Waterloo 203 years on


Waterloo 203 years on

The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18th June 1815, 203 years ago today. A French army under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte was defeated by two of the armies of the Seventh Coalition: an Anglo-led allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and a Prussian army under the command of Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Prince of Wahlstatt. This resulted in Napoleon's exile to the remote island of Saint Helena and an unambiguous end to the First French Empire and the political and military career of one of the greatest commanders and statesmen in history.However, the victory at Waterloo was a narrow one, and perhaps should have belonged to the commander of a superb army of 128,000 troops with only seven losses amid the 60 battles he had fought.

In her new novel, False Lights, K. J. Whittaker imagines what might have happened had Napoleon emerged victorious from that fateful battle.

On 18 June 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte won a narrow victory at the battle of Waterloo. Europe was immediately catapulted into uncharted territory.

Bonaparte left the Duke of Wellington's defeated army in Brussels and marched his own troops to Ostend. Those who survived the two-day ordeal forcibly boarded English transport ships waiting for Wellington's men.

Sailing past the English blockade under false colours, Bonaparte landed five thousand men in Folkestone. With the navy in tatters, many thousands more were soon to land in Cornwall where - after generations of brutal oppression by the English - the Cornish had little choice but to let them pass unchallenged. Promised sovereignty, it did not take the Cornish long to realise they had been betrayed.

Imprisoned in the Tower of London, the Duke of Wellington remained there for more than a year.

In March 1817, he disappeared.

False Lights by K. J. Whittaker is out now in hardback, paperback and ebook.