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Summary

Arthur Wesley (the future Duke of Wellington) was born and bred to be a leader. With a firm belief that the nation must be led by a king, the red-coated British officer heads for battle against the French Republic, to restore the fallen monarchy.

Napoleon Bonaparte joins the French military on the eve of the Revolution. He believes leadership is won by merit, not by noble birth. When anarchy explodes in Paris, he's thrust into the revolutionary army poised to march against Britain.

As two mighty empires embark on a bloody duel, Wesley and Bonaparte prepare to face a sworn enemy, unaware that the fate of Europe will one day lie in their hands....

©2006 Simon Scarrow (P)2016 Headline Digital

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Simon Scarrow But Not As We Know Him

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.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Outstanding

At first found the switching between Wellingtons and Napoleons storys frustrating. Each time you wanted to hear more and had to reset you thoughts. However this is a well written and a fascinating read/listen . Jonathan Keebles narration is exquisite and brings the story to life. Just about to start book 2 cannot wait.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Epic Story

Although you know the history of these great men, Simon Scarrow breaths life into the past. Fantastic stuff, time to start book 2.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating, educating and throughly thrilling

One of the best books I have ever read. I literally couldn't put it down for the third time, this time, on Audible.com. If your interested in this period of time, then you must read it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Something very different from Simon Scarrow

If you could sum up Young Bloods in three words, what would they be?

A great foundation to the story of Napoleon and Wellington as youngsters

Who was your favorite character and why?

Arthur Wellesley...He was an underdog character coming from fairly modest roots and no stranger to failures and vices, although Napoleon as a child was extremely entertaining.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Jonathan Keeble's work is always great this is no exception

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some of the light humour was mildly amusing, hearing the British soldiers plight when retreating was also moving.

Any additional comments?

This novel forms an extremely solid foundation for the coming books, you get to actually like both characters Napoleon and Arthur Wellesley and see them both for their human side for their successes, failures, flaws, vices and virtues which has not been left out...I really enjoyed this Simon Scarrow put a lot of work into character development and this made for fascinating characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic

A fascinating book with so much more than simply the early life of the main protagonists.... I'm straight into book two.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Well worth a listen

Simon Scarrow has done a fine job on this book I read the 4 books some time back but listening to it just brings back how good a writer he is and in this case it's well narrated

It details the young lives and start of the careers of Napoleon and Wellington in an interesting and informative way

I really enjoyed this book and it was over far to quickly I am now eager to purchase the other 3 books in the series

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Best Scarrow Yet

Would you listen to Young Bloods again? Why?

This series far exceeds Cato and Macro .. Scarrow just seems to get into the characters better ..

What did you like best about this story?

Napoloen is a brilliant Character

Which character – as performed by Jonathan Keeble – was your favourite?

Napoloen is a brilliant Character but Wellesley is a my real life hero .. Napoeon probably edges it in this book but I don't think it will last

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes and almost did

Any additional comments?

I just wished i would have waited until Generals was released so I could have listened to them both in a row

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Lightening strikes twice

I approached this book with trepidation as it seemed to be quite a departure from the type of stories told before. I didn't want to listen to history of Wellington and Bonaparte but I took the chance when this was on sale.

I am really impressed yet again. Simon has given personality and gravitas to historical figures who's depths and motivations I now know I didn't understand before.

The book also has made me draw parallels with what is happening today and made me realise that there are many similarities with the modern social situation as there were during the time of the French Revolution.

Excellent.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Detailed and identity

Great detailed account of the rise in power historically of two men we all know but putting a human face onto these legends. Fare in its account of the French and English frames of reference that coming from an Irish man.. We can judge people of today for what our ancestors believes and actions you can only do what at the time you think is right..

The human condition

Look forward to the rest of the story that I new of but now am aware of and its impact on the world

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Jean
  • 26-02-16

Exceptional

I have been fascinated by Napoleon since I was a child. I have read everything I could find about both these men and the Napoleonic War. I found myself more interested in Arthur Wesley’s sister, Barbara; she was a fascinating person. So when I discovered Simon Scarrow wrote a historical fiction series about these two men I just had to read it.

The book covers the years 1769 to 1795. Scarrow starts with the early years of both men and it appeared to me that Scarrow was attempting to show similarities between the two men’s characters. The only new item was that Scarrow suggested that Napoleon and Wesley (Duke of Wellington) met as young men at a French Military Academy. I have never heard of this meeting so I do not know if it really happened or is part of the fiction in the story. The story did remind me that Arthur Wesley could have made his fame and fortune with his violin; not many famous generals were excellent musicians. In the last half of the book we have Napoleon at the battle of Toulon; Scarrow has some excellent battle scenes.

