Reviews for Napoleon’s Drop
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling historical detail and an intriguing plot
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 2 February 2022
As an author of a novel set in the Napoleonic era, I was likely to be a pretty demanding reader of Napoleon’s Drop. I was aware, before reading it, that Michael Fass is something of an expert on his subject.
He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society. So, I expected the book to be the result of in depth historical knowledge. I certainly wasn’t disappointed. I do not think I can recall another novel that so effectively conjures the secret layers of British government in the early nineteenth century.
Not only is the interaction between the Bow Street runners, government departments, East India Company, and the nascent spy service portrayed masterfully, but it also drives the plot.
The characters are so believable, I found myself on the internet, checking whether they were historical figures. A few were but some of the most convincing were the product of Michael Fass’s craft.
I will not give away how things develop but must applaud the way the interests of the United States, the British empire and Bonapartists the world over, are intertwined in the plot.
Not only is this a satisfying story, it is also an opportunity to learn a whole host of fascinating details about the period.
I must confess, on more than one occasion, I wished I had read Napoleon’s Drop before completing my own novel, which also features the former emperor imprisoned on St Helena as a significant element of the plot.
The good news for those who are left wanting more at the end of Napoleon’s Drop, is that the author runs a website dedicated to Napoleon on St Helena, where much more material is available.
“An extraordinarily good read.
The blending of rich, well researched historical material, covering events across several continents, brought together under an eloquently written and suitably pacy storyline makes this a very decent read indeed. Of interest to scholars of 19 century British /American history, fans of the Napoleon / St Helena story and those who enjoy immersion in well developed and totally credible key characters. A highly recommended read in this, the 200th anniversary of Napoleon’s death.”
“Napoleon’s Drop will appeal to those who like a novel that combines intrigue, pace and a bit of history.
In this case, it is all the more interesting because the fiction and the history are so cleverly and seamlessly interweaved. It explores a counterfactual that I had never envisaged. Luckily, Michael Fass had the imagination to see it.
The book centres on the possibility of Napoleon escaping from St Helena. Of course, we all know the Napoleon story – he dominated Europe, was exiled to Elba, escaped, regrouped, was defeated by Wellington at Waterloo and then imprisoned on the remote island of St Helena in the Southern Atlantic Ocean.
End of story….? No! This is only the start of the story! And from then onwards it is difficult to know where the history ends and the fiction starts. And it’s like that to the very last page.
The story starts in St Helena but then criss-crosses between England, the United States and back to St Helena. It touches on the 1812 war between Britain and the United States, the para-state role of the East India Company, domestic politics in post Waterloo Britain and the origins of the UK’s and the USA’s secret services. On top of that it is iced with historical anecdotes, side references and bit of passion and romance.
Michael Fass is a great storyteller. Napoleon’s Drop combines elements of C S Forester’s Hornblower, Erskine Childers’ Riddle of the Sands and John Le Carre’s Smiley novels. A grippingly good read.
And it would make a great film!”
PJ – Edinburgh
“This is a must read for anyone with a love of the history of the Napoleonic era. I particularly liked the way in which the author revealed the identity of the plotters and their various reasons for their anti British skulduggery. The story abounds with colourful characters showing the best and worst of the human character! One is kept in suspense literally until the last page. Well done!”
Perfect Covid lock down reading
“A perfect read during the Covid lock down. Conspiracy, suspense and spy craft following the Napoleonic wars. Fast moving and tense with some fascinating characters and agendas. I have 5 historical books on the go but this was the one which l looked forward to relax with and enjoy the adventure in the south Atlantic.”
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“This is an incredibly genuine and open account of the life of Lt Col Johnny Fass.
The extracts from his diary cut straight through to the emotions felt in the years leading up to the invasion of Normandy.
This book provides a fascinating insight into the excitement and frustration of command. I would encourage anyone looking to follow in the footsteps of Lt Col Fass to read it so that they may understand what being an exceptional leader looks like.”