Exactly two hundred years ago today Napoleon, exiled after his defeat by the Allied powers, took ship from Elba. His flotilla of half-a-dozen small vessels was led by the 300-ton 16-gun Inconstant, painted to resemble an English ship. He slipped away while his British jailer, Col Sir Neil Campbell had taken a few days leave to socialise on the Italian mainland.
Napoleon had been permitted a small army -- more a glorified honour guard -- to accompany him to his exile in Elba and this force, a little over a thousand men, was all he had to drive the Royalist armies out of France and regain control of Paris.
Between the end of February and the beginning of June, Napoleon was to achieve the near impossible. The adventure that was to culminate in the Battle of Waterloo began with that voyage from Elba.
Today I'm starting my own countdown to Waterloo and the publication of Burke at Waterloo, which sees my eponymous hero at that battle. Accent Press have a beautiful cover for it, which I'll be showing off here at the beginning of next week.