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Misfit Buddy read with Laura, Sandi & Dawn. No spoilers.


Laura I just finished chapter 2. There are plenty of historical details around the danger of Napoleon's invasion in UK and Spain as well. But as Misfit advised once, it's better to stay away from Wiki.

In the meantime, I'll follow the Moby Dick project which has only 135 episodes.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Im having trouble with names of people the author is throwing in here,as Im not well informed on the Napoleon era/war this is where its not holding me :(


Dawn (& Ron) I found these, thanks to Misfit's link, which didn't work at first, I guess GR was too crowded.

Sandi, this is where I would keep a character list in my notes I keep. Normally it does take a bit to get into the flow of knowing who is who. But don't feel bad, I'll probably have the same problem, so we can discuss and clarify here.


Misfit Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* wrote: "Im having trouble with names of people the author is throwing in here,as Im not well informed on the Napoleon era/war this is where its not holding me :("

That could be a deal breaker. I have enough basic knowledge of the period to hold my interest, but I'd be lost as well. I don't know a whole lot about the campaign in Spain, so I'm look,ing forward to this one fleshing it out more for me. Will it help you if we give you a basic run down? How much do you know about Napoleon?


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* The author isnt really explaining who they are,so I guess Im suppose to know if I knew the time period/war.And I know the "Tablet" is centered around what's going on and its Franks job..but Im starting to skip..


message 7: by Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (last edited Sep 16, 2012 11:57AM) (new)

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Misfit wrote: "Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* wrote: "Im having trouble with names of people the author is throwing in here,as Im not well informed on the Napoleon era/war this is where its not holding me :("

That c..."


LOL! Only the "romance" between Napoleon & Josephine.Ive only read those books by Sandra Gulland and I dont remember much about the politics of it?
It sounds like everyone wants him to fail/lose? And why would Gabrielle become a heiress if he did lose? Wouldnt france be in trouble..Im very confused.


Dawn (& Ron) Your right Sandi, there wasn't much politics in the Gulland books that's for sure, although I enjoyed them. I don't know anything about the Spanish campaign or this 'tablet' mentioned or this Gabrielle. Is she real or fictional?

Could this be one of those books where things don't tie together until late?


message 9: by Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (last edited Sep 16, 2012 12:20PM) (new)

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* The "Tablet" is what the newspaper is called Frank works/part owns for. Its where alot of the "war-talk" is coming from and centered around. I know nothing of the Spanish Campaign either.It seems to be alot of "man-talk" so far..a tad boring for me. And it would help if I knew what the said men were talking about:(


message 10: by Dawn (& Ron) (last edited Sep 16, 2012 12:23PM) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) Oh thanks, I forgot that when I read the intro back when I first got the book.

Some of the man talk or politics can cause ones eyes to glaze over. I wonder if this is similar to other Costain reads, all this political stuff?

I got to go and take care of some stuff, be back later. Hopefully Misfit and Laura can fill in some of your gaps on the Spanish campaign.


Misfit Yes, the Tablet is the name of Frank's newspaper, and I like the inclusion of it. It appears that he's going to break from tradition (publishing what the government wants the people to know), and tell the public what is really going on and the real danger to England from an invasion of Napoleon's army.

At least that's what I've taken away so far. On page 80.

Let's try Napoleon 101 and forgive me if I've messed it up.

First there was the French Revolution in the late 1700s. My history fails here, but during the latter part of the revolution Napoleon gained power and eventually declared himself absolute ruler and set out with his armies to conquer much of Europe.

Sir Robert believes that Napoleon will sail and invade England, and he thinks it is wiser to interfere with France's campaign in Spain, which they believe is an impossible battle for the French to win (Napoleon's armies live off the land, and that won't be do-able in Spain).

That help any?


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Some what..so alot of the French came over to England to "hide-out" so to speak till this was over with?
And are the French not siding with Napoleon? Sir Robert? See..Ive already lost who he is:(


Misfit I believe those of the noble classes that could get out of France did so before they lost their heads. It's just been mentioned that Napoleon is trying to entice them back by restoring their property, but at least Gabrielle's family is having none of it. I've never read Gulland's books so don't know how she portrayed Napoleon, but if she's similar in style to Worth's portrayals of Good King Richard, I'd take it with a grain of salt.

Sir Robert is British, and apparently a soldier of some repute, although not with the kind of public recognition the flashier generals get.


