Tony Boullemier

Tony Boullemier was born in Newcastle where he trained as a journalist before going to Fleet Street to join the Daily Express, at that time Britain’s biggest-selling daily newspaper.

He moved to Northampton in 1975 to launch his own newspaper – the Northants Post.

Tony and his partners developed the Post into a group of papers and magazines distributing 400,000 copies a week and eventually sold out to an international publishing company.

He still lives in Northamptonshire where he follows many sporting interests and a passion for history that has taken him on visits to more than 50 battlefields – from Naseby to Gallipoli.

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In 2007 he published an historical novel Leonie and the Last Napoleon, set during the heady days of France’s Second Empire.

It is based on the diary of Tony’s French great-grandmother whose early life is beset by deadly illness and danger.

Her father, a doctor, faces ruin when he is prosecuted for using a revolutionary new cure before he is qualified.

But when the Emperor Napoleon III calls on his brilliant medical skills, Leonie finds herself catapulted into glittering Paris society.

As a blonde beauty of 17, she naturally catches the eye of the ageing emperor and his son and Napoleon encourages her to become an actress.

Leonie finds herself mixing with celebrated writers, musicians and artists, plus the dashing soldiers of the Imperial Guard and their gilded women.

But when France stumbles into war with Prussia, her circle is torn apart and some of her closest friends are killed.

She flees to England for safety, where she discovers that the exiled emperor is planning one last throw of the dice.

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Renowned historian, the late Richard Holmes, called the book “A racy tale about a fascinating period”. And newspaper reviewers have described it as “A rollicking good read” and a “Swashbuckling saga”.

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In 2014 Tony published The Little Book of Monarchsdescribed as “English history with a smile on its face – and the occasional shudder”.

He wrote it in response to the way history teaching in our secondary schools is being squeezed off the curriculum in favour of newer subjects and earlier concentration on pupils’ GCSE choices.

Tony deplores the way history is now taught as ‘topics’ and believes students should be given a joined-up course, telling them exactly how our monarchs have taken us to where we are today.

He focuses on every king and queen since 1066 with a cartoon for each one and aims to encourage all ages to read further into their amazing lives.

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Well-known TV historian Suzannah Lipscomb says the book is “A wonderfully accurate and fascinating little guide.” Teach Primary Magazine says: “It’s a gem. A master class in summarising.” And UK Ed Chat, the teaching website, says it should be “Welcomed in schools across the kingdom.”

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