During much of his life Voltaire's plays and verse made him the toast of society, but his barbed wit and commitment to reason also got him into trouble. Jailed twice and eventually banished by the King, he was an outspoken critic of religious intolerance and persecution. His personal life was as colourful as his intellectual one. Voltaire never married, but had long-term affairs with two women: Emilie, who died after giving birth to the child of another lover, and his niece, Marie-Louise, with whom he spent his last twenty-five years. With its tales of illegitimacy, prison, stardom, exile, love affairs and tireless battles against critics, Church and King, Roger Pearson's brilliant biography brings Voltaire vividly to life.