Laura My copy has an introduction by Costain, do you have also?

I studied the French history a longgggggg time ago, lets see if I remember.

By the end of the French revolution, the ancien regime, meaning the royalists, have been replaced by the new regime under the leadership of Napoleon, who was appointed by Robespierre as the commander of the republican army. And then he will start to build the so well known "French Empire".

There are much more historical facts, I wonder if you would mind to take a look at his biography in order to better understand the plot:

Napoleon Bonaparte


Misfit Thanks Laura. One thing I'm looking forward to is it appears that Frank will be reporting on Napoleon's Russian campaign. I learned about that in Anna to name one book. I won't say much now so not to spoil, but it is a fascinating, albeit tragic (for the soldiers) bit of history.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Alot of Historical/War information to take in all at once for me,but thanks Laura for putting it here as I can keep going back to this link every time Im lost:(
Its funny I have no problem understanding The American Civil Wars,or any British History but the French,Spanish,Russian Wars fly right over my head.
Yes my copy has an Intro and I did read it but Ive already forgotten what it contained..so back I go.


message 17: by Dawn (& Ron) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) Laura, yes I have the introduction, which is how I learned that this Frank guy was real, which I hadn't expected.

Regarding Napoleon, correct me if I'm wrong here Laura and Misfit. He rose to fame for his decisive battles, while with the republican army. This brought the spoils of war, and pride, to a much beleaguered France and endeared him to the masses. First he only wanted to regain what France had lost, or felt was rightfully theirs, but this turned into wanting to take over. Basically he became power hungry, the English saw the megalomania and the threat fairly early on.

It's funny I don't remember much of Napoleon in Gulland's books. The focus was on Josephine, so I don't recall the portrayal being one way or another regarding Napoleon, it was more how he affected her life, if that makes sense. The novel The Diamond: A Novel by Julie Baumgold does a good job of showing before during and after Napoleon, as seen by his real life biographer, and how the French people reacted to him.


Misfit I believe Napoleon took control, it wasn't handed to him but I'd have to go and read the wiki page. He definitely gained a lot of fame through his military conquests, I think I read that they are still studied today in military schools.

@ Sandi, I'm a bit further on and things are focusing more on Frank and his newspaper's struggles and a bit less on the politics. Just jump in anytime you have a question and we'll see if we can help.


message 19: by Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (last edited Sep 16, 2012 03:39PM) (new)

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Misfit wrote: "Thanks Laura. One thing I'm looking forward to is it appears that Frank will be reporting on Napoleon's Russian campaign. I learned about that in Anna to name one book. I won't say much now so not ..."

He is going to be reporting,and am I correct his family is not pleased? And Im not getting what Gabrielle's father is about? And are they fighting over "shares" to the Towers?..Im getting lost there on the going ons.
Edit:Am I correct that Frank wants more control..is what Im asking?


message 20: by Dawn (& Ron) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) I'm wondering how confused I'm going to be with some of the stuff Sandi is mentioning. It is character related stuff, not historical that is being asked about, so thanks Sandi for asking these things so I can get a clearer picture when I get started.

Misfit, oh my the Russian campaign! All I can say is Hitler didn't read up on Napoleon.

I do recall something regarding what Laura said about Napoleon being appointed commander of the French republican army. His taking over was when he declared himself Emperor, some say at the urging of others and to solidify France, and then getting power hungry. And yes, his military tactics are still studied today and many believe his loss at Waterloo was more luck than strategy. But then again, aren't a lot of battles.


Laura Napoleon wanted to rule the whole Europe in order to regain the French prestige lost during the persecution of the last royal members by the French revolution. The French Republican period then started with Napoleon leadership but he was very obsessive with his goals.


Laura Perhaps, you could take a look of an overview of the "Ancien regime" in order to better understand the Napoleon's ascension.

Ancien regime.

In the meantime, I'm still looking for my old French history book.


message 23: by Dawn (& Ron) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) Laura, you said it so much more concisely than I did. Essentially it all comes down to him getting too power hungry and biting off more than he could chew. Who knows what might have happened if he would have been content with what he had.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Laura wrote: "Napoleon wanted to rule the whole Europe in order to regain the French prestige lost during the persecution of the last royal members by the French revolution. The French Republican period then sta..."

