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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Experts on Napoleon and Wellington will no doubt sneer at some of the dramatic & factual liberties Simon Scarrow has taken when writing this first volume of a series that will follow the lives and careers of both men. Others may damn the books for the odd anachronism or use of modern terminology. If they do then they miss the point of this book and those that follow it.

This is not meant to be dry, purely factual history. This is dramatic reconstruction, with all that the term implies. Young Bloods is an attempt to bring characters and events to life as real human beings. It is about making history, important, world changing history, accessible to those who would never dream of picking up a non-fiction history book in their life.

In this respect it is a great success. Young Bloods manages to be both informative and entertaining; a combination that can be difficult to achieve. It is even more impressive in this case when taking into consideration the fact that the book has to deal with the men's childhoods and the earliest parts of their careers and features none of their more well known military or political acheivements. Simon Scarrow is to be applauded for what he manages to do here and for shining a light on the more obscure early lives of both men.

He must also be praised for avoiding the traps of turning the life of either man into either a Bernard Cornwell-style tale of derring-do or a dry, factually impeccable yet unenvolving and slow Allan Mallinson-style detail-fest. For the most part avoiding horribly anachronistic behaviour or speech he strikes just the right line, managing to keep events accessible yet also preventing them from becoming too dry or turgid under the weight of factual accuracy.

Of course in order to do so his forced to sacrifice some verisimilitude and depth of character. Certain events also feels a little truncated from time to time, but they are prices worth paying to keep matters moving forward and to hold the reader attention. The fact that as a result of reading this and the books that follow more people are going to know more about both Wellington and Napoleon than simply Waterloo and the Iberian campaign is worth the sometimes prosaic story telling.

So no sneering. If you want minutae and 100% historical accuracy there are numerous bigraphies of both Wellington and Napoleon available. If you want an entertaining, action packed story of two men destined for greatness who just happened to be real, and a great many people do want precisely that, then Young Bloods should definitely be on your reading list.
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on 22 February 2007
This is a departure from the Legions of Rome for Simon Scarrow, but he has proved that he is not a one trick pony by coming up with another excellent read although he has moved through history by almost 2,000 years.

Set in late 18th century Europe, the book follows the military career of two men who were to become the major driving force of their respective countries. The two men are world's apart, not only in physical distance but also in their backgrounds and upbringing.

on the one hand Napoleon Bonaparte caught up in the sordid dramas of the French Revolution and the wars that France is waging. On the other the young man Arthur, who is to become the Duke of Wellington, blooded in battle in Ireland and Flanders.

Both men have a love of life and a love of women and their nature will not allow anyone or anything to stand in their way.

This is an excellent start to what is sure to be a wonderful series.
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on 11 April 2007
I haven't read Scarrow's Eagle books, but keep meaning to, so when I saw his latest offering I thought I'd try him out.

I'm glad I did. Writing in a style very similar to Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden (in that at no time does the story get dull!), Scarrow's idea of alternating the story of Napoleon and Wellington (or Buona Parta and Wesley as they start out in life) makes for an interesting, immensely readable story.

Not knowing too much about either of the protagonists early life, I also learnt a thing or two, and eagerly await the next instalment.
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on 30 June 2007
I have just recently got into Historical non-fiction and i must say what an introduction to the genre. Young bloods is compelling, tense and exciting. The book keeps you hooked, i found it hard to put down and found myself reading into the early hours of the morning. If this book has one downside i would have to say if you are a busy person you will struggle with the lack of sleep this book allows you. I as a GCSE student found it hard to cope with school life while reading this book, but don't let this stp you. Unless you are a swat, you will not mind messing up your school life for this epic. 5 stars, I am definitely going to buy more historical fiction books. I think i will try Wolf of the plains, after the praise Iggulden recieved for the Emperor series i find it hard to ignore the new Genghis series.
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on 15 March 2016
This is simply an excellent start to what looks likely to be a very high quality series. My only previous experience of Simon Scarrow has been the early books of the Macro and Cato series. Full of solid, hearty characters created by the author giving him much freedom in terms of their own story and behaviours.

