The Black Count, By Tom Reiss

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Alex Dumas, the mixed-race son of French aristocrat and his slave-born mistress, was born on Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) in 1762.

The charismatic hero of French revolutionary armies, he had the bad luck to fall out with a scheming runt called Bonaparte.

Napoleon did his utmost to scupper his rival. General Alex had good fortune too: first, to father one of the world's most popular novelists, the second Alexandre, who idolised his dad; and now, in Reiss, to find a biographer with the dash and flair both Dumases would cheer.