Napoleon Doesn’t Like Being Reminded He Lost
Hey, does anyone remember that bright young Bonaparte kid? Showed up out of nowhere, shot across Europe like a shooting star, had a great career ahead of him, and then BAM! Vanished. Anybody know what he’s up to these days?
Well, he died of stomach cancer on a small South Atlantic island in 1821, and good riddance too, but his family is still around. Honestly, it’s pretty amazing. Napoleon was a dominant presence in European politics for less than two decades, and during that time virtually every member of his family managed to marry someone important. And while the family lost it’s political importance after 1871, its members remain embedded throughout the world. They’re like kudzu. Turn over any leaf or rock in the world and you’re likely to find a member of the House of Bonaparte or one of it’s associated families. There have been Bonaparte politicians and generals and Kings and scientists and artists and revolutionaries, in virtually every country in Europe and quite a few beyond. In this article, I’d like to begin the truly mammoth task of tracing these lines. Going through Napoleon himself and each of his siblings and children, I’ll trace the lines of descent to the present day (to the best of my ability) and note people of interest. Please note this is a non-exhaustive list. Many people are not important enough for any information to be available about them, and many of the one’s who do are so boring that I couldn’t read their Wikipedia page for more than a minute before falling asleep. So think of this as a highlights tour.
TITLE: Sparrow Hill Road
AUTHOR: Seanan McGuire
PUBLISHER: DAW Books
There are some books that I like more each time I reread them; others that I like less. There are some books that I enjoy rereading for years until one day I realize I have no interest in them left; there are others that I’ve been regularly revisiting since I was a child that still reliably bring me joy. Sparrow Hill Road may be the only book that I enjoy exponentially more each time I read. Last night before I went to bed I picked up the book and began reading the first chapter, intending to go to sleep in ten or fifteen minutes. Instead, I found myself so engrossed I stayed up all night reading, finishing the book as dawn broke. This has happened to me before, but never with a book that I’ve read multiple times. Almost despite myself, I find myself realizing that this may be one of my all-time favorite books. Why is that? This blog post will be an attempt to articulate just why I love it so much. I’ll try to avoid major spoilers, but fair warning, I guarantee nothing.
Sparrow Hill Road is a book fairly light on actual plot, but I’ll attempt to summarize. In 1952, a sixteen year old girl named Rose Marshall died in a small town in Michigan, murdered by an immortal man named Bobby Cross. Since then, she has ridden the highways and byways of North America, hitchhiking from Alaska to Yucatan and from California to Carolina. She’s become an urban legend, the subject of stories and songs and tales. Some believe her to be a benevolent figure, a spirit that helps truck drivers and motorists avoid accidents and escape harm. Other stories tell of a frightful phantom that lures drivers to their deaths. Nobody knows the true story. Nobody knows that Bobby Cross still cruises the highways, searching for victims, and that Rose cannot rest until he is stopped.