This is a well-told (plain and clear, rather like the prose of the Duke of Wellington himself) narrative history and it includes some very useful maps. In an original touch there is a friexe above each chapter heading which shows a quotation written in the Great Chiffre Napoleonic code and which is gradually revealed as the chapters go by.
Some of my favourite lines:
- "Captain George Scovell was a Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General ... the title itself seemed to denote 'insignificance'." (C 1)
- "While Massena had kept his mistress at Headquarters ... Marmont, although reputedly one of the most handsome men in Paris, brought no Venus to the field of Mars." (C 7)
- "Sometimes a column of infantry marching across a dusty Estremaduran plain would see the glint of a telescope on a nearby hillside and then catch sight of a silhouetted figure on horseback." (C 7)
- "An intercepted mail ... was taken by Longa, who killed 400 men who escorted it except 12, who, he says, did not show so strong an inclination to leave their bodies there." (C 17)
May 2019; 288 pages