Colonel Chabert is a hero of Napoleon's army believed to be killed on the battlefield at Eylau. But he has survived, even though he has lost his memory, and spent several years in an asylum. The novel begins when he returns to Paris, to the life he left behind, only to discover that in his absence his life - family, society, identity - has changed. Napoleon is deposited, the aristocracy has returned to power and it is as if the revolution never took place. His wife, believing that he had died, remarried with an aristocrat. Horrified because she pretends she does not know him, and sick of a society that does not recognize his former merits, Chabert tries to regain both his money and his reputation.
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