By Stephan Talty
“Gripping . . . a compelling tale of private hubris and humbling defeat.”
—Jack Weatherford,author of the New York Times bestseller Genghis Khan and the Making of the
In a masterful twin narrative that pits the heights of human ambition and fulfillment opposed to the supremacy of nature, New York Times bestselling writer Stephan Talty tells the tale of a effective ruler and a tiny microbe, antagonists whose fight could form the trendy world.
In the spring of 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte used to be on the top of his powers. Forty-five million known as him emperor, and he commanded a kingdom that was once the richest, such a lot cultured, and complicated in the world. No military may possibly stand opposed to his impeccably expert, brilliantly led forces, and his persisted sweep throughout Europe appeared inevitable.
Early that 12 months, reinforced by way of his successes, Napoleon grew to become his attentions towards Moscow, helming the biggest invasion in human historical past. definitely, Tsar Alexander’s outnumbered troops might collapse by contrast strong strength.
But one other strong and historical enemy awaited Napoleon’s males within the Russian steppes. Virulent and quick, this microscopic foe might deliver the emperor to his knees.
Even because the Russians retreated sooner than him in disarray, Napoleon chanced on his military disappearing, his frantic medical professionals powerless to give an explanation for what had struck down one hundred thousand squaddies. The emperor’s vaunted army brilliance without notice appeared lifeless, and whilst the Russians positioned their very own occupied capital to the torch, the crusade grew to become a determined race in the course of the frozen panorama as troops persevered to die via the hundreds of thousands. via all of it, with tragic heroism, Napoleon’s disease-ravaged, freezing, ravenous males by some means rallied, repeatedly, to cries of “Vive l’Empereur!”
Yet Talty’s sweeping story takes us some distance past the doomed heroics and bloody clashes of the battlefield. The Illustrious Dead delves deep into the origins of the pathogen that eventually ended the potent emperor’s desires of worldwide conquest and exposes this “war plague’s” hidden function all through historical past. A story of 2 unstoppable forces assembly at the highway to Moscow in an epic conflict of killer microbe and peerless military, The Illustrious Dead is a ancient whodunit within which one million lives grasp within the balance.
From the Hardcover edition.