2.5 out of 5 stars

British Intelligence are concerned about the rise of the Sicilian Separatist Movement and dispatch John Philips to see what he can discover about them. It is a place that he knows well, but in 1947 when he arrives the island is almost at its limit of what it can endure. The population is starving and there is political and social strife. He can almost smell the revolution in the air. Philips has a lot of catching up to do with old friends and is hoping to catch up with the beautiful Marchesina, once an old flame of his. But the pressures of the world are going to make his visit there much more complicated than he envisaged.

The is the first fiction book by Norman Lewis that I have read and I didn’t think it was as good as his non-fiction. I didn’t think that the plot was very strong, but what he does in this book is to make the atmosphere and culture of Sicily come alive and provide an account of the way that the island had begun to change after the Second World War. I had hoped it would have been more of a spy novel, but it wasn’t really. The characters were a little shallow, and there are some interesting characters in the book, in particular, the two Americans.

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