Scarrow took on a real challenge, as so much has been written about these two men. I can understand why Scarrow chose to write a historical fiction rather than a biography. The book is well researched and well written. Being fiction it is easy to read. I understand there are four books in this series. I cannot wait to read them all. Jonathan Keeble does a good job narrating the book.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Greg
  • 15-07-16

WOW!!!

What did you love best about Young Bloods?

Can't pick one. I have read/listen to so much about this time period (Sharpe series, et al), and I'm simply blown away.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Boney. You end up rooting for Bonaparte.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I'll look for more.

Who was the most memorable character of Young Bloods and why?

Every character is so fleshed out. Just amazing.

Any additional comments?

If you have read/listened to Bernard Cornwell this is a must get.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Hen
  • 28-02-18

KEEBLE + FANTASTIC STORY. WHAT MORE DO YOU NEED?!?

Where does Young Bloods rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Right up there with Cornwell’s Saxon Chronicles and Gabaldon.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is different... so far... as we’ve not gotten to any battle scenes where the absolute POWER of Keeble’s gift takes hold of our imaginations and bodily WRENCHES us into the very CRUCIBLE of BATTLE.

His voice is tender and cruel where the story calls for it. We see into the very heart of what Scarrow’s imaginings (I’ve always been fascinated by Napoleon - and after this series will look for nonfiction accounts of both Arthur and Napoleon.) of each child’s boyhood traumas turned each young man into the conflicted soul they both bear in this first book.

They are so very SIMILAR at this point, but also so very well set up to be natural combatants.

Any additional comments?

The fact that the publishers appear to be learning how much we ABHOR flipping narrators about during a series is heartening.

Let’s hope that this continues.

AND WHENEVER THEY’D LIKE TO REDO THE SAXON CHRONICLES WITH KEEBLE AS SOLE NARRATOR - CONSIDERING CORNWELL IS GOING TO CONTINUE THE SERIES - I’M CERTAIN A GOOD MAJORITY OF US WOULD THROW OUR CREDITS DOWN FOR THAT!!!

With a TV series to its credit, now, and books flying off both virtual and bookstore shelves there’s all the growing popularity and monetary incentive to get that ENTIRE series narrated like it should have been in the first place:

WITH KEEBLE AS ITS MASTERFUL, SOLE VOICE.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Christine A Saunders
  • 02-11-17

Quite brilliant#

A thoroughly enthralling story with impressive attention to historical detail and accuracy. And of course, Jonathan Keeble brings every line, page, minute, and hour to life with his exemplary performance. Quite brilliant and I can't wait to download the next book in the series!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Cary
  • 01-04-16

Plesant surprise!

Approached this book cautiously, fearing a watered down or, worse, overly fantasized rendering of two fascinating historical giants and their times. To the contrary, I found this is a well-scripted, informative without being overly bogged down in minutiae and, yes, highly entertaining historical novel - an Audible Masterpiece Theatre, if you will - which is thoroughly appealing. Helped along by a splendid narrator, Jonathan Keeble, with the appropriate voice inflections, accurately delivered accents etc., It makes one crave for the three remaining and yet unrecorded books in the series, to be similarly executed. And "soon" is not good enough! My first Scarrow outing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • James Buckner
  • 08-05-18

Well written and read

This is fantastic and there is nothing like the books in this series. It is perfection to the highest degree. "You actually feel like you are standing in the room with the characters." I listened to all of them and I can't wait to do it again.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 06-04-18

Napoleon and Wellington

Simon Scarrow does a great job of portraying the humanity and personalities of these famous adversities. The battle scenes are vivid and gripping, and gives a great sense of the development and experience of these future generals. Can't wait to read the rest of the series. And to top it off, Jonathan Keeble is a masterful narrator.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-02-18

loved it!

fantastic storytelling. I love the way the author bridges these two remarkable men into one seem less tale....

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  • james
  • 05-08-17

The best recount of Napoleon's early years

I have listened to many of Simon Scarrow's Eagle series books set Roman times with Cato and Marco and always loved the adventures but this proves Scarrow to be an incredible author.
I can't wait to listen to the next one.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-07-17

Young Bloods, Book 1

This is a most interesting book about Napoleon and Wellington from birth to their first military battles. It is a good contrast and comparison of the young men. I enjoyed learning about their family lives as young people and who they interacted with in those years.
It is well narrated and both French and English accents are done well and are clear to understand.

I recommend this book to history lovers.

This is Book 1 in this series. I'm looking forward to Book 2, The Generals.

A Colorado Audible.com Listener