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Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Illustrious Dead

In the spring of 1812, Napoleon was at the height of his power. Forty-five million called him emperor. Unstoppable in his relentless pursuit of territory and authority, he held sole command of a nation that was the richest and most potent on earth, the most cultured, the furthest advanced in medicine and science and technology. In that fateful year, Napoleon turned toward Moscow at the helm of the largest invasion force in the history of mankind.

His army was a thing of martial beauty, honed by constant warfare and superbly led. No army on earth could stop Bonaparte from conquering the world. But there was something waiting in the Russian steppes that would test Napoleon to his limit and bring his dreams of a world empire to a shocking close. It was not a brilliant general or an unseen alliance, but the tiny typhus microbe.

"The Illustrious Dead" tells the tale of these two unstoppable historical forces meeting on the road to Moscow in a clash of killer pathogen and peerless army.