Synopses & Reviews
The spectacular sequel to The Battle,
winner of the Prix Goncourt and the Grand Prix Roman de l'Académie Française, this stunning second volume of Patrick Rambaud's Napoleonic trilogy opens in September 1812 with the French army at the gates of Moscow. Exhausted and demoralized, they are only a quarter of the 400,000-strong force that crossed the river Niemen three months before. But the sight of this famous city feels like a triumph and a chance, at last, to enjoy a conqueror's spoils.
Napoleon rides to the Dorogomilóv Gate expecting to be met by city elders bearing tokens of surrender, but no one appears; Moscow has been evacuated. Oblivious to their predicament, Napoleon sends to Paris for comic novels and imagines that it is only a matter of time before Tsar Alexander sues for peace. Finally, a month later, Napoleon gives up and the Grand Armée begins its tragic retreat. The French will endure their most brutal test as they lose over twenty thousand men due to fighting, the cold, and starvation.
With the same pulse-quickening dramatic power he showed in The Battle, Rambaud brings this disastrous campaign to brilliant, near-hallucinatory life in The Retreat.