Set in Napoleon’s heyday, this is a seemingly endless series of battles – often recounted in gory detail – interspersed with reckless carousing. Peter and Raoul always come out victorious and, if they do happen to get injured, they’re well again in no time. Bonaparte and his troops manage with next to no sleep, advancing from one victory to the next.
However historically accurate the account may be – and it seems there is some basis for the Polish slant as well as names of real generals, etc. – the plot and pace are quite implausible and the amount of blood and gore rather off putting.
The unsealed fate of the Grunewald sword and Peter’s ongoing affair with Caterina lead the reader to want the next book in the series.
I can’t give this book a higher rating than 2 stars. The plot may be good but I gave up one third of the way through. The French Revolution was surely a cruel period but I don’t feel the need to read all the gory details and the callous behaviour of people like Raoul Aguirre. I found the events sometimes unrealistic (e.g. the first betting scene) and the dialogue forced in places. The book could do with another round of line editing, too.