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  • Writer's pictureGareth Williams

Research isn't always dull!

As my book, Needing Napoleon is currently being printed, I thought I should acknowledge some of the sources I used in writing it. As a novel set in a particular historical period, I was keen to get the detail right. Now, I'm sure there will be some forensically-minded people out there who will let me know where I fell short. That's their prerogative and the errors are down to me.

The resources I used were various but they had one thing in common, the authors and compilers were meticulous experts.

I wanted to read some accounts of the battle of Waterloo which features heavily in my book. I did know a bit already but you know what they say, a little knowledge is a dangerous thing!

I'm not going to turn this blog into a list. Instead, I'll just single out one or two sources today and cover some more in subsequent posts.

Today, I want to give a big shout out to Max Gallo. He wrote a quartet of novels based on Napoleon's life. More than that, he brought Napoleon alive by taking us inside his head, recreating Bonaparte's thoughts.

Even translated into English they are a great read. I should acknowledge William Hobson who did a masterful job of rendering them into English.

The books are called:

Napoleon: The Song of Departure

Napoleon: The Sun of Austerlitz

Napoleon: The Emperor of Kings

Napoleon: The Immortal of St Helena

Gallo wrote over 100 books and sold hundreds of thousands of copies before his death in 2017. He was the son of Italian immigrants and I wonder if that is what attracted him to the Corsican outsider making a life for himself in a new country? That might be fanciful, he was an historian (and novelist, and politician). Anyway, he inspired me!

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