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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 June, 2005, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Lost Dumas novel hits bookshelves
Claude Schopp and portrait of Alexandre Dumas
Claude Schopp added a conclusion to Dumas' lost work
A newly discovered novel by Three Musketeers author Alexandre Dumas has gone on sale in France.

Le Chevalier de Sainte-Hermine was found in the National Library by Dumas expert Claude Schopp.

The now-completed work, which gives an account of the Battle of Trafalgar, has been described as "indescribably brilliant" by scholars.

The work was first serialised in a French newspaper, but was not finished by Dumas when he died in 1870.

Mr Schopp added a new section to the novel, which acts as a conclusion to the 1,000 page book.

Nelson's death

The finished book closes the chapter on a trilogy of novels, the first of which was penned by Dumas in the late 1850s.

It tells the tale of the French knight, whose brothers were killed in the previous instalments, and finds himself caught between his royalist past and fascination with the Napoleonic empire.

The story gives a full account of the Battle of Trafalgar, which explains that the hero of the book was responsible for the death of Lord Nelson.

Nelson led the English fleet in its victory over the French and Spanish off the cape of Gibraltar in 1805, but died on board his flagship when he was hit by a bullet from an unknown French sniper.

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