for speeches in the face of immediate danger! English teachers should love Cooper for his brilliant prose and bountiful vocabulary. Where outside of the Internal Revenue Code will a reader see the word “pecuniary” used in a sentence? Initially I was dubious of reading The Pilot because it did not involve Indians or upstate New York. However, Cooper had actually been a sailor, so he vividly describes the action on board ships as well as the sea itself. He was better acquainted with sailors than with Native Americans. His description of the battle between the American frigate and the British ships in Chapter XXXIII was riveting! The Pilot was a literary vanguard in two ways. First, it is recognized as the first sea novel. Second, it might be one of the first works of biographical fiction. (I’m sailing in uncharted waters because I’m no expert). However, the titular Pilot of the story, Mr. Gray, is the fictional representation of John Paul Jones, the father of the U.S. Navy. In astonshingly few words, Cooper created an enigmatic, deep, sensitive, admirable and pitiable character in Mr. Gray. If anyone ever asks me "If you could be any character in literature, who would it be?" I'd answer Mr. Gray. The novel has a shocking surprise that I hadn’t seen previously in Cooper. It is the story of a military blunder – yet another in a succession of recent failures for the Pilot. The Pilot resigns himself to this disappointment and…. …I won’t tell you how it ends. However, I will say that Griffith and Barnstable should have been keel-hauled for their stupidity. Also, Nantucketers or not, Barnstable and Long Tom Coffin had no right to kill that whale just for sport.

  13. 5 out of 5

    David

    As in "The Spy," Cooper uses the Revolutionary War as his historical setting. This sea-novel opens as an American warship hovers off the NE coast of England under orders from Congress to give passage to a mysterious pilot, Mr. Gray (alias for John Paul Jones). Two American officers, Lieutenants Edward Griffith and Richard Barnstable, along with Mr. Gray, will lead the raids. The sea adventure is mingled with the courtship of Cecilia Howard and Katherine Plowden by Griffith and Barnstable. The yo As in "The Spy," Cooper uses the Revolutionary War as his historical setting. This sea-novel opens as an American warship hovers off the NE coast of England under orders from Congress to give passage to a mysterious pilot, Mr. Gray (alias for John Paul Jones). Two American officers, Lieutenants Edward Griffith and Richard Barnstable, along with Mr. Gray, will lead the raids. The sea adventure is mingled with the courtship of Cecilia Howard and Katherine Plowden by Griffith and Barnstable. The young women have been evacuated from America to England under the protection of Colonel Howard, an American Tory. Contrary to orders, the young officers decide to arrange their fiancées' escape but are instead taken prisoner along with Mr. Gray. A convoluted sequence of escapes and apprehensions follow until Mr. Gray ultimately captures the entire Howard household. A series of sea battles and narrow escapes ensue. Colonel Howard is killed during the climactic sea chase and dies, but not before he reconciles himself to his ideological mistakes and blesses the union between the various lovers. The Americans return home and the novel closes with Mr. Gray's solitary departure, sailing off in the opposite direction toward the European continent. Cooper does a good job of showing the British point of view through the eyes of Col. Howard and yet vindicating the American position in the end. The Englishman argues, "Rebellion pollutes all that it touches, madam. Although it often commences under the sanction of holy liberty, it ever terminates in despotism. The annals of the world, from the time of the Greeks and Romans down to the present day, abundantly prove it." After the Americans win several sea battles, he concedes: "it seemeth to be the will of God that this rebellion should triumph, and it is not for vain man to impeach the acts of Omnipotence." His dying words are these: "I may also have mistaken my duty to America--but I was too old to change my politics or my religion--I-I- I loved the king--God bless him--" The plot takes enough twists and turns to avoid becoming predictable, but the archaic language, nautical terminology and wordiness make it hard to follow at times. Also the notions of chivalry and courtship may seem antiquated as well. Be prepared for long flowery sentences like the following: "Our business is solely to treat of man, and this fair scene on which he acts, and that not in his subtleties, and metaphysical contradictions, but in his palpable nature, that all may understand our meaning as well as ourselves--whereby we may manifestly reject the prodigious advantage of being thought a genius, by perhaps foolishly refusing the mighty aid of incomprehensibility to establish such a character." One wonders how difficult to comprehend he might have been had he sought to be thought a genius!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ben Dutton

