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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2011
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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on 27 February 2011
I'm new to Simon Scarrow and was very pleasantly surprised by this story. It ain't Tolstoy, for sure, and the battle scenes don't compare with the trademark cinematic style of Cornwell and you feel that if you immersed yourself in a good history of the period, followed up by a hefty dose of Tolstoy and the Sharpe novels, that you could write this story yourself. Well you couldn't! Scarrow is clearly a deceptively skilled and assured writer with a remarkably deft sense of pacing. He juggles two disparate well known stories, in an incredible racy style that simply never flags.
I would regard this novel as a masterpiece in the genre of popular light historical fiction; it's actually more gripping even than the Sharpe series.
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on 7 December 2013
I have read all four books in this series back to back. It has been a fascinating and totally absorbing experience to have been transported back to the times of the Napoleonic wars. The author deserves wide acclaim for his obvious in depth knowledge of those times.
I cannot recommend this series highly enough . I personally arrived at the conclusion of this last book in the series with a guarded admiration for Bonaparte.
I have often considered the
plight of our soldiers in what is referred to as the 'Great War' at the beginning of this century. I would urge you all to read this series of books which ably describes the plight of our 19 century Warriors on both sides. I feel humbled.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 28 December 2010
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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on 18 February 2012
I enjoyed this series finale of Simon Scarrow's 'Revolution' quartet. This book, thouugh, did take a while to get going, and ends rather abruptly after Waterloo. I would have liked at least a chapter or two focusing on Napoleon's second and final exile on St. Helena. Also, unlike the previous instalments, I felt there was less characterisation, especially of Wellington, who does come across as a bit 'too heroic', the 'good' as opposed to Napoleon's 'bad'.

Nevertheless, this is a highly enjoyable, easy to follow novel which, as always, brings home to the reader the full horrors of the battlefield. Scarrow remains one of the best at describing battles. Recommended.
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on 15 August 2013
The excellent descriptive story-telling of Simon Scarrow, plus his obvious attention to well researched historical background, has brought this amazing period of history to life. The political backdrop and the battle scenes (I could almost feel bullets and shells whipping past my shoulder!), plus, as with the preceding three books in the "Revolution" series, the in-turn "parallel" stories of Wellington and Bonaparte, made a great read. After reading "Fire and Sword" I could not wait to get my hands on "Fields of Death". Both books extremely hard to put-down!

Wonderful stuff, Simon! Thank you.
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on 3 September 2010
What a great last installment to what has been a wonderful series. Scarrow excels in producing utterly readable historical fiction - you know his books are going to be a treat to enjoy and he delivers every time.

This volume rips through a so much action that you'll be needing a break or two in order to catch up. Yes it's all been done before and for good reason - it's just such a fantastic story that even though you probably know the all the outcomes, you can't put it down.

If you are new to his writing, I urge you to pick up either this Revolution or Eagle series. Enjoy!
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on 29 August 2013
The final book in the series - and it does not disappoint. I am a great student of Napoleon and Wellington and SS really puts personality into the history. He cleverly does not labour the historical details surrounding Waterloo but imagines the motives and circumstance of the two combatants. The blood and gore of battles is all there but the politics driving the generals is what gives this book real backbone. Simon should look at doing a series on The East India Company and the British in India - please !!!
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VINE VOICEon 23 May 2014
I was gripped completely by this telling of the end of the Napoleonic saga, having purchased immediately I finished Revolution 3.
One doesn't have to have read any of the first 3 books, as this can stand totally on its own. The battles and tactics are well-described, (and I have read many histories of this period) with Scarrow's care for detail and authenticity rewarding the reader. In fact, it has encouraged me to get some of the history books out again to learn more. Value for money, in trumps.
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on 3 December 2014
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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