Have a short discussion with the class about Napoleon. When did he rule? What was he famous for? Why do you think Napoleon is a notable person to include in fiction?
In the novel, Josephine plays billiards, and is said never to lose. Have the students look up the game of billiards and how it is played, and the odds of never losing.
Have the students do a short research project on army life in Napoleonic times. What was warfare like? What conditions did they have to fight under? What are rations? Do we have these same things today?
Venice is a key location in the novel. Have the students check out Venice online, paying attention to the waterway streets and canal lifestyle, as it is an important element in the novel. Try to get them to imagine Villanelle's life in Venice...
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