An Innocent Soldier
Fifteen-year-old Adam is taken by his employer, a farmer, in the middle of the night to be conscripted into the army—a replacement for the farmer’s son. Confused and upset, Adam is now called Georg and forced to join the Württemberg battalion as they follow Napoleon’s Grand Army on its 1812 march into Russia. Plagued by a malicious sergeant, Adam is drilled non-stop until a young count, looking to replace his servant, insists that he enter his service. Adam finds solace and soon friendship with the count as they suffer hunger, freezing weather, Russian cannonballs, all in the name of war. Army life and its depravations are vividly described, and the growing friendship between a former stable boy and a count is believable and heartwarming. The novel’s sentences are often incomplete and choppy. I wanted to know sooner what country Adam was from. There are a few historical inaccuracies slanted against the French, but this is seen from the perspective of a young German boy. The condemnation of war runs throughout the story. Good action. Recommended for children 12 and up.