On the remote Atlantic island of St Helena, the residence in exile for the past six years of the great Napoleon Bonaparte, that exile is about to end. A secret network of loyal Bonapartists is poised to return the Emperor to Paris while a double will play his part on the island. When the Emperor arrives in Paris, the double on St Helena will reveal himself as an impostor, and Napoleon will reclaim his throne. Disguised as able-bodied seaman Eugene Lenormand, Napoleon sets off for Paris while his doppelganger, the real Eugene Lenormand, wakes up in his Emperor’s bed.
But things don’t work out as planned. Napoleon’s ship changes course and he misses a crucial link in his network of supporters. Arriving, eventually, in Paris, alone and friendless, he meets a widowed melon-seller and the two forge an unlikely but life-changing relationship while Napoleon waits impatiently for his moment.
When his return to glory is thwarted by an unexpected turn of events on St Helena, Napoleon has to find another way to confirm his true identity while finally letting go of imperial dreams.