The Death of Joachim Murat
1815 and the Unfortunate Fate of One of Napoleon's Marshals
Imprint: Pen and Sword Military
224 Pages, 6.1 x 9.2 in, 8 color illustrations, 8 mono illustrations
- December 2023
This notorious betrayal won them temporary respite, but just a year later Murat engineered his own dramatic fall. A series of blunders took the cavalier king from thinking he had secured his dynasty to fleeing his kingdom. His native France did not welcome him, initially because Napoleon had not forgiven him, then, after Napoleon’s fall following Waterloo, because the restored Bourbons were offering a reward for Murat’s head. Fleeing again, fate brought him to Corsica where, welcomed at last, Murat turned to plotting the reversal in his fortunes he so felt he deserved.
Murat soon resolved to bet everything on a hare-brained plan to return to Naples as a conquering hero and king. His aim was to take a small band of followers, land near his capital, organs regime change and reclaim his throne. In September 1815, he set off and what happened next forms the core of this part-tragic, part-ridiculous story and a lesson in how not to stage a coup. Just five days after landing in Calabria, King Joachim was hauled before a firing squad and executed.
There is a fine line in history between a fool and a hero. Had Murat succeeded then he would be lauded as daringly heroic but, alas, he failed, and his final adventure has been consigned to oblivion. This is unfortunate as the fall of Joachim Murat is the final act of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe as well as being a dramatic story in its own right. Based on research in the archives of Paris and Naples, Jonathan North’s book aims to throw light on the fate of the mightily fallen Murat and restore some history to a tale that, until now, lay smothered under two centuries of fable and neglect.