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I have been fascinated by Napoleon since I was a child. I have read everything I could find about both these men and the Napoleonic War. I found myself more interested in Arthur Wesley’s sister, Barbara; she was a fascinating person. So when I discovered Simon Scarrow wrote a historical fiction series about these two men I just had to read it.
The book covers the years 1769 to 1795. Scarrow starts with the early years of both men and it appeared to me that Scarrow was attempting to show similarities between the two men’s characters. The only new item was that Scarrow suggested that Napoleon and Wesley (Duke of Wellington) met as young men at a French Military Academy. I have never heard of this meeting so I do not know if it really happened or is part of the fiction in the story. The story did remind me that Arthur Wesley could have made his fame and fortune with his violin; not many famous generals were excellent musicians. In the last half of the book we have Napoleon at the battle of Toulon; Scarrow has some excellent battle scenes.
Scarrow took on a real challenge, as so much has been written about these two men. I can understand why Scarrow chose to write a historical fiction rather than a biography. The book is well researched and well written. Being fiction it is easy to read. I understand there are four books in this series. I cannot wait to read them all. Jonathan Keeble does a good job narrating the book.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about Young Bloods?
Can't pick one. I have read/listen to so much about this time period (Sharpe series, et al), and I'm simply blown away.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Boney. You end up rooting for Bonaparte.
Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No, but I'll look for more.
Who was the most memorable character of Young Bloods and why?
Every character is so fleshed out. Just amazing.
Any additional comments?
If you have read/listened to Bernard Cornwell this is a must get.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Simon Scarrow has done a fine job on this book I read the 4 books some time back but listening to it just brings back how good a writer he is and in this case it's well narrated
It details the young lives and start of the careers of Napoleon and Wellington in an interesting and informative way
I really enjoyed this book and it was over far to quickly I am now eager to purchase the other 3 books in the series
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This is simply an excellent start to what looks likely to be a very high quality series. My only previous experience of Simon Scarrow has been the early books of the Macro and Cato series. Full of solid, hearty characters created by the author giving him much freedom in terms of their own story and behaviours.
Journaling the lives of these two most famous of generals from much more recent history is a significantly different proposition and naturally the result is a much different book. This is a fascinating look at the early lives of these two famous young men with the starkly contrasting upbringings they had up to their first tastes of command and battle.
What actually struck me was that despite the differences there were also fascinating parallels to be drawn. Their experiences of the capital cities, Paris and London, their difficult births and how they both succeeded by being somewhat unconventional. The stark differences in their personalities and motivations show that while these two both became great generals they were forged by very different fires. Although I am sure Scarrow does utilise a certain amount of poetic license seeing this most tumultuous part of history through the double aspect of both their lives makes Young Bloods truly fascinating reading.
The book really gathers pace towards the end and thoroughly sets the scene for what is to follow. The narration by Jonathan Keeble is first class. He is set a tough task with so many characters and accents but he rises to the challenge like a thoroughbred.
In very short, this is a different Simon Scarrow to what I've personally seen before but it's just as good, if not better. I have extremely high hopes for the rest of this series when it is made available.
20 of 24 people found this review helpful