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The Fallen [Hardcover]

Stephen Finucan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Aug. 25 2009 0670043028 978-0670043026 1st Edition

In the winter of 1944, the newly liberated city of Naples has become an ever more dangerous place. Among those charged with maintaining the military security of the city is a young Canadian, Lieutenant Thomas Greaves. Greaves seems naïve at first, but it soon becomes clear that he has demons to exorcise and that he sees his time in Naples as the opportunity to make amends for a tragic mistake made on the battlefield. But his plans go awry, and Greaves lands in the murky world of gangsters and black marketeers.

Product Details

Product Description

Quill & Quire

The opening scene of Stephen Finucan’s powerful debut novel sets the tone for his story: a donkey lies dying in a Naples street in 1944 under the gaze of two-bit thief and failed doctor Aldo Cioffi. Despite the animal’s suffering, all Cioffi can imagine is how someone will eventually come along to carve up the donkey’s carcass for meat. The animal is a symbol of the city itself. The Allies have recently liberated Naples, but in the resulting power vacuum, corruption, looting, and murder run rampant. The darker elements of Naples society are deciding how best to divvy up what the Fascists have left behind. At the centre of Finucan’s book is a Canadian solider, Lieutenant Thomas Greaves. Greaves is on secondment with the British army after having suicidal thoughts. He is in search of redemption after accidentally ordering that ordnance be fired on a civilian target in the town of Agira. When he arrives in Naples, he gets caught in the middle of a scheme by the thieving Cioffi to steal relics from the Archaeological Museum.  The Fallen unleashes a complex tale of naïvety, bravery, and the attempt to wrest order from chaos. It is populated by a motley cast of morally dubious characters: Greaves’ love interest, the ever-suspicious Luisa; her puttana cousin, Maria; the snivelling and unscrupulous Cioffi; and the vicious gangster Varone.         The author of two collections of short fiction, Finucan has written a rare thing in Canadian literature: a novel in which the tension arises from a deep moral core. As the novel builds toward its climax, it takes on a near-Shakespearean quality: the reader wonders which characters will survive to the final page, and which will perish because of the poor choices they’ve made. Finucan’s style is nearly flawless, and his research into 1944 Naples impeccable. There are no rough edges here: every meticulously gathered detail is integrated seamlessly into his excellent prose. The Fallen will stay with the reader and reward repeated readings.


In The Fallen, Stephen Finucan has recreated 1944 Naples with an historian's fidelity; but Finucan is foremost a gifted storyteller, and it is his depiction of a moral man's plight in an immoral world that makes this novel such a compelling and rewarding experience.

-- Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena

" The Fallen is a wonderful tale, a story that could only be set in a city that is an open secret, and that city is Naples . Best of all, it is a novel that knows the difference between putting too much faith in people, or too little." -- Peter Oliva, author of The City of Yes and Drowning in Darkness

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Short and gritty April 26 2010
Hard to believe you can fit a multi-perspective drama inside of 230 pages these days, but Stephen Finucan manages just that. Thomas Greaves is trying to make sense of his own life and protect the good people of Naples from the relentless, cruel and indifferent corruption of Naples in 1944 after the arrival of the Allies in WWII. We see the Italian crooks who are taking advantage of the chaos and the ordinary people, fools and wise alike, who are caught in the middle. The book's strength is its sense of movement and its solid prose, few if any false notes as the story sweeps along to its conclusion.

As far as the ending goes, safe to say the book is firmly modern and realist in tone, and the ending goes for believability and consistency rather than the shocking surprise, which is likely a good thing. This book deserves to be read.
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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good novel July 11 2011
By JT_Vancouver - Published on Amazon.com
This is a very interesting novel set towards the end of the war. Finucan creates fully realized characters and then challenges them with difficult moral situations. If I had one criticism of the book, it is that there are too many similiar characters and at times it is difficult to distinguish some of the bad guys. But Finucan is very talented and I'd recommend this book to my friends.
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