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The Four Feathers

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  2,765 ratings  ·  165 reviews
This edition incorrectly lists Anthony Hope as the author. The true author of the Four Feathers is A.E.W. Mason.

The year is 1882, and British army officer Harry Feversham has a loving fiancee, the friendship of fellow soldiers, and a promising future in a nation at the height of its imperial power. But before he is deployed to fight in Africa, he resigns his post, receivin
Paperback, 332 pages
Published July 30th 2007 by Classic Books Library (first published 1902)
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Dec 20, 2014 Wanda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Karen and Dagny
8 JUL 2014 -- Call me crazy, but why is this billed as an adventure tale? Seems more of a romance to me or a study of feelings. I love it!

Response to a comment by Dagny: Thanks Dagny. I am at Chap. XIV. So far, adventure has been spoken of and hinted at, but not yet fully experienced. I am positive adventure is yet to come and I am patiently awaiting its arrival. Just the same, I am finding the characters' developing personalities extremely interesting.

I will give away no spoilers; yet, I can s
The Heath Ledger movie makes you think this book is an action thriller. That is false. Mason's work is a look into the emotions and decisions made by extraordinary people.

What war or fighting is described in this novel is described by characters who participated in it, and most of the story takes place in England, minus a couple chapters in Egypt and Sudan. This instead focuses on two characters trying to learn something about themselves- a confused young man who quits the military but must fig
Free download available at Project Gutenberg.

Review is pending....
This has been one of my favorite movies ever since I first watched it on the big-screen, so I decided to read the book just this week when I found it on my shelves.

Wow. The movie is incredible, and so is the book. They're both very different; the movie focuses mainly on Harry and how he atones for his disgrace, but the book focuses more on Ethne and her suffering and poor, sweet Jack.

This is a tale of wonderful friendship and drive, but the character that touched me most was Jack. Jack who sacri
A. E. W. Mason wrote this gem in 1902; it is still the most romantic adventure novel ever written. Made into a wonderful movie of the same name, this story reads even better than it plays on the screen. The prose is limpid, the insights into pre-WWI mores profound, and the settings unforgettable.

Mason makes me believe that we've lost more than we've gained in the century since he wrote. His descriptions of the pre-motorcar (Irish) countryside convince me that we will never see the country the s
I didn't think that I would like this book as much as I did.

Honestly, The Four Feathers was incredible. I was just beginning to think that British literature was becoming dull and then I read this. Just when I think I got out, they pull me back in!

I found that this book isn't well known, and general summaries and information about the book are lacking on the internet, so I'll shake things up. This review will be more of an informational review than my own opinion (of course, I'll pepper my thou
Mike (the Paladin)
I mentioned this book a while back in my review of Beau Geste as also being somewhat dated by the writing style. I have read it before and was never overly enthralled...but I love the story. It's been copied and made into at least 3 movies I know of (1939, 1978 TV Movie, and 2002). So I decided to give it another read with no distractions. I wanted to read it and not have another book going at the same time.

So, I downloaded an audio version from the library.

The book is one written for late 19th
(This was one of Dad's favorites, along with classics Gunga Din and Beau Geste and has become a favorite of mine as well.)
It was written in 1902 and depicts the code of honor among gentlemen during the height of British Empire building -India, Africa-the Sudan and-among the officer military -gents of the finest familes -cowardice was the worst of all possible traits.A trait that dishonored the entire family name. A young fellow born into such a family and raised on stories of past heroics in Cri
Gorgeous. I remember loving the 2002 film when it came out so decided to read this. I'm glad that it has been years and years since I've seen the movie since I was able to come at this piece with only the premise in mind: the rest was an empty canvass waiting for Mason's images and emotions.

Harry Feversham, Ethne Eustace, and Jack Durrance are characters that live within a code and structure of honor that I think is a bit lost on a modern audience. Not that we can't understand its core principl
Joshua Ray
Nota Bene: I can only review the book as someone who had seen the movie first.

That said, the book and the 2002 adaptation are quite different. In setting, in theme, in the portrayal of the characters, and in many other areas they differ quite a bit.

