Soldiers in historical clothes during re-enactment of battle during Napoleonic war

Napoleon: The Emperor of Kings, by Max Gallo

From the cover it looks like a great historical read, but once into the book it was quite different.

Publisher:Pan Macmillan Ltd, London 2004
Characteristics:421 pages, ; 24 cm.
Source:Street Library, returned.

The book covers Napoleon’s life from January 1806 to June 1812. The Napoleonic wars went much longer from 1799 until 1815. Napoleon: The Emperor of Kings is volume three of a series of four.

Napoleon, The Emperor of Kings –

I was expecting an historical novel that would be an excellent learning exercise, but I didn’t like the writing style at all, the reader feels very disengaged from what’s occurring in the text. The characters seem to speak in the third person throughout the novel. Perhaps something has been lost in translation from French to English.

The locations jump about and are at times hard to follow. There are no maps of the areas mentioned, battle locations or routes followed; and this would have made it more interesting.

There is a glimpse of what Napoleon was like; he thought he was helping out his fellow man with leadership and control. Napoleon sees himself as the absolute emperor and leader, which is reflected in the book title The Emperor of Kings.

The text contains many cited letters and presumably they are what Napoleon actually wrote. Many are to his wife and lover, and one gets the impression that even a powerful man like Napoleon felt insecure with his close female companions.

It was a tedious book to read and it never really engaged my interest despite sticking with to the end. Maybe if I had more background knowledge about the Napoleonic era it would have been a better read.

So it’s back to the community library with it and no more Napoleon by Max.

Featured image: Photo by Dmitrii Fursov from Pexels

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply