Summary of: Courage, Marshal Ney: Last Stand of the Bravest of the Brave
In June of 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte’s attempts at reclaiming the French Empire are destroyed on the field of Waterloo. In the months to follow, the restored Bourbon monarchy seeks retribution against many of the now-exiled emperor’s former generals. Foremost, they demand that Michel Ney, Marshal of France, who had been called by both enemy and friend as ‘The Bravest of the Brave’, pay with his life.
In December, Ney is tried by the Chamber of Peers, convicted, and sentenced to death, in direct violation of the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the Napoleonic Wars. In a strange twist of fate, Ney finds the unlikeliest of allies in his former nemesis, British Field Marshal Sir Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. Just before dawn on 7 December 1815, with Marshal Ney waiting to be taken away to his execution, the Duke cryptically tells him, “Death is just the beginning.”
Three years later, a quiet and mysterious stranger arrives in Cheraw, South Carolina to take up the position as headmaster of a local school. Loved by both his students and the community, a series of intriguing events will only add to the legends surrounding the enigmatic schoolteacher, who is clearly more than he appears.
Review of: Courage, Marshal Ney: Last Stand of the Bravest of the Brave
James Mace has substantially expanded the legend of Marshal of France, Michel Ney’s non- execution. The famous Marshal was executed by a firing squad commissioned by ultra royalists after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo. Ney was the scapegoat for the loss and had to be executed. But was he really killed? Mace describes a life before and after death. He skillfully tells the story of what happened and what could have happened using flashbacks with real and imagined incidents. His story moves fast and compels to keep reading. I found myself researching people and incidents from the story. Much is pure history, written like a novel and some of the tale may or may not be true. Truth or fiction makes little difference to the tale itself. I loved it as military history, historical fiction and a rousing adventure story.