Today I welcome France Book Tours back to the blog with a historical fiction novel set during the last campaign of Napoleon at Waterloo. I invite you to read my review, learn a bit about the author, and enter to win your own copy (open internationally).
The historical novels that I seem to enjoy the most are the ones that provide the most rich detail about the period in which they are set. David Ebsworth’s novel about The Battle of Waterloo is one such novel. It is the story of Marianne Tambour who is the canteen mistress to Napoleon and his troops. She rides around camp with a barrel on her hip, doling out brandy to the Emperor and his men. The camp is a dangerous place and an especially harsh environment for a woman. Marianne must stay alive, carry out her duties as canteen mistress, and also try to keep her daughter safe.
Ebsworth makes the camp and the battlefield come alive for the reader. The scenes are bloody, and raw and realistic; we feel the awful circumstances of soldiers marching, living in camp and dying in battle. This period in French history is also very complex and the author is able to sort out the various sides of this conflict for us. Napoleon has been in exile after being deposed and the Bourbon king, whom the characters in the book call “Fat Louis” has been on the throne for about a year. But when Napoleon manages to call up a few hundred thousand troops, Louis immediately flees and the country is once again divided along various political alliances.
It is also worth mentioning that the author includes several detailed maps of the battlefield and troop movements at the end of the book. Once again, this is a detail that is not only impressive, but will be very much appreciated by readers who like a visual outline of the routes that are mentioned in the narrative. Ebsworth also gives us a glossary of French terms which I found most helpful in deciphering some of the vocabulary that he uses throughout the text.
Ebsworth provides us with strong female characters that we want to see survive amid a horrible and futile battle. If you are in search of a historical fiction novel that brings to life Napoleon’s last battle and the volatile political scene of 19th century France, then I highly recommend THE LAST CAMPAIGN OF MARIANNE TAMBOUR.
About The Author:
David Ebsworth is the pen name of writer, Dave McCall, a former negotiator and Regional Secretary for Britain’s Transport & General Workers’ Union. He was born in Liverpool (UK) but has lived for the past thirty years in Wrexham, North Wales, with his wife, Ann. Since their retirement in 2008, the couple have spent about six months of each year in southern Spain. Dave began to write seriously in the following year, 2009, and The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour is his fourth novel.
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The author is generously giving away 5 copies of the book. Winners will be able to choose print or kindle versions. The giveaway is open internationally. Please click on this Entry-Form to participate in the giveaway.
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13 responses to “Review and Giveaway: The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour by David Ebsworth”
Hello Melissa – and thanks for this wonderful review. I’m obviously happy to pick up any queries or comments. How’s Connecticut today?
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I really enjoyed your book! Thanks so much. Connecticut is cold today and we are anticipating another 12 inches of snow tomorrow!
ANOTHER 12 inches???? Oh, my goodness. Well, hopefully it won’t last too long and spring’s only just around the corner now. But we’ll be back in Spain next week so looking forward to some early sun 🙂
Oops. That’s the boat talking. Sorry. But wonderful review, all the same!
I’ve never read anything that featured Napoleon – this will be a first for me. I love exploring new-to-me pockets of history.
Thanks for the chance to win, and for offering to ship internationally.
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It’s an interesting period, Debbie – the start of “modern Europe” – but you’ll need to let us know what you think! Napoleon appears in Marianne only as a secondary character but he’s a fascinating personality. There are few people in history who inspire such WILDLY different opinions. Military genius? Heartless tyrant? Loving father? Mysoginist demagogue? Betrayer of the French Revolution? Father of modern European justice system? Very complicated – but great fun!
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thanks for this wonderful review. You managed so well to capture the greatness of this unique historical novel!
I’m so fascinated with reading this book. As devastating as Waterloo was I can’t imagine a woman being in the midst, especially with her children there. Thanks for the. Post.
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com
Hi Carol. Well, I have to come clean here and confess that I don’t know of cantinières actually at Waterloo with their kids. But it wasn’t uncommon. I was inspired to write “Marianne” when I read a factual account of Madeleine Kintelberger, who served with Bonaparte’s 7th Hussars during the Austerlitz campaign and was caught up in fighting against the Russian Cossacks while protecting her children (three of them!), who were also with her on the battlefield. Her husband had been killed by cannon fire and Madeleine held off the Cossacks with a sword that she had picked up, losing her own right arm in the process. She was slashed by sabres and speared by lances during the same engagement, as well as shot in each leg. Yet she was also eight months pregnant with twins. It seems nothing short of a miracle that she survived at all. The Russians took her prisoner and she eventually returned with her children to France, where she was received in person by the Emperor and awarded a military pension. But the most astonishing aspect of all this was the fact that Madeleine was only one of hundreds of women serving in such positions in the French army’s front lines, many of them with similarly incredible tales to tell and yet largely ignored, both in fiction and non-fiction alike. And many of them, factually, did not survive the carnage of Waterloo.
Well David, I’m so gld you decided to write this story. 🙂 Looking forward to reading it.
Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com
Yes, I’m glad too! I still think about the characters a lot 🙂