    After The Pioneers saw Fenimore Cooper find a voice and terrain in which he was eminently comfortable, he turned his attention next to another field he knew well: the sea. The Pilot sees again Fenimore Cooper wearing his knowledge visible. You can taste the sea air, feel like you are on the Ariel with him. Where he struggles is in the English court; obviously interested in the higher echelons of English society (it formed the background to his debut, Precaution), he however finds no authentic tr After The Pioneers saw Fenimore Cooper find a voice and terrain in which he was eminently comfortable, he turned his attention next to another field he knew well: the sea. The Pilot sees again Fenimore Cooper wearing his knowledge visible. You can taste the sea air, feel like you are on the Ariel with him. Where he struggles is in the English court; obviously interested in the higher echelons of English society (it formed the background to his debut, Precaution), he however finds no authentic truth within these moments: it feels like a stranger looking in. Consequently The Pilot is dragged down into moments of mediocrity set against moments of thundering action. It is a good and entertaining novel which fails to reach the height of The Pioneers, but has seen Fenimore Cooper set sail on a voyage towards the Mohicans...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andy Miller

    A novel by James Fennimore Cooper about a fictional raid of England by the United States during the Revolutionary War. This was not one of the books that feature "Hawkeye"--the Pilot is based on a character inspired by John Paul Jones. Started a bit slow and didn't have the character development or plot suspense of "Last of Mohicans" but still a good read One great feature was the good natured but strong rivalry and insults between the navy and marines--who knew that the insults were flying so str A novel by James Fennimore Cooper about a fictional raid of England by the United States during the Revolutionary War. This was not one of the books that feature "Hawkeye"--the Pilot is based on a character inspired by John Paul Jones. Started a bit slow and didn't have the character development or plot suspense of "Last of Mohicans" but still a good read One great feature was the good natured but strong rivalry and insults between the navy and marines--who knew that the insults were flying so strongly back then!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Rhys

    Persevere to accept the style and poetry of an earlier English writing, for the tale is well worth the read ! The 'Pilot' character is famous [I will not disclose his name], though the account in this book is probably not often read by those who read James Fenimore Cooper's works. Why in today's schools, I doubt that it is politically correct to teach about the exploits of this patriotic pilot; however, Cooper's romantic fiction of revolutionary naval battle provides a fascinating story that is Persevere to accept the style and poetry of an earlier English writing, for the tale is well worth the read ! The 'Pilot' character is famous [I will not disclose his name], though the account in this book is probably not often read by those who read James Fenimore Cooper's works. Why in today's schools, I doubt that it is politically correct to teach about the exploits of this patriotic pilot; however, Cooper's romantic fiction of revolutionary naval battle provides a fascinating story that is historically sound and nautically precise. I much enjoyed it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    A very informed book in its descriptions of sailing. This novel takes place at the time of the American Revolution and the eponymous pilot is John Paul Jones, the father of the American Navy. A lot of the action takes place on land (in Northumberland, England.) The language of the time slows you down a bit, but it's a great story. A very informed book in its descriptions of sailing. This novel takes place at the time of the American Revolution and the eponymous pilot is John Paul Jones, the father of the American Navy. A lot of the action takes place on land (in Northumberland, England.) The language of the time slows you down a bit, but it's a great story.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Philip Lane

    I got very little out of this period adventure story. I found the language very stilted and high flown and the subject matter involving so much description of ships and their paraphernalia very much out of my experience. A bit of a struggle getting to the end!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Walden

    This is probably my favorite Cooper book, but not many people know about it. It's arguably the FIRST American sea novel, and it's a great read. Like most of the stuff of the time, there's a too-heavy romantic side plot, but Long Tom Coffin is great, and the battle scenes are awesome. This is probably my favorite Cooper book, but not many people know about it. It's arguably the FIRST American sea novel, and it's a great read. Like most of the stuff of the time, there's a too-heavy romantic side plot, but Long Tom Coffin is great, and the battle scenes are awesome.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Nuckols

    Alright

  21. 4 out of 5

    Emmanuel Wallart

    A real good book

  22. 4 out of 5

    Curtis Abbott

    Fairly gripping read, based on a true story. The language is nearly two centuries old and that makes for some challenges but there are some great characters. Could have been a bit shorter.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  24. 4 out of 5

    garry buckman

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Kennedy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Irina Badzhinerova

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rayna

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anya Sukhanova

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ginger

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eric

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.