For anyone that's interested, do note that Peter Englund's books, Poltava; the birth of the Russian Empire and The Battle that shook Europe; Poltava and the birth of the Russian Empire are the same text. The battle that shook Europe is just a more recent printing.
I knew little other of the era than the battles of Narva and Poltava, but was surprised and a little shocked to read of the behaviour of the Swedes in Poland, Ukraine and Russia where they burned villages and killed civilians and prisoners of war; things that we've heard about in WW2, some 230-plus years latter.
For years I had the view promoted by most 18th century rules that this was an era of gentlemanly and 'civilised' war between professionals. But not so.
And will this new knowledge stop me playing horse and musket games? I doubt it, though it will temper my view of some characters and armies. And I've still to read most of Massie's book on Peter the Great.
Now, back to painting colourful uniforms.