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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historical 'Faction'
As another reviewer noted, Fire and Sword, the third in Simon Scarrow's quartet of books following the lives and careers of Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, is a very different animal to any of the author's 'Eagle' series of novels set during Roman times. Whereas the books following the adventures of centurions Cato & Macro, all of...
Published on 20 Feb. 2009 by C. Green

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2.0 out of 5 stars FIRE AND SWORD.
The third in the Revolution series (I believe there is now a fourth book available). Whilst at a push Fire And Sword could be read as a standalone novel but because it follows the story of two such historical giants (Napoleon Bonaparte and, the perhaps less well known, Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington) and contains a mix of fact and fiction I highly...
Published 20 months ago by Tracy Terry


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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Historical 'Faction', 20 Feb. 2009
By 
C. Green "happily low brow" (Quenington, Glos, UK) - See all my reviews
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As another reviewer noted, Fire and Sword, the third in Simon Scarrow's quartet of books following the lives and careers of Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, is a very different animal to any of the author's 'Eagle' series of novels set during Roman times. Whereas the books following the adventures of centurions Cato & Macro, all of which I can highly recommend, are works of pure fiction with a focus on action and adventure, Fire and Sword along with the two preceding volumes are a mix of historical fact and some fictional license that seek to offer an accurate portrait of the lives of two undoubtedly great (if flawed) men.

In pursuit of this aim both 'Young Bloods' & 'The Generals, the earlier volumes, succeeded admirably and 'Fire & Sword' maintains that record. Sticklers might quibble over idioms of speech the author uses, some of the traits individual characters display or the accuracy of some minor historical facts, but as a work of part fact and part fiction, or 'Faction', 'Fire and Sword' works admirably. It is informative without being dull or dry, holds the reader's attention and imbues the iconic figures on display with real humanity.

Simon Scarrow must also be congratulated for again crafting a book that is so satisfying out of real historical events without the need to substantially alter the facts. The twists and turns of history, whilst often fascinating, do not always unfold in a way that makes for smooth story-telling. Battles aren't always won when they should be and big events don't always coincide with the timing of a book's big finale. With straight bio-graphical history this is not a problem but with a novel like Fire & Sword however, it can be. Readers of novels, even ones based on fact, expect a story that unfolds in a dramatically satisfying fashion. Simon Scarrow once again manages to offer that, and the result is a book that feels cohesive and self-contained rather than just a series of episodes in a larger story; an accomplishment which is a hell of a trick to pull off once but he has now done three times.

