* Dr. Iannis is a widower physician who lives on the Greek island of Cephallonia with his beautiful seventeen-year-old daughter, Pelagia.
* The current time for the novel is the early 1940s, and Dr. Iannis is writing a history of Cephallonia in his spare time.
* Chapter 2 is a monologue of Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, as he lays out plans to invade Greece.
* A strongman named Velisarios has come to the village to perform acts in the town square.
* One of Velisarios' tricks involves holding a cannon under his arm and shooting it; this time the cannon injures a young fisherman named Mandras.
* Mandras is taken to the home of Dr. Iannis and falls in love immediately when he sees Pelagia.
* Chapter 4 is the first part of a confession of a homosexual Italian soldier named Carlo Piero Guercio who writes about the burden of keeping the secret of his...
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