Napoleon's Last Island

A Novel

Napoleon's Last Island

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.”
  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 432 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501128431 | 
  • September 2017
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Read an Excerpt

More Books from this Author

Crimes of the Father
Shame and the Captives
The Daughters of Mars
The Atria Summer 2013 Beach-Read Bag

About the Author

Thomas Keneally
Photograph © Newspix via Getty Images

Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published thirty-two novels since, most recently Shame and the Captives and the New York Times bestselling The Daughters of Mars. His novels include Schindler’s List, which won the Booker Prize in 1982, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, and Confederates, all of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also written several works of nonfiction, including his boyhood memoir Homebush Boy, The Commonwealth of Thieves, and Searching for Schindler. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney, Australia.

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