le quattro piume

The Four Feathers  is about the adventures of a British officer, Harry Feversham. who resigns from his Regiment when  – in 1882 – the british army was sent to Egypt to suppress the rising (ribellione) of Arabi Pasha. His  comrades deliver him (gli fanno avere) three white feathers (piume) which mean cowardice (significano codardia) and he also loses support (perde l’appoggio) of his Irish fiancée, Ethne Eustace, who presents him with the fourth feather. In order to redeem himself (redimersi) he travels on his own (da solo) to Egypt and Sudan, where in 1882 Muhammad Ahmed proclaimed himself the Mahdi (Guided One) and raised (sollevato) a Holy War. There, with the aid (aiuto) of a Sudanese Arab, Abou Fatma , he helps his ex-comrades: he sends back to England Durrance  – now blind for a sunstroke – and gets Trench free escaping with him from a prison. Back to England Harry’s honour is restored and Col. Durrance, now engaged with Ethne, leaves to the East  to let Harry and Ethne marry.  The films adaptations  – 1939 by Zoltan Korda and  2002 by Shekhar Kapur –  were inspired by Alfred Edward Woodley Mason‘s homonimous  adventure novel (1902) considered his masterpiece. A. E. W. Mason (1865–1948), was a military and a politician, who started his career as a novelist with A Romance of Wastdale, in 1895. His literary successes include At The Villa Rose (1910), a mystery novel in which he introduced his French detective, Inspector Hanaud;  The House of the Arrow (1924), No Other Tiger (1927), The Prisoner in the Opal (1929) and Fire Over England(1937). He also wrote plays for the theatre and contributed a short story, The Conjurer, to The Queen’s Book of the Red Cross.