The Black Count, By Tom Reiss
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 31 May 2013
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.
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