Not that that makes either of them not good. (minor spoilers follow) The movie is a romance, primarily is an adventure story, and takes place primarily in Africa. Harry Feversham (Heath Ledger) is the main character and the focus is on his journey to
Jessie J
Before I start, let me just say that the general review for the book is, I think, more a description of the Hollywood movies.

Written at the turn of the 20th century, this novel of British Empire is not exactly run of the mill. I enjoyed the adventure of the tale, but was surprised by the insights into human nature that were given. It was not all "fight for honor, queen, and country" (although that was definitely a subtext) but also focused on human relationships, their successes, and their failu
Full disclosure: I was e stalking an actor who was in the movie version and found out there was a book. Also this is less of a review but more of a way to remind myself of what I thought of the book compared to the movie.

There are some big differences from the movie but the main plot is essentially the same. Jack got screwed in the movie, his role was so much less but I guess they tried to make up for it. In the book he got caught out in a sandstorm and went blind vs staring down an army riding
I just finished listening to this one (great reader, British accent) and I consider it a classic that should be compared to the likes of Dickens and Austen. Great epic story of Harry Feversham, newly engaged to beautiful Ethne Eustace and a soldier in the British army. But it's 1884 and when he receives a telegram that he's about to be shipped off to the Sudan, he makes a snap decision to give up his commission and pretend he never saw the telegram. This sets in motion the events that will shape ...more
Torn between two stars, and three.. there should be a three and a half out there! This story was told really well, and didn't have a boring minute! But-and I hope you know what I mean-even though I liked the book, the point of the book was silly. A quest to prove he was brave, and could face danger, just because his girl is silly? Good grief man, you can do better than her! I did like Ethne, and Harry did improve for all his adventures, but.. the point of the story seemed silly, even though I li ...more
I love the basic story behind this book. I think you need to read this book with a 19th century perspective, otherwise it might drive you crazy. I had to keep telling myself that Ethne was really worth all the trouble that these two men went through for her sake. She seemed rather shallow and selfish to me. The rules were different in those days, honor and courage actually meant something. To us in modern times it may seem some what ridiculous. I admit it was fun to lose myself in a far away tim ...more
At Villa Rose was my first introduction to A.E.W.Mason's writing - and that was his entry to the mystery genre which became his claim to fame. I found the book little more than a pulp novel. That delayed my next tryst with Mason. I switched to this book as a temporarary distraction from Dune, a read which was going much slower than expected. Over the next few nights, I found myself spell-bound by this tale of cowardice and courage, adventure and romance, loyalty and duty, love and nobility. Yest ...more
'Every man would be a coward where he but brave enough' is a quote that I thought came from this novel.

Turns out I was wrong on both counts - the actual quote is 'For all men would be cowards if they durst', and was actually written by John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester in his poem "A Satyr against Reason and Mankind" roughly 2 centuries before the publication of this novel.

It's also a line that Mason, ad the others of his generation, would have had absolutely no understanding of and would (prob
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The end makes the whole story so satisfying. A few truths are portrayed well too. I loved the blend of adventure, romance, and poignant expression of the inward turmoil of the heroes (and heroine). And yes...This was so much better than the movie (Heath Ledger version at least)!
Wilkin Beall
I have seen at least two film versions of the novel which are filled with battle scenes (unlike the novel which has none) and some other inaccuracies regarding the novel (such as who exactly is responsible for giving Harry the feathers). The filmmakers seemed intent on 'improving' the text which in all honesty could use some improving. The language can be florid and the dialogue is beyond saving. As for the characterizations, you can suspect that the author, Alfred Mason, has never actually met ...more
Thayne Ence
As my first book finished in quite a while, I feel quite honored to have read this thrilling, yuppish story of courage. If you like the yuppie 80s (1880s) and the exciting thrills from conversations of war stories and exploring of new lands you will love this story.
Have you ever seen Michael Pallin's Ripping Yarn's series? Well this is the book he was taking off.

As previously noted, this book is not an action adventure, it is a book of manly men with stiff upper lips contemplating the actions that they have performed or that they have seen performed to regain lost honour and the woman who is the "prize" to be achieved at the end of the story.

