In 1789 with the French Revolution impending Alais St. Blols dueled with and killed a young nobleman whose fiancee's picture had been presumably maligned by a young corsican named Bonaparte. Alain kept the picture of the red-haired Marquiac, cought her through the turbulence of the Reign of Terror, and foiled the threats to her life. For her Alain betrayed his ideals and his country. Later the allegiance to Napoleon became violable and Captain St. Blois lost his life as a desperate expression of remorse and shame. The novel moves through France, Italy and Vienna -- through assemblies, brothels and battlefields -- and through the lives of Napoleon and his saucy Josephine, the courageous but immoral Hortenne, and the compatriots of Alain. Mr. Donath's first novel The Lord is a Man was reviewed favorably. Vivacious, scopic, as the author neglects portraits in favor of history.