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The Fields of Death (Wellington and Napoleon 4) (Revolution 4) Hardcover – 24 Jun 2010
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'in the hands of this author the whole lot is brought thrillingly to life' (The Bookseller)
The hardback of FIRE AND SWORD, the third title in Simon Scarrow's series about Wellington and Napoleon, spent five weeks on the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list, reaching the No. 4 positionSee all Product description
Top customer reviews
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.
The pace of the story is high and with the story alternating from Wellington to Napoleon it builds a great suspense that makes you want to read on and find out what happens next, despite the fact that most of us already know how the book will end. The descriptions of the various battles with their tactical decisions for infantery, cavalry and artillery are gripping and revealing at the same time. Not only the issues that both commanders faced in battle are described, but also in other matters like retreats, supply lines and communication lines. And yet this is all written as a tale and not just a historic description.
Where Cornwell's books are often written from the perspective of a fictional character close to the main historic person, this book is written from the perspective of Napoleon and Wellington themselves. There is therefore a greater sense of getting to know these characters more intimate and being closer to where the action is. At the same time I must assume there has to be some more colouring of the characters by Scarrow using his writer's creativity. Wellington is portrayed as an integer, righteous man that wins symphaty that becomes the good guy while Napoleon is the impatient, insensitive self glorifying commander that therefore tends to become the baddie. I wonder if the contrast would have been painted this strong had Scarrow been a French writer.
Although this is the 4th book in a series, it reads equally fine as a stand alone. I have never felt that the story referred to a past event that was described in a previous book.
If you like Cornwell's books, then there is a good chance you will like this one as well.