The novel The Four Feahers (1902) by A.E.W. Mason is about a British officer, Harry Feversham, who resigns (si dimette) from the regiment when it is going to Sir Garnet Wolseley’s 1882 expedition to Egypt to suppress the rising Pasha. Considered a coward (codardo) by his comrades he is delivered (gli vengono consegnate) three white feathers (piume) signs of despise (disprezzo) . Also his fiancée, Ethne Eustace, presents him with the fourth feather and his best friend in the regiment, Captain Durrance becomes his rival for Ethne.
When Harry hears about the first dramatic reports of the British battles, he decides to help his friends. He leaves for Egypt and Sudan, where in 1882 Muhammad Ahmed has proclaimed himself the Mahdi (il prescelto) and has started a Holy War. He is saved by a Sudanese Arab, Abou Fatma, and makes his best to help his friend Durrance, blinded (accecato) by the blow of a gun (scoppio di un fucile). The other friend, Castleton was killed and Trench is kept as a prisoner. Harry succeed in rescuing Trench.
Back to England he goes to see Ethne for one last time as she has promised herself to Col. Durrance. But Durrance goes to Germany to seek cure for his blindness and leaves Ethne free to marry Harry.
Many film adaptations have been inspired by the novel. Among the most famous are the films The Four Feathers of 1939 by Zoltan Korda, Storm over the Nile by Terence Young and Zoltan Korda, Two more recent adaptations with the same title, The Four Feathers were shot (furono girate) in 1977 by Don Sharp and in 2002 by Shekhar Kapur