In 1807 Colonel Chabert, Napoleon’s beloved commander, is severely wounded in the Battle of Eylau. Taken for dead and buried in a mass grave, he manages to escape and wanders in poverty through Europe for 10 years, torn between life and death, oblivion and consciousness. Finally recovering his memories, he sets out for Paris to search for his wife who had been a prostitute before he married her and to reclaim his possessions. In the several years while he had been gone, his wife – thinking he was dead – had remarried and had two new children. She had also collected his existing fortune. In all, she was pretty happy the way things were. How could our colonel prove who he was? What arguments could he use against his former wife? The story has a surprising number of twists, and poses a number of questions about how our society really works and the analysis of human behavior, character and emotions, is, as usual in Balzac, sublime.