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The Kappillan of Malta (Cassell Military Paperbacks)

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  34 reviews
As bombs pound Malta to dust, Father Salvatore--a simple priest, or kappillan, serving the poor--finds himself caught in the drama of World War Two. In the fragile safety of catacombs revealed by the explosions, he tends to the flood of homeless, starving, and frightened people seeking shelter, giving messages of inspiration and hope. His story, and that of the island, unf
Hardcover, 503 pages
Published March 1st 1974 by William Morrow & Co
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Strikingly powerful novel about a Catholic Priest (Kappillan) on Malta, wrestling with his faith, his family and World War Two. Father Salvadore's homilies to the community sheltering from Italian and German bombing in the catacombs take the form of histories of the islands during some of its greatest trials. Labeled "Hexamerons", after the six parts of Genesis, it would be insulting to call them Michener-esque (Monsarrat is the far better writer), they begin in 1500 B.C., threading through St. ...more
Helen Strobridge
Whilst spending the winter on Malta I sought out some books set there. This is quite a struggle to read at times, telling not only a story of Malta under siege in WWII, but also extracts from various earlier periods in its history. However, as Malta has had such a long, complicated & dramatic history it is quite an achievement to get so many historical events in to one book.

After a slow start I really got into the WWII part of the story, which spells out just how horrific life on Malta was
Brandon Camilleri
Never will a story be told in so gripping a way. Never will history spanning millennia be so cleverly intertwined to delivery doses of courage to a population so horrendously stricken by war as the Maltese population was at the time. Never ever! Read more.
Gijs Grob
The tiny state of Malta is not blessed with too many novels taking place on its islands, but with 'The Kappillan of Malta' it at least has its very own "Great Maltese Novel", for Monsarrat does not only tell of the title priest, he has clearly tried to squeeze the history of Malta, its people and their spirit conveniently into the novel, often too obviously so.

The novel follows Father Salvatore, a priest who takes care of the war victims, on six eventful days during World War II, in which Malta
Jeanette Hall
Fascinating story of a priest on the Island of Malta during the war - I really couldn't put this book down. Having been to the Island, it really bought it back to life for me
Having been to Malta and interested in its history this book is very good read and very enlightening about a very bad time in Malta's history.
Malta is a fascinating island with a long history. One thing that stands out is the ability to resist annexation or to recover from it. In this novel, Malta’s history is retold.

The structure is quiet interesting: the frame story tells how the author found out about the story he is telling. Then there is the actual story, which re-tells six days of the Kappillan in World War II, when Malta was bombed by the Italians. At the end of each day, the Kappillan finds his way into the catacombs, the shel
I enjoyed reading this book. It was different from the usual stuff that I am drawn to. The book has two threads. One is about the WWII siege of Malta, told through six important days in the life of a local Catholic priest. The other thread is a history of Malta, told through six pivotal moments in her history, when personal bravery made a difference. Well constructed, good characters. Long.
A perfect read for anyone visiting Malta, which I was fortunate to visit. The author clearly knows the place; his descriptions of streets and scenes was terrific. But even more interesting was the weaving of plat around religion, history, family, love and war. The touching scenes made me cry.
Apres avoir vu ce livre dans tous les magasins sur Malta au mois de Mars, le temps était finalement venu pour le lire. Un vrai soap-opera de la deuxième guerre mondiale, ce «Great Maltese Novel » des années 70 est divertissant et séduisant pour tous ceux qui s’intéressent pour Malta.
This is a wonderful multifaceted book which on one level tells the story of an old Maltese family and on another tackles two aspects of Malta's history, (a) the procession of nations which sailed to Malta and took up residence there from earliest times to WWII, and (b) the island's tribulations throughout WWII in a very readable way. I've read it four times in the last 10 months or so - but then I'm going to Malta for the first time soon. It does take a while to see the author's over-arching pla ...more
At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like this book. It's quite wordy, and goes into a lot of detail that at first seems irrelevant. However, as it went on, I started to really want to know what was going to happen to the characters, and quite enjoyed it by the time it was over. The book takes place in Malta during WWII, and often reads like a history of the war. Since I like history, it's made me interested to know the facts of how the war affected Malta, which I knew almost nothing about bef ...more
Jim Vuksic
First Published in 1973, "The Kappillan of Malta" quickly became an international bestseller.
In this story about a Catholic priest, referred to as a kappillan, on Malta during the first two years (1940 - 1942) of World War II, the author effectively captures the inner conflict, frustration, and despair of a man valiantly trying to shed his aristocratic background and focus upon serving and protecting the poor, terrified population of this tiny island nation at the height of Nazi Germany's power
I read this book about four or five years ago. I felt like reading it again which is unusual for me to want to read a book again. I could not remember the title-just the story. Somehow I happened on a website for a bookstore in Malta that listed the e-mail address so I contacted them to ask. They suggested a title and sent me to another website and surprise...I found it under a list of OTHER recommended books! Can't wait to pick it up again. Hope I am not disappointed.
Niall Fitzpatrick
There are few places in the world with so much history crammed into one place and this book is a very enjoyable narrative that helps understand that heritage without getting bogged down in any one historical period. As a reader it's easy to place yourself in the catacombs amongst those seeking refuge from the constant bombing and being comforted by the humble Kappillan recounting stories of ancient and recent trials that little Malta has survived. A very rewarding read.
A fascinating book, well written telling three stories:
1) the smuggles of a priest with a deep faith, an amazing compassion and enduring the physical and spiritual difficulties only a saint person can overcome
2) the grueling siege of Malta of WW2 thru the lives of a Priest and very different characters
3) the history of Malta, destined because of its geographic position to the the object of superhuman struggles,
Read this soon after its publication and a series of excellent reviews.
Several stories in one: the priest himself, with his difficulties of faith and belief is a lovely, fascinating character. There is the WWll battle for Malta, graphically described, and explaining the Island's receipt of the George Cross. And the stories told by the priest to keep up morale, telling of Malta's difficult past.
Well worth persevering with.
A colleague of mine recommended this book. The story has many interesting aspects, including a great deal about the history of Malta. The hero is a priest who is a devoted shepherd of the terrified residents of the island during World War II.

