Written from personal experience, this novel by an Italian writer tells of the confused days after the fall of the Italian Fascists. The ""underground"" that organizes in the little seaside town of Medusa is a mixed lot: a monarchist admiral, several local Communists, a doctor, and others, without orders, plans or even a very clear idea of who the enemy is. Nevertheless, with haphazard energy and good will, they manage to blow up an arsenal, locate an Allied radioman who has been parachuted into a nearby village, establish an Allied airdrop in the mountains, and get in touch with the professional Communists. In the end, none of this activity serves much practical good: the Germans evacuate the town; several of the partisans and local Fascists are killed. But the battles and dedications have been defined, and the novel is an interesting and convincing picture of the change of a civilian population, under stress, into an effective guerrilla organization.