Napoleon’s Last Island
On the island of St Helena in the south Atlantic ocean, Napoleon spends his last years in exile. It is a hotbed of gossip and secret liaisons, where a blind eye is turned to relations between colonials and slaves.
The disgraced emperor is subjected to vicious and petty treatment by his captors, but he forges an unexpected ally: a rebellious British girl, Betsy, who lives on the island with her family and becomes his unlikely friend.
Based on fact, Napoleon’s Last Island is the surprising story of one of history’s most enigmatic figures and a British family who dared to associate with him. It is a tale of vengeance, duplicity and loyalty, and of a man whose charisma made him dangerous to the end.
Writing Napoleon’s Last Island from Betsy’s perspective allows Keneally to entertain readers with his trademark verve and impishness. Few can match him as a storyteller * Meredith Jaffe, Guardian (Australia) * He succeeds, with touches of brilliance, in bringing to life characters in more detail than history ever possibly could * Philip Dwyer, Sydney Morning Herald * One of the most enjoyable, high spirited and technically accomplished works of a long career. * The Australian * A typically polished yarn by a grand master of historical fiction. — Max Davidson * Mail on Sunday * Through Betsy, Keneally beautifully resurrects a voice of the sort lost in official versions of history — Claire Allfree * Daily Mail * Immersive and charming . . . Keneally’s Betsy is a vivid, attractive portrait of a young girl brinking on young womanhood and a thoroughly useful device. Through her he can view the emperor clearly – as an absurd figure, a joker, a voracious devourer of food, women, information. But there is so much more here, too. The flora and geography of the island are beautifully evoked, the inhabitants drawn in sharp, succinct strokes . . . a pure pleasure to read. — Nick Curtis * Evening Standard * The outspoken Betsy is a terrific character . . . [There are] some glorious moments . . . lit with Keneally’s trademark impish humour. He is a magpie, as preternaturally inquisitive as Napoleon himself, and the book has a cast of characters to rival Dickens. — Clare Clark * Guardian *
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