The title of the book comes from an eighteenth-century anecdote: the capture of the city by Prince Eugène
of Savoy was called the Surprise of Cremona because the governor was caught unprepared, in bed with...
4 May 1702
England declared war on France in the War of Spanish Succession.
13 August 1704
and Prince Eugene
wiped out the French army at Blenheim in Bavaria.