The King of Corsica

Written by Michael Kleeberg
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1736, Theodor von Neuhoff convinced the Corsicans to proclaim him their king by promising to remove the Genoese from their tyrannical rule of the small Mediterranean island. This is a fictionalized tale of the life and times of Neuhoff, who also became involved in political intrigue amongst the European powers. Working as a spy and message carrier, he possesses the “gift of gab,” which enables him to hide his true identity while traveling throughout Europe. His also has a gift for embellishing the truth, which leads him eventually to Corsica—where he tries to realize his long-sought-after dream of obtaining power and prestige.

I found this book difficult to read. Although well-written in a literary style, it lacked the type of storytelling, one combining narrative with dialog, which many of today’s readers expect and enjoy. Likewise, I was unable to develop any compassion for or understanding about the protagonist. Thankfully, the last third of the book became more interesting and more clearly defined Neuhoff, the man. I was also disappointed with the story because it had such an excellent premise: an 18th-century man with limited means who eventually had the opportunity to rule a kingdom.