Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Waterloo: Bob Jenkins Royal Horse Artillery 1814-1817

Waterloo: Bob Jenkins Royal Horse Artillery 1814-1817

Bryan Perrett
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Scholastic UK, 2003   ISBN: 978-0439978170

Bob Jenkins loves horses and is pretty content helping his father in the stables at Danesforth Hall. Though he is a servant he is treated well and the Hall is a good place to live. Then the son of Sir Desmond Holder, who is the master of the hall, comes home from fighting with Lord Wellington in Spain. Ralph Holder is now a Captain and he has to adjust to living in a world where Napoleon Bonaparte is no longer a threat in Europe. Bob is fascinated by the stories that Captain Holder and his aid Sergeant Bambridge tell about their experiences in Spain and he thinks how grand it would be if he too could be a soldier.

Unfortunately the peace does not last long. Bonaparte escapes from his exile on the island of Elba and once again he threatens Italy, France, Belgium and the other countries of Europe with his armies. Captain Holder and his man have to return to duty. Bob is determined that he too should go to fight and the captain agrees to take him as his servant but not as a soldier. Bob’s parents have to be satisfied with this and soon enough the boy is off to war.

Bob’s jobs include taking care of Captain Holder’s horses, setting up his tent, and taking care of his personal needs. What he does not expect is to find himself in the middle of a battle and being taken prisoner. Bob quickly realizes that war is truly a terrible thing as he watches horses and men being slaughtered and maimed all around him.

Bob’s eyewitness account of the events at Waterloo and the extraordinary adventures that he has there are both fascinating and sobering. In addition the author weaves a murder mystery into Bob’s story which is brought to a very satisfactory conclusion by then end of the book.