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The Amazons (Amazzoni)

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Original Language: Italian | 382 pp. | Spring 2020

2 Seas Represents: World English, French, Dutch and Nordic rights.

Rights sold: France (Robert Laffont, in a pre-empt), Netherlands (Ambo|Anthos, in a pre-empt), Portugal (Porto Editora)

English sample available

HISTORICAL FICTION | DEBUT NOVEL

AMAZZONI is the fruit of long research by the author on a largely unknown page of Italian history.

In 1940, 13,000 children of colonized Libyans were brought to Italy on Mussolini’s orders, “invited” by him to spend a holiday in their home country – a holiday that was to turn immediately into something very different: the outbreak of war came simultaneously with the children’s arrival in Italy and kept them there well beyond the time established.

In Italian-ruled Libya it’s night-time, there’s a full moon and Sara and Angela, aged nine and seven, see a woman on horseback, magical and majestic as a queen, racing through the desert. They call her simply the Amazon. It is an image that holds them spellbound and accompanies them on the day when, a little later on, they are obliged to go away, leaving behind them their village colony, together with their younger sister Margherita, who is five. A summer in a holiday camp awaits them – three months to get to know Italy and the discipline of the Fascist summer holiday camps.

They are not alone: the order is to bring to Italy the thirteen thousand children of the colonized Libyans aged between four and fifteen. Only one day after they disembark, on arriving at Torre Balilla in Marina di Massa, Mussolini declares war: it is the 10th June 1940. The brief summer holiday thus turns into a long war holiday, which is to last seven years, until after the end of the Second World War. Three Libyan sisters and a childhood broken by waiting, by the desire to return and the attempts to escape. Sara, Angela and Margherita are obliged to grow up obeying the dictates of discipline and propaganda, in a world where there are no longer parents, where their only guide to freedom is the dream of a woman on horseback in the desert and their meeting with a variety of female characters who, in their own ways, are also Amazons.

This is a novel we have loved from the first few lines in which we see the children falling into the orderly rows of the choreography dictated by the regime