Fortune is a dazzling, endlessly surprising historical novel that opens the day Napoleon leads his victorious Grande Armée into Berlin after having conquered Prussia in battle. As crowds throng the streets to witness the emperor in his glory, a handful of lives that briefly touch are sprung from their orbits and set on courses that will take them across Europe and around the world—their fates and desires sometimes intersecting—to strange lands in the Caribbean and South America, the Australian continent and Van Diemen’s Land, and back to a Europe now transformed.
A frustrated general in Napoleon’s army, billeted with one of Berlin’s finest families. Elisabeth, a passionate young woman living in that house. The young man with whom she locks eyes through a window as he’s engaged in a sexual encounter at the moment Napoleon makes his grand entrance. An entrepreneur in New World exotica, whose house is the setting for the tryst. A slave from Suriname, Mr. Hendrik, with his resentful white American companion, who have traveled to Berlin to sell a barrel of electric eels for their master. And a lost soul enamored of philosophy in the coffeehouses where students gather, who decides to join Mr. Hendrik and the American on their return voyage.
Through their stories amid war, cataclysm, colliding cultures, and misadventure, Lenny Bartulin imagines the ways that chance and the grand events of history shape the course of ordinary lives.