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The bestselling author of Schindler’s List and The Daughters of Mars returns with an “insightful and nimble...consistently fresh and engaging” (The New York Times Book Review) novel about the remarkable friendship between a quick-witted young woman and one of history’s most intriguing figures, Napoleon Bonaparte, during the final years of his life in exile on St. Helena.
In October 1815, after his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte was sent to live the remainder of his life in exile on the remote Southern Atlantic island of St. Helena. There, on what he called “the cursed rock,” with no chance of escape, he found an unexpected ally: a spirited British teenager named Betsy Balcombe who lived on the island with her family. While Napoleon waited for his own accommodations to be made livable, the Balcombe family played host to the infamous exile, a decision that would have far-reaching consequences for them all.
In Napoleon’s Last Island, based on a true story, acclaimed author Thomas Keneally re-creates Betsy’s powerful and complex friendship with the man dubbed The Great Ogre, her clashes and alliances with his remaining courtiers, and her uneasy journey to adulthood as she begins to see the imperfections and weaknesses of human nature. As he brings a fascinating period vividly to life, Keneally shines a fresh light on one of history’s most enigmatic, charismatic figures. “The book is a complex and mesmerizing success,” raves the Christian Science Monitor, hailing it as “a masterpiece in miniature…unfailingly great reading [and] testimony to the fact that Keneally is our greatest living practitioner of historical fiction.”