The writing is crisp and descriptive.

Where I got unsettled was with some anti-Jewish overtones the author inserts when telling some of the story.

Brenda Funk
Wonderfully written, fascinating story-telling! Especially good to read if, as I did, you spend a little time in Malta. Never knew of the crucial role the little island played in WWII, not to mention in many conflicts before this. Great historical novel, written by one who was there, based on fact. Loved it.
A wonderful retelling of Malta's incredible history told through the eyes of a beloved parish priest who tirelessly served the ordinary citizens of Malta, giving them hope when all appeared hopeless during the dark and wretched days of WWII.
John Hammer
Read this book after a short stay in Malta. Interesting way to tell the history of Malta, though it is quite slow moving. The main character is almost too finely crafted and the main plot plods along through some pretty bad times in Malta's WWII history.
Joe Borg
A very good book by a non-Maltese offering a kaleidoscope on Maltese history , this book is a must for all persons wishing to get to know about the Island and its people. If I had known about its content I would have read this book.
A good story that stays with you. Doesn't have a tidy ending, but lots of connections are made. Really brought back Malta for me.
This is a well written, literary book, not a quick read. It needs and deserves to be read properly.
a gift from a friend during a holiday on this remarkeble island. you see it everywhere in bookshops and it is wwll prose in the best classic tradition with an old school romance and a lot of history in it.
This is an excellent book that brings World War II in the Mediterranean to life. Being Maltese it was fascinating to 'see' what Malta and the people went through at that time. Highly recommended read.
Gisèle Bakondy
An outstanding book by Nicholas Monsarrat, especially if you like historical novels. It is amazing what this little island of Malta had to endure throughout history.
Sandy Voegtlen
This novel was good in places and painfully slow in others. However, it has sparked my interest in reading more about Malta.
Ruth Arlow
One of the most beautiful books I've read in a very long time - Dun Salv is a character of such strength and humanity!
Joe Pace
Monserrat got the Maltese character and political scene during the Forties exactly right.
Margaret Boehm
Wonderful story of the war and how a priest survived through trials
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Born on Rodney Street in Liverpool, Monsarrat was educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge. He intended to practise law. The law failed to inspire him, however, and he turned instead to writing, moving to London and supporting himself as a freelance writer for newspapers while writing four novels and a play in the space of five years (1934–1939). He later commented in his autobiograph ...more
More about Nicholas Monsarrat...

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