Netgalley IOU – Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg

Dear Diary,

This book took a lot of time and a lot of soul. But it was worth it.

Finding Napoleon by Margaret Rodenberg is not your straightforward historical fiction of who was who, when, where and did what. It is an excquisite burrowing into human soul.

‘He was lucky, very lucky, until he was not’… Napoleon Bonaparte was lucky. He was lucky in fight, in politics and even in love. But was he? Was he lucky till the end?

Finding Napoleon places Emperor on St Helena, a distant, lost, hard island (part of British Empire) at the very end of Napoleon’s days. He is surrounded by what’s left of his court. But in all honesty, he is surrounded by hyenas.

The story in this book is multi-layered. It is about Napoleon’s last days and what’s transpired during his stay on St Helena, from befriending governor’s daughter to helping black slaves to revolt. But it is also about what humans are capable of to survive. Oh my, they are cabable of so much. They are able to stoop so low.

To see the events through the eyes of Napoleon and those close to him, to feel treason even before the words are out, to hear the rumblings of thunder and approaching ships that won’t bring freedom even before Napoleon has his last breath… Margaret Rodenberg has done an amazing job in creating a tight narrative of events and human nature, betrayal and hope, love and cruelty of cheating…

Yes, on top of everything else, readers are given an opportunity to see a very unexpected side to the great Corsican – his writing. Napoleon is writing a novel. He is writing it as much for his son (left in Austria with his mother) as for himself – to see himself, to prove himself and to forgive himself…

This is a very deep, soulful, touching read.

The book is published by She Writes Press and is out now.

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