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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Story told with true style
I really struggled with what to write for this review, the story its self was never going to be a huge surprise, we all know the basic plot.
But it's so easy for this sort of this to be told in a dry bland fashion.
Anyone who has read the first 3 books in the series (Young Bloods, Generals, Fire and Sword) will know that Simons writing is anything but dry and...
Published on 12 Jun 2011 by Parm

versus
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brought down by excessive ambition
Fields of Death is the fourth and final volume in Simon Scarrow's Revolution series and didn't inspire me to go and read the other three. In fact, I only finished it because I was on holiday and didn't have anything else to read.

The problem is that the undertaking that Scarrow embarked upon - telling the parallel stories of Wellington and Napoleon's lives and...
Published on 28 Dec 2010 by David Herdson


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic Story told with true style, 12 Jun 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Fields of Death (Revolution 4) (Hardcover)
I really struggled with what to write for this review, the story its self was never going to be a huge surprise, we all know the basic plot.
But it's so easy for this sort of this to be told in a dry bland fashion.
Anyone who has read the first 3 books in the series (Young Bloods, Generals, Fire and Sword) will know that Simons writing is anything but dry and bland, he brings
forth the pace and characterisation of his hugely popular fictional eagles series and applies the writing skill to a more confined writing area, having to stick to the bounds of real people and what they actually did, rather than the freedom of fictional characters who can play around in a time period, yet he still brings these people to life in just the same way something you just don't often see with many writers these days.

This book is no small offering at 500+ pages its easy to class it as a hefty tome, and yet it was the first book in my hand luggage for holiday this year (my fault for starting it a few days before we left, but there was no way I was waiting a week to finish it). Its very easy to say you cannot put a book down, but it really is the case with all 4 of the books in this series, not only are they fun , absorbing, escapism and exciting but they are also hugely entertaining and educational as well.

This book is sure to top the charts and deservedly so, I think every author has a crowning achievement in their writing repertoire (and who knows Simon may prove me wrong and go on to write even better...I can only hope) but for me this could be his master piece. David Gemmell wrote his Troy Series to culminate his career, Feist wrote The Empire Series early in his career, you never know when that perfect storm of writing skill, character, plot etc will happen, maybe this is Simons?

Either way this is a must buy for this year, if you have not read the rest of the series then buy the lot, it's a real treat.
(parm)
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Finale, 1 July 2010
By 
J. Cooper (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Fields of Death (Revolution 4) (Hardcover)
Well, we seem to have been waiting for this book for a very long time.

Was it worth that torturous hiatus?

Undoubtedly so! This is by far the best book in the series and was well worth the frequent checks on Amazon for the publishing date and the eventual trip to the local bookstore on the morning of its release.

What of the content itself?

The book follows Arthur as he continues his campaign across the Peninsula, over the Pyrenees and eventually into France. Napoleon's adventures begin with battles against the Austrians, continue as he makes the ill-fated decision to invade Russia and come to an end as he is forced to abdicate at which point he is exiled to Elba. As is to be expected the book and the series reach a climax at the infamous Battle of Waterloo when Napoleon and Wellington finally have the opportunity to cross swords. The final few pages give us a glimpse of the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars, but the book really comes to an end at Waterloo.

From the moment I picked this book up, I struggled to put it back down again. Work and sleep were unnecessary obstacles which forced me to grudgingly set the book down for a while. I have read all of Scarrow's previous books, but I have to congratulate him on the way he made me feel sorry for Napoleon during his inglorious retreat from the depths of Russia when everything was going wrong and turning to ashes. I think this is the sign of a truly gifted writer, when the reader can sympathise with the chief villain.

I have to ask; was that a cheeky reference to our beloved Richard Sharpe when Wellington meets the unusual Major who carried a Rifle and spoke with what appeared to be a slightly Northern accent? Definitely not, I hear the publishers cry! I thought it was brilliant all the same.

This series has given me many hours of pleasurable reading. After finishing the book I was left pondering whether or not more books could have been written to expand the series further. I think the answer to that question is yes, without a doubt; the author could have completely changed the appearance of this series by writing a detailed account of the Napoleonic Wars. On the other hand, would a lengthy series have made for truly engrossing, page turning, historical fiction? Probably not! I think the author has managed to get the balance just right with this series. At the end I was left thinking `I wish there was more'. As a result I will be guaranteed to buy Scarrow's next book in an attempt to fill the gap.

If you have stumbled on this book by a random search, I implore you to start with the first book in the series `Young Bloods' and work your way through.

