Clisson and Eugénie

by Napoleon Bonaparte

Read time: about 4 minutes

Napoleon Bonaparte, known for his military conquests, possessed an exceptional skill when it came to writing. A man of 26 who had lived to know nothing but war, his entire life, found refuge. And then, ‘during the years 1794 and 1795, the period following Napoleon’s ventures into literary and political writing, he was to experience the love affair that would inspire the creation of his most ambitious work, Clisson and Eugénie.’ Napoleon wrote this part fiction love story but never went ahead to publish it. Later the fragments were found in different parts of the world. Clisson and Eugénie, here, is translated by Peter Hicks and published by Gallic Books London. The book contains a forward and explanatory notes in the beginning and the end, respectively. These help in understanding the background of the story and the mind of the writer. I would like to thank the publisher for sending me the review copy of this book.

Cover page

The kindle copy I received does not have a cover page but for the readers who intend to buy a copy for their own personal library will not be disappointed. The cover page contains the image of Napoleon Bonaparte and some silver tassels on the cover. This seems to be the approach all the publications take for historical novels.

Since this is not a conventional historical fiction I would have loved to see any other approach to the design of the cover. In spite of this, the cover page is a balanced composition. It is appealing visibly.


The book is about Clisson, a general who is fascinated by war. The first sentence itself gives away the dark side of the brilliant general, ‘From birth Clisson was strongly attracted to war’. The entire book is about the confusing love of life, and fascination with death. This is the plot of the book here.

Clisson decides to let go of the melancholy in his heart and give himself up to the woman he finds his soul drawn to. During the course of the story Clisson changes from a man looking for a quite and meaningful life to being a soldier without a purpose again. The gradual development of the character is not only interesting but also intriguing. It will keep you wanting to know what happens to our hero who had decided to give up violence once.


The story is about Clisson, a man who wanted to be happy but found glory instead. The story follows the life of Clisson who is a general. His heart is filled with melancholy. He is looking out for the beauty that life is and finds himself in love with a girl. What follows is a tragic love story. Napoleon Bonaparte was a brilliant soldier who found solace in reading and writing. Clisson and Eugénie is one of the most well known works of his.

The translation by the publisher is a apt. The background information helps in understanding the story much better, giving the story a context.


The writing is to the point, short and deep. Many readers like it this way. There is a lot of historical and cultural significance to the story. It is a simple short story no less brilliant than Shakespearean tragedy, this story is well translated by the publishers.

Good points

The content is creatively enriched. The characters are distinguished. The language is simple and to the point.

Bad points

The cover page could have been better. There is a lot of explanation in the beginning about the book and the context which may be helpful to some readers while others may dislike it completely.


The book is a brilliant read for those who enjoy tragedies, more so in historical context.

Who do I recommend this to

This book is for the romance readers who enjoy historical fiction. Shakespeare fans are going to love this short story by another significant identity in the history.

Quotable quotes

Like all men, he desired happiness, but he found only glory.

‘Come the morning, this place will be soaked in blood! But as for you, Eugene, what will you say, what will you do, what will become of you? Rejoice in my death, curse my memory, and live happily.’

Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH