"My Dear Lads, You are now-a-days called upon to acquire so great a mass of learning and information in the period of life between the ages of twelve and eighteen that it is not surprising that but little time can be spared for the study of the history of the foreign nations..."
So begins Henty's preface to The Lion Of The North - a Tale of the Times of Gustavus Adolphus published in 1886 - just one of Henty's 120 books, most of which were historical tales and adventure stories for boys which successfully combined fact with fiction.
George Alfred Henty was born in 1832. He was educated at Westminster School, London, and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge. Soon after the start of the Crimean War he left Cambridge before taking a degree, and was commissioned in the army where he rose to the rank of Captain. Writing dramatic letters describing his experiences, he became one of the world's first war correspondents and from 1865 covered many of the minor 19th century wars for The Standard, a leading London daily newspaper.