The last cavalier is Count de Sainte–Hermine, Hector, whose elder brothers and father have fought and died for the Royalist cause during the French Revolution. For three years Hector has been languishing in prison when, in 1804, on the eve of Napoleon's coronation as emperor of France he learns what is to be his due. Stripped of his title, denied the honour of his family name as well as the hand of the woman he loves, he is freed by Napoleon on the condition that he serves in the imperial forces. So it is in profound despair that Hector embarks on a succession of daring escapades as he courts death fearlessly. Yet again and again he wins glory – against brigands, bandits, the British, boa constrictors, sharks, tigers and crocodiles. At the Battle of Trafalgar it is his bullet that fells Nelson. But however far his adventures take him – from Burma's jungles to the wilds of Ireland – his destiny lies always with his father's enemy, Napoleon.