Finding Napoleon

Oh my. This book: Finding Napoleon.

Born from a secret manuscript.

At age 26, Napoleon Bonaparte wrote the scant twenty pages—and kept Clisson hidden all his life, even carrying the seedling story with him into his final exile on the island of St. Helena.

When author Margaret Rodenberg learned of the story’s existence in 1999, she began a passionate research journey that carried her through decades and across tens of thousands of miles. Her goal: to flesh out the infant narrative about a young Napoleon and overlap it with an intimate, imagined retelling of the deposed emperor’s final years.

And wow, does she ever do it well.

Start to finish, the book is fascinating. Memorable. The characterization is superb, the well-paced storyline infused with betrayal, intrigue, tender love, and bawdy realities. With true artistry, the author gave me access not only to the brilliant mind and heart of Napoleon, but also to his resilient, wounded mistress Albine and his devoted protégée Tobyson, along with the settings that restricted, expanded, and shaped them all.

The story sent me scrambling to learn more—despite the fact that I have never had more than a yawning interest in Napoleon.

The author accomplishes what every historical novelist surely hopes to do, as she not only transports her readers into a past age, but awakens the lungs and limbs, thoughts and souls of her characters so profoundly that they live and breathe within inches of those readers.

I read an advance digital copy of this book with an opportunity to give it an independent review. I’ve since pre-ordered a hard copy. When it releases on April 6, I want this book on my shelf.

And in other scenes posted this week . . .

Island in Sky Lake.

“…on earth as it is in heaven.”

–Matthew 6:10


B is for Blessing.

“From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

—John 1:16


Scene seen.”

. . .for I watch over my word to accomplish it.”

—Jeremiah 1:12


Winter, ambushed.

“And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

—Deuteronomy 28:2


Thanks for stopping by, friends. So glad you’re here.

Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks.

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Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

6 thoughts on “Finding Napoleon

    1. It’s quite a book. Be ready. The author seamlessly juxtaposes the mannered social customs of that era with the raw carnality that drives and breaks peasants and rulers alike. Such layered characters. And their repartee…so agile and well-crafted.
      Thanks for writing, Maggie. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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