As in ALL of Europe Laura? Is that why some of the French wouldnt support him? He was getting power hungry & greedy..am I getting a better understanding? I also find there are so many characters popping in out that makes it hard for me to keep track of who is who!


Laura the English saw the megalomania and the threat fairly early on. - I don't believe is very true, not at that time at least.

All Europe misjudged Napoleon's power in the beginning of the New regime. Only after Russia invasion, other countries started to fear his real power and his military habilities.

Forget about Gulland's book, I don't believe she made a very extensive research work and Misfit would agree with this point of view.


Misfit Dawn (& Ron) wrote: "Laura, you said it so much more concisely than I did. Essentially it all comes down to him getting too power hungry and biting off more than he could chew. Who knows what might have happened if he ..."

We are talking known history here, but spoiler warning to Sandi just in case.

(view spoiler)

And Thomas Costain wrote about Napoleon on St. Helena in Last Love.


Laura Alexandre Dumas wrote a book about Napoleon's life: Napoleon Bonaparte. Even Walter Scoot wrote a book about him: Napoleon Bonaparte.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Misfit wrote: "Dawn (& Ron) wrote: "Laura, you said it so much more concisely than I did. Essentially it all comes down to him getting too power hungry and biting off more than he could chew. Who knows what might..."

I do know it didnt come to a HEA ending for him..but I read the spoiler anyways:)


Laura This discussion is becoming better and better....


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Im at the part where Frank is coming for dinner..the romantic in me is hoping for some signs of it:D


Misfit Laura wrote: "This discussion is becoming better and better...."

I think there's going to be a lot in this one for good discussion. Like I said, the Russian campaign and subsequent (view spoiler) makes for serious drama. I like the idea of letting us see it through a newsman's eye, instead of in the thick of battle, but I've never been too hot on bloody gory battle descriptions.


message 32: by Dawn (& Ron) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) Misfit, that is exactly why I was excited when I read the intro. Seeing the direction and how we follow the battle fronts. I too am looking forward to Russia, there could be some memorable scenes there. Bloody, gory is my current book A Long Long Way but it also has humor, heart and humanity in a war novel that I haven't encountered in quite a while. I look forward to hearing Laura's reaction when she reads it. But I do hope this one is not so graphic, I need those images cleaned out of my head.

Sandi, it seems like you are getting a better idea of the historical background, Yes, he bit off more than he could chew and kept wanting more. Sound like someone else we know in modern history? Did you get answers to your questions in msg #19?


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Did you get answers to your questions in msg#19?

No,not really Dawn and Im not writing down stuff anymore as its becoming more of a "project" than an enjoyable read..which for me isnt happening either. I have made it to the 100 page but no sparks of interest are holding me yet...my eyes are roving to my TBR shelf already.


Misfit Sandi, if it isn't working for you you can always move on. Don't stick it out just for us. We'll understand. If you aren't having fun, it just makes trying to wade through it worse.


message 35: by Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (last edited Sep 17, 2012 12:42PM) (new)

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* I had two Dr appt's today(we all know how long those waits are) and I took it with me. Well I read up to page 150(I admit that was with skipping) Got home and tried to curl up with a cuppa tea and try again,and just couldnt do it.I really tried to get into it but its just not working for me. Im leaving it at this spot..and will follow the updates here and maybe it will "spark" something in me to jump back in:(


message 36: by Laura (last edited Sep 17, 2012 02:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura Sandi, I do agree with Misfit, please fell free to stay with us or join us later on. Costain has a unique style of writing by adding a lot of historical background into the narrative.


message 37: by Dawn (& Ron) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) Sandi, ditto to what Laura and Misfit said. I hope you do check in and give your feedback since I haven't started yet, I would love to have your input. I'm finishing up my current read now and should be joining in with the read tonight or tomorrow. I have a lot of updates to do on my current read and some interesting conversations I'm involved with.

Laura and Misfit, are you two liking it?


message 38: by Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* (last edited Sep 17, 2012 07:04PM) (new)

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Laura wrote: "Sandi, I do agree with Misfit, please fell free to stay with us or join us later on. Costain has a unique style of writing by adding a lot of historical background into the narrative."

I love a book with lots of historical background,but this time right now for me its just not retaining it or anything going on or the characters arent coming "alive"and making readin a struggle..Im going to be lurking and hopefuly can swing back in ladies:)


Laura Dawn (& Ron) wrote: "Sandi, ditto to what Laura and Misfit said. I hope you do check in and give your feedback since I haven't started yet, I would love to have your input. I'm finishing up my current read now and shou..."

