On 15 May 1779, the second son of a prominent but impecunious Corsican family arrives at the gates of a royal military school at Brienne in the east of France. Not yet 10 years old, he barely speaks French. A fierce patriot, even at such a young age, French for him is the language of the oppressor - in 1769 France robbed Corsica of the independence it had won from Genoa - and his schoolmates waste no time making fun of him, his accent, his Italian-sounding name, Napoleone Buonaparte... Within 20 years this solitary child has become Napoleon Bonaparte, on the verge of being appointed First Consul of France. As Commander-in-Chief of the Army of Italy, he has defeated Austria and been hailed as the liberator of peoples. Throughout Europe, he is celebrated as the man of destiny, the Romantic hero whose courage and force of will can triumph over all the obstacles set by freedom's enemies... This is historical fiction of the very highest calibre, a compelling and passionate story, wonderfully detailed and utterly captivating.