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Napoleon's Last Island

Napoleon's Last Island

by Tom Keneally
Publication Date: 02/11/2015
  $32.99

Whilst living in exile on St Helena, Napoleon exerted an extraordinary influence on young Betsy Balcombe. How did she get from Napoleon's side to the Australian bush?

When Tom Keneally discovered by chance at the National Gallery of Victoria that Betsy Balcombe, a young girl living on St Helena while the Emperor Napoleon was exiled there, had become the Emperor's ‘intimate friend and annoyer', and had then emigrated with her family to Australia, he was impelled to begin another extraordinary novel, exploring the intersection between the ordinary people of the world and those we deem exceptional. 

Betsy Balcombe moved as a child with her family to St Helena, ‘that high mid-Atlantic rock of exile'. Ten years later her family befriended, served and were ruined by their relationship with Napoleon. To redeem their fortunes William Balcombe, Betsy's father, betrayed the Emperor and accepted a job as the colonial treasurer of New South Wales, taking his family with him. After enduring a profound tragedy on the voyage out, and never quite recovering from the results of his association with Napoleon, William's life deteriorated; however, his family struggled and survived in Australia. 

Tom Keneally recreates Betsy's friendship with The Great Ogre, her enmities and alliances with his court, and her dramatic coming of age during her years with them on the island. With his ability for bringing historical stories to life in the most brilliant and surprising ways, Keneally vividly shares this remarkable tale and the beginning of an Australian dynasty.

ISBN:
9780857984616
9780857984616
Category:
Contemporary fiction
Publication Date:
02-11-2015
Publisher:
Random House Australia
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
448
Dimensions (mm):
233x151x33mm
Weight:
0.56kg
Tom Keneally

Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 and his first novel was published in 1964. Since then he has written a considerable number of novels and non-fiction works.

His novels include The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Schindler's List and The People's Train. He has won the Miles Franklin Award, the Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Prize, the Mondello International Prize and has been made a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library, a Fellow of the American Academy, recipient of the University of California gold medal, and is now the subject of a 55 cent Australian stamp.

He has held various academic posts in the United States, but lives in Sydney.

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