I was expecting a dry read, but found myself drawn into an unusual and moving story. Carlo Terzo, an expert on the history of war and battlefield strategy, maintains that its lessons can be applied to life. This belief is put to the test in his unlikely but happy marriage to a Russian emigre princess, his friendship with the young idealistic lovers Fiore and Salvatore and his actions when caught up in the Italian peasants' struggle for land.
'May my husband, Colonel Carlo Terzo, lead a battle of his own, in the open field,' wrote Emma, last of all. Villa threaded the fluttering scraps of paper onto the string, and the wind blew them up into the sky. Only one tore and fell off, coming to rest on the damaged statue of the woman with the spikes of grain in her hair. Only that wish, therefore, did not come true.