This remarkable novel is based on the diary of the author's great-grandmother Leonie Michel, born at the height
of the 1848 revolution in Paris.
Deadly illness and danger stalk her early life and her father, a doctor, faces ruin when he is prosecuted for
treating patients with a revolutionary new cure before he is qualified. But when the Emperor Napoleon III calls
on his brilliant medical skills, Leonie finds herself catapulted into glittering Paris society.
As a blonde beauty of 17, she naturally catches the eye of the ageing emperor and his son and Napoleon
encourages her to become an actress.
Leonie finds herself mixing with celebrated writers, musicians and artists, plus the dashing soldiers of the
Imperial Guard and their gilded women. But her life is threatened when she is kidnapped and held to ransom.
And then France stumbles into war. When the enemy invades, Leonie's circle is torn apart and some of her
closest friends are killed. She flees to England for safety, where she discovers that the exiled emperor is planning
one last throw of the dice.