In simplest term, Harry Feversham takes the opportunity to leave the service before his regiment is sent to war in
Robert Hepple
First published in 1902, this romantic adventure is a tale of disgrace and redemption, against a background of a British Army deployment to the Sudan in the late 19th century. The mood is unashamedly sentimental, although distinctly non-pc by modern standards, typical of the adventure style of the time. Or at least typical of the style of those written for a British audience in 1902. Before reading this, I had seen four movies based on the book. I was pleasantly surprised that the book differed ...more
David Fulmer
Perhaps better known through its numerous cinematic versions, this novel has just the sort of mixture of romance and adventure that appealed so strongly to Hollywood at its most Hollywood.

After Harry Feversham, a young officer in the British army, resigns his commission when he’s tipped off that his regiment is being sent to Egypt where things are a bit dicey just then for the British empire, three of his comrades accuse him of cowardice by sending him white feathers and a fourth is added by his
Honestly? I didn't think I would like this book, based on several friends describing it. I wasn't completely wrong. The author is an extremely competent writer, able to create multiple complex characters who are likable. I found several characters who I appreciated: Sutch and Durrance are probably my top two. I could not stand Mrs. Adair, and even more so because she reminded me of an occasionally less than fun to be around acquaintance.... Overall: writing style was rather more interesting than ...more
Jeni Enjaian
If I didn't want to get to 50 words for this review I would stick with one, vague. I kept trying to come up with different "talking points" about the book for the review but all of the had something to do with the vagueness of the book. Another word to describe it would be "fuzzy." Nothing felt concrete about the book, even the dialogue. I found the narrative mildly captivating and would even be able to recommend this book to readers beyond those interested in the classics if not for the -- you ...more
The Four Feathers is one of the classic war stories, this one ostensbly revolving around the British campaigns in Africa. But, in truth, that is just the setting. It’s really a tale of courage, redemption, and — not least — love. The love is not love for battle in this case, but love of a woman, love of friends and — above all — love of honor.

The hero, as many will already know, is torn between his love for his fiancee, his desire to support his comrades, and his doubts about the legitimacy of t
James Eckman
First off, if you've ever seen any of the many movies or series based on this book, forget about them. This book does not have a single battle scene in it. Like many film productions the title and the plot were used loosely, even the Penguin edition cover art doesn't make sense, nothing like this occurs in the book. The only two books that were more abused by Hollywood are Beastmaster and Lives of a Bengal Lancer, though I'm sure others can point out more that were as bad.

Instead this book is a
1) I LOVE the movie, and this book is nothing like the movie, but surprisingly I still LOVE the book. ;) The only things similar between book and movie are the names of the characters, the fact that Jack goes blind, and the part about Harry going to Trench in Omdurman prison. Other than that, everything is different...and yet it still works.
2) Reasons I love this book so much: It is beautifully written. I've seldom come across an author who has such a command over the Engligh language as A.E.W.
was very excited to read this book. Of all the choices I made for my classics challenge for this year, I was certain that I would enjoy this novel the most. In this case, my expectations were not met, and although I did ultimately enjoy this book, it will never be a favorite.

The Four Feathers is the story of Harry Feversham, an English officer, who is descended from a long line of military heroes and expected to follow in their footsteps. One night, as a boy, Harry is present when his father an
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Alfred Edward Woodley Mason (7 May 1865 Dulwich, London - 22 November 1948 London) was a British author and politician. He is best remembered for his 1902 novel The Four Feathers.

He studied at Dulwich College and graduated from Trinity College, Oxford in 1888. He was a contemporary of fellow Liberal Anthony Hope, who went on to write the adventure novel The Prisoner of Zenda.[citation needed]
His f
More about A.E.W. Mason...
At The Villa Rose The Prisoner in the Opal House of the Arrow The Witness for the Defense Clementina

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“I think women gather up into themselves what they have been through much more than we (men) do. To them, what is past becomes a real part of them, as much a part of them as a limb; to us it's always something external, at the best the rung of a ladder, at the worst a weight on the heel.” 7 likes
“-Hay muchas cosas irrevocables- dijo Harry-, pero nunca se sabe si lo son o no, hasta que se ha averiguado. Y siempre vale la pena hacerlo.” 1 likes
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