The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars have fired the imagination of many notable historical novelists during the 20th and 21st Centuries. One can speculate what has inspired novelists and their readers.
- Perhaps it is the escapism of delving into a historical period that is just far enough back in history for it clearly different from the present without being a totally foreign to the modern person.
- Perhaps it is the titanic struggle between two long-standing national rivals, Britain and France.
- Perhaps (for modern Britons) it is a chance for exploits of daring do against the old enemy, France.
- Perhaps (again, for modern Britons) it is a chance to explore a historical period elevated Britain from a middle ranked international power to a global super-power (a position it was to retain until well into the 20th Century).
The sample novels listed below are united by swash-buckling adventure stories against the backdrop of the international struggle of 1792 to 1815.
In most cases, the sample novels are not stand-alone stories but entire series of novels reflecting the insatiable demand of readers to consume such literary fare.
|Death to the French(aka Rifleman Dodd)||Type||Novel|
|Overview||Tells the adventures of a fictional British Rifleman (Matthew Dodd) who is cut off from his regiment (95th Regiment of Foot) during the British retreat to the Lines of Torres Vedras during the Peninsula Campaign (Napoleonic Wars) in 1810. During his adventures, Dodd participates in the Guerrilla Campaign fought by the Portuguese against the French invasion. The novel also recounts the experiences of some of the French soldiers participating in this invasion.|
|Overview||Fictional story centring on an 18 Pounder Bronze Cannon, abandoned by Spanish forces retreating from invading French forces during the Peninsula Campaign (Napoleonic Wars), that is used buy a succession of guerrilla leaders against the French.|
|Horatio Hornblower Series||Type||Novel (Series)|
|Overview||Adventures of a fictional Royal Naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars and later. Reading in chronological order, the series begins with Hornblower as a sea-sick midshipman who rises progressively through successive naval commands – from individual ship commands and to command of naval squadrons. Following the Napoleonic Wars, Hornblower became Commanding Admiral in the West Indies and later Admiral of the Fleet.|
|Lord Ramage Series||Type||Novel (Series)|
|Overview||Adventures of a fictional Royal Naval officer during the Napoleonic Wars.|
|Bolitho Series||Type||Novel (Series)|
|Author||Alexander Kent (Douglas Reeman)|
|Overview||Adventures of two fictional Royal Naval officers (Richard and Adam Bolitho) from the American Revolutionary War, through the Napoleonic Wars and later.|
|Aubrey–Maturin Series (‘Master and Commander’ Series)||Type||Novel (Series)|
|Overview||Adventures of a fictional Royal Naval officer Jack Aubrey and his friend Stephen Maturin (ship’s surgeon, naturalist, and secret agent) during the Napoleonic Wars.|
|Sharpe Series||Type||Novel (Series)|
|Overview||Adventures of a fictional British army officer before, during and after the Napoleonic Wars. Over the course of his life, Richard Sharpe rose from a penniless army recruit, to sergeant, to commissioned rank.|