“I asked first. When no Justice is forthcoming, a man has the right to make his own.”
I’ll admit, I am not a great expert on Napoleon or that particular time in European history. For some reason, it’s just an era that has not sparked my interest before now. When I got the opportunity from Booksparks to read Finding Napoleon, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to expand my knowledge about an infamous figure which had previously been relegated to the dusty corners of my mind.
We join Napoleon as he is beginning to lose his final campaign and is entered into exile on St Helena where he will (spoiler alert) later die. We see his fierce devotion to his son, “Eaglet,” and his sensitive heart as his second wife spurns him as he begins to fall from grace. As his confinement on St Helena progresses he maintains that he has asked for sanctuary from the British even though he is treated as a prisoner. He takes up writing a novel based on his life that he had abandoned years before and we learn more about what shaped him into the powerful leader he was. Meanwhile, his few trusted servants are trying to find a way for him to escape exile and he learns that not all are as trusted as he hoped.
I was stuck by his sense of justice and how his strong opinions shaped him as a leader but made him quite unliked among his peers even early on in his military career. I was also amazed by his passion and how deeply he fell in love. He was quite sensitive and easily hurt by a lover or his parents or friends when he perceived a slight. It is of course historical fiction and doubly so because parts of this novel are taken from his own novel which was surely embellished by a dying man. The nobility and devotion that he perceives of his own actions was really interesting to see a glimpse into the mind of someone with so much power who thinks they are doing the right thing but only seeing things from the one perspective.
I liked multiple POV and multiple time points as well as the book within a book as methods of telling the story. All in all a great read with lots of intrigue!
Thanks to Booksparks for a copy of this novel. All opinions above are my own.
What’s a time period in history you’d like to read more about?