Boulogne, 1805. Napoleon studies Dover Castle through a giant telescope. Behind him stands an army of 167,000 men, superbly trained and ready to invade. Behind them Joseph Fouche, France’s Minister of Police, who attends public executions with human ears dangling from his hat.
Across the Channel, William Pitt awaits the French with the Cinque Port Volunteers, a ragbag force of 3,000 yokels armed initially with pikes and pitchforks. In between sails the Royal Navy, desperately short of ships and men, yet blessed in Lord Nelson with a leader of outstanding ability. All are adamant that English ears must never dangle from Fouche’s hat.
This is the story of the men and women of many nations who fought at Trafalgar, told in their own dramatic words. But it is also the wider story of characters as diverse as Madame 40,000 Men, doyenne of Boulogne’s prostitutes, Captain de l’Ort, Austrian eyewitness at Ulm, and the anonymous but beautiful English blonde who did her best to get Napoleon’s invasion plan out of him at Boulogne. Unaccountably neglected by Trafalgar historians, their tales are all the more fascinating for being very rarely seen in print.
Nicholas Best grew up in Kenya and was educated there, in England and at Trinity College, Dublin. He served in the Grenadier Guards and worked in London as a journalist before becoming a fulltime author.
His comic novel Tennis and the Masai was serialized on BBC Radio 4 and has recently been a best-seller in the Amazon Top 100. The Greatest Day in History, his account of the 1918 Armistice, was a Waterstone's recommendation of the month and has been translated into many languages.
In 2010, Nicholas Best was long-listed for the inaugural Sunday Times-EFG Private Bank award of...
More about Nicholas Best