If you haven't read Young Bloods or The Generals I suggest you go back to the beginning of the series and start there. You'll find doing so to be very worthwhile. If you're a fan of Scarrow's Eagle series chances are you'll find this series just as enjoyable. If however, you're looking for pure action adventure or something along the lines of Cornwell's Sharpe this may not be for you. The same applies if you're looking for pure historical fact and analysis. There are biographies of both Napoleon and Wellington and wider studies of the period that will provide far more detail than this series. If like me however, you want real, world changing historical events offered in an accessible, exciting form you cannot go far wrong with the Revolution series and its latest instalment.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 2 Jan. 2009
By 
Mr. Paul A. Dorrell (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
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One of the problems with books written in a series - this being the third of (reportedly) four - is waiting for the next one to be published! After waiting for some twelve months for this one, and having read it within two days over the New Year, I am going to find it very difficult to wait for the final volume in this fascinating series. I just couldn't put this one down. By the author's own admission these are fictional accounts based on historical fact, but they are truly engrossing for anyone interested in Wellington, Napolean and this period of European and British history. Please hurry up with the next volume!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Damn you Scarrow... write faster :-), 8 May 2009
By 
chuckles "barnie884" (Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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As a constant reader and reviewer of historical fiction, or more the point 'faction' I believe this genre has recently been labelled, Simon Scarrow is one of my favourites with Iggulden & Cornwell. This is much more recent than his Roman novels, and it that aspect much more accurate. As normal with Scarrow, he has an excellent way of telling a story, keeping you engrossed whilst teaching you a history lesson at the same time. OK, this is probably biased against the French and pro British, especially in the way in this novel he talks about Arthur and Napoleon, however he certainly doesn't hold back from criticising the British when he needs to, especially about the politics, old school army generals and the treatment of the Irish. This once again is a superb, gripping tale, but as with some of the other reviewers on here I am frustrated that I probably won't be able to read the last instalment for another year.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sword and History at its best, 12 April 2009
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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Originally designed to be a trilogy Simon took the step to extend the series by another book so that it wouldn't be rushed in any way. This I feel was not only a brave step by the author but a necessity as otherwise a lot of the beautiful prose along with descriptive work that has carefully been laid down in the previous two books would have been for nought and really not done justice to the pair of historical nemesis. Its well written, lovingly crafted by an author who cares for what he creates and above all deals with a period of history that France and Britain are both proud. It's going to be interesting to see the final build up to the epic conclusion of the series and one that's really going to enthral fans of historical fiction even though the outcomes set in stone. An author I sincerely wish I'd had teaching me history at school.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best in the series so far, 23 Jan. 2010
By 
Matthew Turner "loyalroyal" (Reading, UK) - See all my reviews
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For me, this third book in Simon Scarrow's "Revolution" quartet is by far the best in the series so far. Scarrow's descriptions of battles have always been his strongest point as an author, and remains superb in this novel. His portrayal of Napoleon's victories at Austerlitz, Leipzig and Eylau stand out, whilst Wellesley's (the future Duke of Wellington) campaigns in Copenhagen and Portugal, culminating in the victories at Vimeiro and Oporto, are also well-written. Scarrow has an uncanny knack of describing the full horrors or warfare and battle, including the ecstasy of victory or agony of defeat, from the fear and determination of the rank and file to the military planning of Napoleon or Wellington. This is military fiction at its finest and this is why it gets 5 stars.

Away from military campaigning, the sections on Napoleon remain the more interesting (and has done throughout the eries for me). We have Napoleon growing increasingly megalomaniac, broaching no opposition and seeing himself as invincible, a man destined for greatness. He also seems at time deluded, hell-bent on war at any cost, just to further his own ambitions, for which France and his family are merely tools. As a result much of Europe and some sections in France, are determined to thwart him. His personal life is also interesting, his affair with Countess Walewska, the barrenness of his wife Josephine and the growing need for an heir to the throne.

As for Arthur Wellesley, this is where the book slows down a bit. Of course Scarrow has to stick to history and at this time Wellesley's life was rather hum-drum - his family was in the political wilderness due to possible irregularities of his brother in India, his military prospects were dictated by promotion by seniority rather than meritocracy, Parliamentary factions and the Treaty of Cintra cast a shadow over Wellesley's victory at Vimeiro. The troubled marriage between Wellesley and Kitty (whom he felt honour-bound to marry) is slow reading but is necessary as it was an important part of his life. It is not until when Wellesley it put in command of the Peninsular Campaign that his life has any real purpose - for the defeat of France.

In summary excellent and recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fire and Sword is a great read., 11 July 2009
By 
film fan (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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In this brilliantly written edition, we follow Napoleon Bonaparte and Arthur Wellesley on their different paths as before. Napoleon is Emperor of France and his overriding desire to rule Europe and defeat his most hated enemy, Great Britain, is overpowering. After a wonderful victory against Austria at Austerlitz, Napoleon turns towards Spain and ousts the king and replaces him with his brother Joseph. But these victories leave a bitter taste in Napoleon's mouth, for his wife, Josephine, has not managed to bare him an heir.

Meanwhile, Arthur Wellesley is a successful military tactician and proving himself as astute a politician as well. His marriage to Kitty is less fruitful and by means of escaping he longs for the army's campaign in Europe. Glory for the army in Portugal and Arthur is now in command of the army in a series of successful battles in Spain and he receives public acclaim.

