Henri had a passion for Napoleon and Napoleon had a passion for chicken. From Boulogne to Moscow Henri butchered for his Emperor and never killed a single man.
Meanwhile, in Venice, the city of chance and disguises, Villanelle was born with the webbed feet of her boatman father - but in the casinos she gambled her heart and lost.
As the soldier-chef's love for Napoleon turns to hate he finds the Venetian beauty, and together they flee to the canals of darkness.
'It's a fantasy, a vivid dream... inventive and brilliant' Guardian
'As moving and funny as it is skilful, and reflects the author's formidable appetite for life' Sunday Times
'A book of great imaginative audacity and assurance...brilliantly physical (and funny) detail" Times Literary Supplement
'Its concentrated, beautifully detailed prose recalls the diction of fairy tales; its plot incorporates their magic, their shrewd wit and brutality...a deeply imagined and beautiful book, often arrestingly so' New York Times