Les Misrables (pronounced: /le mi?ze?abl(?); translated variously from French as The Miserable Ones, The Wretched, The Poor Ones, The Wretched Poor, The Victims) (1862) is a novel by French author Victor Hugo, and among the best-known novels of the 19th century. It has been described as one of the greatest novels ever written in any language. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters over a twenty-year period in the early 19th century, starting in the year of Napoleon's final defeat. The novel principally focuses on the struggles of the main character, ex-convict Jean Valjean, as he seeks to redeem himself from his past mistakes. It also provides social commentary by examining the impact of Valjean's actions: and it examines the nature of good, evil, and the law, in a sweeping story that expounds upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. Les Misrables is known to many through its numerous stage and screen adaptations, of which the most famous is the stage musical of the same name,.