Journaling the lives of these two most famous of generals from much more recent history is a significantly different proposition and naturally the result is a much different book. This is a fascinating look at the early lives of these two famous young men with the starkly contrasting upbringings they had up to their first tastes of command and battle.

What actually struck me was that despite the differences there were also fascinating parallels to be drawn. Their experiences of the capital cities, Paris and London, their difficult births and how they both succeeded by being somewhat unconventional. The stark differences in their personalities and motivations show that while these two both became great generals they were forged by very different fires. Although I am sure Scarrow does utilise a certain amount of poetic license seeing this most tumultuous part of history through the double aspect of both their lives makes Young Bloods truly fascinating reading.

The book really gathers pace towards the end and thoroughly sets the scene for what is to follow. The narration by Jonathan Keeble is first class. He is set a tough task with so many characters and accents but he rises to the challenge like a thoroughbred.

In very short, this is a different Simon Scarrow to what I've personally seen before but it's just as good, if not better. I have extremely high hopes for the rest of this series when it is made available.
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on 15 August 2013
I felt sadder but wiser at the end of this book.
Wiser because I now know a lot more about the French revolution and Napoleon's rise.
Sadder because this was an ace away from being a really good book.
I think there was a common fault in fictional biographies on display here - it was neither one thing nor another. As a novel it felt weighed down with extraneous detail, as a biography it made assumptions that I doubt the author could really know.
That said it was a four-star read but for the unimpressive kindle editing which littered the page with irritating typos.
Will I read the next in the series? Probably.
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on 1 December 2012
I will just do a review for all the series. Absolutely brilliant!! I have been reading all the four books over the past 4-5 months and now that I have finished I wont know what to do with my time. These were so good I put down my Patrick O Brian books so I could read all four. These books give a personal background to two amazing men and i was split between admiring them and the loss due to the battles that was fought. This all came from Mr Scarrows books which was well written and I liked how he used a bit of literary license on the meeting between the two men. The book series showed how these two men grew and their personal battles.
I'm now rather happy I have Dr Chandlers 'Campaigns of Napoleon' as I will read that along side sections out of the books.
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on 1 September 2007
This is the first Simon Scarrow book I have read and it most certainly won't be the last.
Very informative, well written and exciting. I literally couldn't put it down and when I had to I couldn't wait to pick it up again.
This book gives a fantastic account of the early lives of Wellington and Napoleon and shows how similar their early lives and careers were.
However, people must remember this is a novel and not a biography and with that in mind should be able to accept certain obvious 'faults'. For example the two meeting each other in France when young. Scarrow justifies this in his Authors Note at the end successfully in my opinion.
I am glad to hear that this is the first of a series of four and am looking forward to the next instalment.
My advice to anyone toying with the idea of buying this book is....stop dithering and buy it. You will not be disappointed.
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on 22 September 2014
A fantastic piece of fiction using the two great military figures of the late 18th century. Different from the previous roman books this looks at e world through different eyes. The same precision of writing and page turning drama. A great read.
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on 11 June 2010
I actually got the hard back version of this when it first came out. Having never really been really interested too much in the Napoleonic period before, I thought I'd give it a go as it was written by Simon Scarrow and I'd read all the Eagle series.

I found Young Bloods to be really enjoyable with 'the read til you drop factor' of his usual books. What I did find mildly odd was that my sympathies lay more with Napoleon than Wellington. I don't know if this was because Napoleon came from a normal background and Wellington an upper class one or because, I found myself think Napoleon was right in trying to give France to the people rather than the corrupt autocrats who ruled society.

The way the two officers work their way throught the ranks is fascinating and Simon Scarrow build up the tension really well as he did with the Eagle series. All the major engagements are explained fully and he does write the stories within the realms of reality, which makes the book and its sequels even better.

This book and its sequels are excellent reading and they got me interested in this region of history!
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