You certainly won't regret it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A war, not a battle, 7 Aug 2010
By 
Jeff "roadrunner" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fields of Death (Revolution 4) (Hardcover)
The cover would have you believe this weighty tome is all about Waterloo, which would have been a bit much even for that great fight. Truth is, it's about the whole Peninsula War so begins in 1809 at Talavera. Not only that, in order to get the balance right, it covers Napoleon's campaigns in Austria and Russia. That, I think, is one of the problems I have with this book - it attempts too much. Because of that, inevitably some things are overlooked or not gone into and perhaps others given too much. The disastrous retreat from Moscow is given about as much room as Waterloo itself. OK, I know some would argue it was equally important I suppose? Others writing here have wished for more about St Helena and the alleged poisoning [try 'The Emperor's Last Island' if you want more]. I did get a bit battle-weary at some stages in Spain; Badajoz, for example, gets mega coverage. But it's easy to forget that this is essentially a work of non-fiction. Scarrow's research appears excellent but he has [to my knowledge] nothing but real people and events and let's face it, that's something you can't change. I am, however, glad I'm not the only one to have spotted the cameo appearance of A Certain Person [on p359]!! That was a nice touch. All this makes it appear that I didn't enjoy the book but the truth is that I did - for the most part. I did find it long and unlike others, I'm not sure it's the best of the series but Scarrow is a fine writer who I will continue to go back to. This has been a mighty undertaking which may make him afeared of revisiting the Peninsula and staying with good old Cato. We'll see!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent historical dramatisation, 25 Dec 2011
Historical fiction must provide continuous but unusual facts.Everybody knows about Waterloo and Trafalgar (I hope they do!)but the interest is in the beginnings and middle.My only criticism is that Scarrow doesn't bring out what an intellectual Napoleon was with a huge breadth of interests.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining series., 3 Dec 2011
By 
The book is part of a entertaining series that also describes the historical events in a nice way. Very informative on the lives of both Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington. Would certainly recommend for those with an interest in history.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Brought down by excessive ambition, 28 Dec 2010
By 
David Herdson (Wakefield, Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
Fields of Death is the fourth and final volume in Simon Scarrow's Revolution series and didn't inspire me to go and read the other three. In fact, I only finished it because I was on holiday and didn't have anything else to read.

The problem is that the undertaking that Scarrow embarked upon - telling the parallel stories of Wellington and Napoleon's lives and campaigns - is such an epic that even in a 700 page volume, the events of the six years leading up to and slightly beyond their ultimate clash at Waterloo are so great that they squash the life out of too many of the episodes and characters.

The result is a bit of a rush through the vast canvas of the latter Napoleonic Wars, dropping in on the major battles and various other incidents, political and personal, but without any great oversight or driving narrative. The loss to the characters is even worse: too often they appear one-dimensional caricatures - Wellington commands imperturbably while Napoleon broods with his hands clasped behind his back. The dialogue is frequently similarly uninspired.

A related problem is that there simply aren't enough meaningful characters. Wellington appears to have a single staff officer for virtually the entire campaign, for example, and he only really exists as someone for Wellington to talk to or explain his strategy and tactics. We never find much out about him or see how six years of war develops his character.

On the other hand, the book's redeeming feature is the quality of the battle writing. These are consistently done well, with a real understanding and feel for the events and as a result, take the reader right into the action. They were the only times I really felt engaged with what was going on and are the reason it gets three stars and not two. Even there though, there are so many battles to get through that they start to blend in to one another by the end.

One other irritant deserves mention. Scarrow refers to Wellington (or Wellesley as he is at the start of the volume) as Arthur. Whether that's an attempt to put him on the same footing as Napoleon - the only other character to be denoted by his forename - or is a none-too-subtle reference to the legendary king, I don't know. Either way, I found it annoying.

All in all, I can't help feeling that it's a misconceived series. The parallel lives simply don't have enough links to sustain the weight of the story they're required to carry at breakneck speed, and the solution - to lighten the load - doesn't properly address it. A series two or three times the length might have helped to pace the story better and to add depth and colour but still wouldn't have resolved the central problem.

Having said all that, it's not a bad book providing the reader doesn't want much from it. As a piece of lightweight (if long) holiday reading, it served its purpose. It's just that it could have been so much better.
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4.0 out of 5 stars a good finish!, 3 Dec 2014
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Just like the other books this one covers a huge swathe of European history. The two main protagonists battle their respective way to the inevitable finale at Waterloo. The book captures some of the ego that was
Napoleon and the pragmatic yet somehow inspiring aloofness of Wellington. The fact that each had far more success in war than in their personal lives seems to be the obvious obituary to them both. This book is a great read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good series but Scarrow is running out of steam, 14 Sep 2014
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A good series but Scarrow is running out of steam.Too many intricate battle scenes which you have to skip through. Very good portrayal of how Napolean changes as he gets older. From being a brilliant young general he declines to megalomania which costs him and France everything. Pity because if he had concentrated on internal matters France would have become the great country which was the centre of his ambitions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant -GB, 29 Jun 2014
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A wonderful book to finish the series. I read slowly so as to delay the end. Now I can do my chores!
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5.0 out of 5 stars excellent, 18 Jun 2014
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I have now read all the books in this series back to back, anyone who enjoys historical fiction will fall in love with these fast moving and well considered books. I'm off to se chat else mr Scarrow has written, Excellent
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The Fields of Death (Revolution 4)
The Fields of Death (Revolution 4) by Simon Scarrow (Hardcover - 24 Jun 2010)
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