This is the exciting and vibrant biography of Manuela Saenz, the illegitimate daughter of a Spanish nobleman and Indian of Quito, wife of an English ship trader of Lima, and mistress of Simon Bolivar. The book covers Manuela's life from 1822, when, upon return to her native Quito wearing the Peruvian Order of the Sun as a reward for her work for the liberation, she met and became the mistress of Bolivar -- to her death in 1856. It reads like a romance, and indeed it is -- one of the great romances of history. It is also a great deal more. Mr. von Hagen, whose Documentary History of Manuela Saenz (with the full references which the author cuts to a chronology and partial bibliography in the present offering) is currently being published in Spanish, has given in this book a living picture of the revolutionary period in South America. Here is a vital picture of Bolivar the man and perennial lover, the liberator with his dream of a united Gran Colombia, to which he devoted his life, the strategist. The influence of Roderiquez, Humboldt, Napoleon; Manuela's life and mark on the rebel policy as a personality and informing agent; the personalities and calibre of Bolivar's generals; the conflict against the Spaniards and later of civil forces at variance with the ideal of unity or the means of attaining such unity, all are here. There is nothing pedantic about the style in which the author writes -- every bit of the book is alive and active, though there is some repetition -- but there is sound history here. A highly readable and informative book...as the author says, while it may read at times ""like some baroque romance"", the research behind it is thorough, and the author gives the Liberatress, whose fame society had quietly stifled for a time, her true stature as a very remarkable person, as a force in Bolivar's public and private life.