To rule well is always difficult, but when the kingdoms are Naples and Sicily, the problems are increased a thousandfold. Ferdinand II was capable of this for twenty-nine years--at a time when the influence of the French Revolution was still fresh--and came to be known as ""the Saint"" by his own volatile subjects, (King Bomba by his enemies). In 1861, just two years after his death, his son Francis II was forced from the throne, and the reign of the Bourbons was ended. Before being overthrown by Garibaldi (and others), they faced the continuous perils of an era when best friends became deadly enemies overnight. Bellini, Dumas, and de Lesseps are among the unlikely participants in these hectic events. The last heartbreaking act of the drama witnessed the almost incredible heroism of Francis II and his young Queen Maria Sophia during the siege of Gaeta, where she was both nurse and inspiration to loyal soldiers dying from wounds, starvation, and ultimately typhus. This book completes the author's two-volume history of the Bourbon dynasty of Naples. It is literally crammed with people, facts, and events. It is not easy reading without a fair tangential knowledge of the politics and personages involved, but as a chronicle of one of the most turbulent periods in modern history, it is important and merits serious attention.