There are a lot of things I really enjoy about this series of books and a couple of them are that the reader can almost feel the intensity of the writing on the page as it describes the battles and the emotions of the central characters. Also, the writing is such that you can almost taste the the musket smoke as they're fired by the troops. There's also plenty of passion and bags of excitement as the reader is literally transported back 200 years.

Simon Scarrow has proved himself to be a very fine writer of historical fiction. His research and know-how is second to none and comparisons with Bernard Cornwell and Patrick O'Brien are surely worthy for this exceptional writer. I'm looking forward to book 4 now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read!, 8 Aug. 2010
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when i found out that simon scarrow was writing another series i was excited and when i found out this was going to be about Wellington and Napoleon i was immensely looking forward to it! none of the books in the series so far have disappointed at all and the flicking between the 2 characters after a few chapters is just great and makes you not want to flick ahead to see what happens to each as the chapters leave it on a knife edge.

an excellent book to the backdrop of one of the most interesting points in history!
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2.0 out of 5 stars FIRE AND SWORD., 20 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Fire and Sword (Wellington and Napoleon 3) (The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet) (Paperback)
The third in the Revolution series (I believe there is now a fourth book available). Whilst at a push Fire And Sword could be read as a standalone novel but because it follows the story of two such historical giants (Napoleon Bonaparte and, the perhaps less well known, Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington) and contains a mix of fact and fiction I highly recommend that the books be read in order.

Both a hit and miss for me. Told in tandem, whilst the book followed closely the military careers of both men it was the Wellesley's life story (and in particular his relationship with Kitty) that had me totally gripped. Following his personal and political life much more closely than that of Napoleon I could have quite happily skipped the chapters regarding the Emperor of France and concentrated on his story.

An epic read of over 500 pages (and from what I can remember the two previous novels were of similar length). Because of the very nature of the book at times it did verge on reading like a text book and yet at others felt almost like I was reading the plot of a film/tv series.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superlative standards sustained by Simon Scarrow, 20 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Fire and Sword (Wellington and Napoleon 3) (The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet) (Paperback)
Yet again Simon Scarrow has captured his readership in a fascinating narrative of two of the towering
figures in the English/French wars - The Duke of Wellington and Napolean. This third volume in the
saga of these protaganist's lives leads the captivated reader from Napolean's elevation to Emperor of France
and Arthur Welessly's, (the future Duke of Wellington), well documented victories to a cliffhanging denoument in each of their lifelong series of confrontations on the world stage. At the close of this deeply enthralling third and penultimate volume in the "Revolution" series they are poised for what the reader knows will be Napolean's nemesis by the skilfull manouvering, and a little good fortune, by Wellington and his armies. Hopefully readership pressures will cause Headline to relent and publish the fourth and final volume, ("The Fields of Death"), in this unputdownable series before my next holiday in the middle of April. If not, perhaps Amazon could find me a preview copy !! (I would like to know where they are stored prior to initial distribution !!!) This is historical narrative at it's superb best.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Supreme penmanship in Fire & Sword., 10 Aug. 2009
This review is from: Fire and Sword (Wellington and Napoleon 3) (The Wellington and Napoleon Quartet) (Paperback)
I came across this series of books when looking for in-flight reading and I purchased all three from Amazon before I left. I was not disappointed as I found it impossible to put them down!! Simon Scarrow has superb penmanship by combining historical fact with believable fiction and writes in the easiest of styles so that you always want more.
After reading the books in this series, I had to have more of his work and immediately purchased the complete set of his previous work set primarily in Roman Britain, around the fortunes of two Roman Legionaries and again I was not disappointed. I recommend anything by this author without reservation.

The correlation between the lives of Wellington and Napoleon provides insights into the psyche of two of the best known fighting leaders in Europe and adds detail which enhances their stories beyond the accepted historical novel.
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