A book that is better in its parts than in its whole, and more significant for its urbane dissection of the Italian peasant, than for its cohesive story. He shows him -- in the character of Private Angelo, with his talent for survival rather than combat, with his passive, philosophic acceptance, his high hearted rather than stout hearted conduct. The haphazard fortunes of war as he sees it shifts him from Italian to German to English armies; his patron, the Count, is taken by the Germans and liberated and both older man and younger survive the changing occupation-first German, then British. There's international imbroglio of amatory involvements. Angelo marries Lucresia after she has given birth to a child by an English soldier, and later he brings back from the wars widowed Annunziata and her Polish child. It is a loosely constructed, good humored tale, of no profound importance.