The Rossettis, George Sand, the Brownings- and now Napoleon -- subject for a moving novel told in the words of Laurestan, friend from boyhood. The story comes full circle, opening with Napoleon's death on St. Helena- closing with his departure from France, on the Belleraphon, ready to give himself up again to the English. Between, the story gathers momentum, from remembered boyhood days in Corsica, to the march of triumph which made him Emperor of France. While history records the background, the pulse of the story is in Napoleon's abortive love affairs: his marriage to Josephine, who flaunted her infidelities -- and failed to bear him the child he wanted and brought on herself, too late, the divorce she then found she did not want; his brief affair with Marie Walewski; his loveless marriage to Marie Louise of Austria- and the birth of the son he longed for....Laurestan has told the story almost dispassionately, but through his eyes Napoleon lives, always an heroic figure despite his overweening ambition, the ego which destroyed, the blindness which recognized betrayal too late. If there is place for yet another fictional biography, in a crowded field, this is a good one.