Friday, 13 January 2012

Young Bloods, Simon Scarrow

Publisher: Headline Review

Pages: 594 (Paperback 2007)

Main Characters:
Napoleon Buona Parte, Arthur Wellesley

Young Bloods is an amazing book by Simon Scarrow. The first book of the Revolution Quartet, this book is set between the years 1769-1795 and follows the childhood and early lives of two of the best generals ever, Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Wellesley (the Duke of Wellington). Scarrow tells the story of the two young commanders who were both born in the same year and come from the same origins of wealthy fathers from provincial origins.
Both of Napoleon and Arthur have different paths, but have the same destiny. Napoleon is the best in his artillery class, at the Royal School in Paris but is discriminated against because of his Corsican origins. Whereas Wellesley is the third son of a powerful aristocrat and is overshadowed by his two older brothers, forcing him to try and start a career for himself in the army. Both lives look bleak for the two young officers as there is no apparent future for them, that is until the events in Paris on the 14th July 1789.
The events of the French Revolution open new doors for the two young officers. For Napoleon it sees the removal of the aristocrats from leading roles in the French army and gives him a chance to move up in the ranks of the army. For Wellesley it gives purpose to his life. The ideas of the Revolution risk everything his family has and forces him to take an active role in the army to try and win honour and prestige.
This was a great book. I am a massive fan of Simon Scarrow, especially his Marco and Cato series. I have had this book for a long time and have for some reason avoided reading it because I was not that interested in the Napoleonic era of history. But after some study at uni, and a certain Total War game, I decided to give it a chance, and from the first page I was hooked! It is brilliant, so exciting and you really feel for the two main characters because you know how good they are, but they are ignored by their superiors because of their backgrounds.
As I said, this was brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone who has read Scarrow’s Marco and Cato series, or to anyone who is a fan of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series. A great book and I can’t wait for the next one, The Generals.
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