The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour: A Novel of Waterloo

The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour: A Novel of Waterloo

by David Ebsworth


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781781323212
Publisher: Silverwood Books Ltd
Publication date: 01/15/2015
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

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The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour: A Novel of Waterloo 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
Remarkable Napoleonic historical novel Choosing the unique and often forgotten perspective of women who fought alongside Napoleon, David Ebsworth offers a brilliant fresco of the emperor’s last battle in 1815. Remarkably researched, The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour makes you experience Waterloo on the front-line. A must for all interested in Napoleonic wars and French history in general. Whether one agrees with what he did or not, one can’t but recognize that Napoleon‘s character, life, and achievements are like a humongous fresco. However, it ended in a final disaster two centuries ago, on June 18, 1815. That’s the setting for a fresco of similar proportion: The Last Campaign of Marianne Tambour, where everything is lived and retold through the eyes of two extraordinary women. Some may think that women being part of the army is a modern fact. It is not. And Ebsworth chose to give voice to two of them. Unusual and brilliant. First, it is obvious this historical novel is based on a huge amount of study. As the author explains in the preface (where he sets the larger historical background), it was inspired by the factual account of French Napoleonic canteen mistress Madeleine Kintelberger and Marie-Thérèse Figueur who joined the French Revolutionary army. Just as Madeleine, Marianne Tambour fights while protecting her child Florisette, 8 years old, who is with her on the battlefield. We know Madeleine was even awarded a military pension. The main characters are Marianne Tambour, canteen mistress, who strives to make a living by selling alcohol to the soldiers. And a certain Liberté Dumont, a spy actually working for Fouché, French Minister of Police. The connection between the two women is mysterious for the characters themselves and for the reader. This was a nice added suspense element to the plot, and it took me a while before I started guessing. Everything is seen, lived, and remembered through them. Marianne was already in a line battalion before The Emperor’s exile, so she remembers a lot. Her memories and nightmares allow the reader to be more familiar with what happened in the decades before in French history – great writing technique by the way. Likewise, Dumont has been in Napoleon’s previous campaigns in Egypt and Italy, so her memories lead the reader to more glorious Napoleonic pages. What’s really unique in this book is the feminine perspective. Ebsworth did a remarkable job here with these tough women. A few scenes come to mind: the great opening scene of fight and flight, fueled with female jealousies, the competition between the canteen mistresses, Marianne’s concern for the protection and future of her daughter (and how she will have to fight one day), and even helping a woman give birth practically on the front lines. Marianne adequately represents what the soldiers thought about their leader, she shares their admiration, and sometimes also their doubts. And there are passages on the enemies, the Prussians and the English, doubly the enemy of Marianne, whose nightmares are haunted by an Englishman… The military painting is of course rendered in all its complexity: the violence of the war of course, but also all the money involved, and many details on the campaign, the politics at play, the strategies (including encrypted documents), the topography, the ambiance of war, with amazing passages on the ambiance and the smell. Another brilliant twist is the introduction of some literary characters in the plot.
gaele More than 1 year ago
On the 200th anniversary (2015) of the Battle of Waterloo, David Ebsworth brings a compelling look at the war, the time and two women  who are embroiled in the events.  I was not expecting the depth of character displayed in Marianne and Liberte, nor the compelling perspective that juxtaposes against some of the truly epic battle scenes.   Ebsworth brings a sense of humanity and softness to the very omnipresent threats posed by the ongoing battles, and Marianne, Liberte and their families are neatly woven throughout, moving the sense of time forward between battles and jockeying for position for the next  battle.  What I didn’t expect was to find such compelling characters in all aspects of the story: while I’m not in any way a fan of war and battle strategy, there was a beauty in the presentation of the battle bits that gave the struggle its own flavor and presence, almost creating a  character from the historic events that are the setting of the story.   What emerges is an intimate look at lives as they struggle to move forward and find a sense of safety amidst ever-present danger, as it lies bare for readers the wishes for life, hopes for future and even how to survive after unthinkable events: how those change both  determination and outlook, and whether survival is even possible in the new and changed landscape. Paralleling that struggle for the  ages is the clearly researched, graphically presented and strangely compelling story of the battles and struggles on the battlefield – all  solidly tied to real events, with clear research informing the author’s retelling.   In what is one of the more unique historic fiction tales I have read, Ebsworth has skillfully manipulated fact and fiction with deft characterization, demanding the reader’s empathy and emotional investment in a story that could have easily been a clinical and dry  recount of June 1815.  I received a copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.  
booknerdDS More than 1 year ago
I can't express how much I loved this amazing book, told by an equally amazing author about amazing women! Edsworth took stories of real-life women and included them in this amazing book. I personally don't know much about European history but I enjoyed reading about the horrible struggles at Waterloo. Marianne was an amazing heroine she is worthy of admiration. Liberté was a worthy adversary and the story was filled with tension and triumph. The writing is engaging and I could not put the story down. I was riveted by the authenticity of the story line and also by the bravery of these two fascinating heroines. I found the story and plot rewarding and I highly recommend it to anyone that either likes history or brave heroines.
Melinda_H More than 1 year ago
Ebsworth dispatches the reader to the bowels of The Battle of Waterloo complete with bloodshed, carnage and harsh conditions. His accomplished and vivid writing depicts battle scenes with such a powerful force you’ll visual the mayhem and madness ensuing before your very eyes as well as the remnants left behind – squinting your eyes closed as blood spills from the pages. The drama takes on a life of its own, far from theatrical, you’re as near to combat a civilian can be from the safety of their armchair. Affecting, especially given he explores this historical battle from the ‘rears’ focusing on two incredible female protagonists. The brutality of war is graphic adding to the narrative, the trenches are unkind as we experience in his interpretation addressing mental, emotional along with physical demands battle claims. Selecting two amazing female characters create an unforgettable force. Learning of their experiences, their reasons for joining the campaign, their thoughts and feelings exposed and explored as they are amidst and bear witness to the cruelty and butchery. Ebsworth is detailed covering all angles, an intimate account of females embroiled in battle yet showing their strength and vulnerability as women. “She had simply been Marie, or maybe Anne, back at the beginning. But by the time both she and the Revolution were three years old, the name Marianne had come to symbolise the entire Republic. The folk of Provence sang of “Marianne’s Cure”, a hymn to Liberty and Reason. And there were legends. About the woman of the barricades, wearing red cap and clogs, pike and musket in hand, leading the common people to their destiny.” Masterfully crafted, balanced perfectly between the ravages of battle and the emotional investment the reader with honor the two formidable female protagonists plucking at your heartstrings. Excellent delving into a historical event portrayed from the ‘rears’ through their eyes, actions, sacrifices and suffering, the toughness of women examined and presented in an indelible manner. A grandiose historical event delivered in animated form by a skilled author. Looking forward to more of David Ebsworth’s stellar genius.