I do love Costain's books and I'm almost finished the fist part. I'm slowing down until you'll be able to catch us.


Misfit I'm currently on page 182 and enjoying it. It isn't quite knocking my socks off, but there's plenty of potential to get them knocked off later.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* I have a question.. What is the difference between a an Emperior of France and the King of France? Is one more important than the other? Why is the King in exile?If frank was going to try and set up the "King of France at his place..would this not cause a big problem with France & England?


Misfit Sandi, during the French revolution the monarchy was - the right words escape me (and it's late) - replaced by a revolutionary government. Many of the royal family members (including the King and Queen) were executed by guillotine.

I believe the *king in exile* is the man who would rightfully rule France as the heir of Louis XVI if there was still a monarchy in place - since there is/was no monarchy he was a king in name only.

Emperor? I have no answer, but I'd guess the name of King would not have set well with the French who had so recently banished the French king.

I finished book #1, and will take a break with a bit of fluff until I nod off tonight and the rest of you catch up.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Misfit wrote: "Sandi, during the French revolution the monarchy was - the right words escape me (and it's late) - replaced by a revolutionary government. Many of the royal family members (including the King and Q..."

Thanks Misfit..makes more sense.


message 44: by Dawn (& Ron) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) Thanks for giving me a chance to catch up, it will be interesting to see which way I react.

One major difference between an emperor and a king is that a king is technically lower than an emperor. A king normally rules a country and an emperor a grouping of countries. Like when England had India, King George V was King of England and Emperor of India. In many countries emperors are considered God's representative here on earth, think Japan's emperor and how he was handled by the Allies in WWII. Like Misfit said, Napy couldn't declare himself King after recent events. Louis XVI's brother in exile, Louis XVIII, did call him self King while in exile, so there was a King and Emperor at the same time.


message 45: by Laura (last edited Sep 18, 2012 10:37AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Laura Misfit wrote: "Sandi, during the French revolution the monarchy was - the right words escape me (and it's late) - replaced by a revolutionary government. Many of the royal family members (including the King and Q..."

I understand also that "Emperor" means king of several reigns/countries, like Cesar's era when Rome was the central Empire. The remaining explanation of Misfit explains the rest.

I just read Dawn's comment about this question, sorry guys.


Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Dawn (& Ron) wrote: "Thanks for giving me a chance to catch up, it will be interesting to see which way I react.

One major difference between an emperor and a king is that a king is technically lower than an emperor. ..."


Thanks Dawn that clears that up for me.But how did "Napy" just "move" into that role? And were the French happy with him at first?


message 47: by Dawn (& Ron) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) Sandi, glad I could help a little. As I mentioned in msg #17, Napy as I'm now calling him for the stretch of our discussion, or I could do NB, was excepted by the masses. The aristocracy was different but as Misfit or Laura mentioned, he did try to lure them back, French people should live on French soil kind of philosophy.

The French Revolution did not go as smoothly as the US Revolution, the transition of power being a major sticking point. They didn't have the leadership and government put into place, they got rid of their royalty but couldn't agree how to proceed. He brought a stability and a recognition, due to his victories which they hadn't had for awhile, so the people were thankful and saw him as the one to pull them out. I'm not sure where the notion of becoming Emperor came from, him, his counselors or both. I know the French looked up to what America did and that President was thrown in as an option but disappeared rather quickly. Laura and Misfit can fill in and correct anything I've missed or screwed up.


message 48: by Dawn (& Ron) (last edited Sep 18, 2012 08:11PM) (new) - added it

Dawn (& Ron) Can anyone see my updates for this book or if it is even marked as 'currently-reading'? I had problems due to bad weather going through today, they actually sent Ron home early from work. Every time I think I've got something up and posted it then seems to disappear, at least the comments seem to be showing up - I hope.

Update: I'm just going to go back to reading until I know things are working right. I tried an update on this again but only succeeded in getting it to show up as 'currently reading' on my home page. I hope I don't have multiple posts of the same update flooding people's feeds.


Laura Try to close your browser. If it doesn't work, restart your PC. I have a similar problem a few minutes ago since my connection went down for a while.


Laura Dawn, how is it going with your reading?


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