The Fortress (1968) by George R. R. Martin

An interesting little historical story about the Siege of Sveaborg, a short siege in 1808 during the Finnish War, where the fortress of Sveaborg was surrendered to the Russians mysteriously. Martin creates a work of historical fiction suggesting a series of events and interactions leading to the surrender.

Martin wrote it as a history paper for college, and while written only three years after the pulpy “Only Kids Are Afraid Of The Dark”, it shows immense improvement. Martin’s prose and characterisation developed a lot in those years it seems.

thefortress

It’s not the most captivating of short stories, but it’s certainly not incompetently written, and it covers an interesting historical event. Still, the characters blur together a tad; not enough distinctions between them come out in the writing. I also struggled a tad with a sense of place, some scene transitions left me confused where things were happening. I give the story two stores of powder, and a frigate.

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