Two centuries after the Battle of Waterloo, the French are still in denial.
If Napoleon lost on 18 June 1815 (and that's a big 'if'), then whoever rules the universe got it wrong. As soon as the cannons stopped firing, French historians began re-writing history. The Duke of Wellington was beaten, they say, and then the Prussians jumped into the boxing ring, breaking all the rules of battle. In essence, the French cannot bear the idea that Napoleon, their greatest-ever national hero, was in any way a loser. Especially not against the traditional enemy – les Anglais.
Stephen Clarke has studied the French version of Waterloo, as told by battle veterans, novelists, historians – right up to today's politicians, and he has uncovered a story of pain, patriotism and sheer perversion ...
An Englishman, Paul West, goes to Brussels to work for a French MEP. There he gets an insider's view of what really goes on in the massive madhouse that is the EU Parliament. With the referendum on the horizon, things are even more hysterical than usual.
When the Brexit result comes in, Paul has to make a decision. If he wants to work in Europe, should he apply for a French passport?
But can an Englishman really become French?
Can he sing the bloodthirsty 'Marseillaise'?
Can he even pronounce the word 'Marseillaise'?
And as Paul contemplates his own personal Brexit, the whole of Brussels seems to be going into meltdown ...
He's stuck in an apartment so small that he has to cut his baguettes in two to fit them in the kitchen.
His research into authentic French cuisine is about to cause a national strike - and it could be all his fault.
His Parisian business partner is determined to close their tea-room. And thinks that sexually harrassing his female employees is a basic human right.
And Paul's gorgeous ex-girlfriend seems to be stalking him.
Threatened with eviction, unemployment and bankrupcy, Paul realises that his personal merde factor is about to hit the fan...