Troubador Mazzeri

Released: 01/07/2013

ISBN: 9781780885384

eISBN: 9781780885841

Format: Paperback/eBook

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Love and Death in Light and Shadow. A novel of Corsica


‘He had heard the spirits calling his name from the maquis and he had heard their footfalls as they passed by his window in the night. The spirits had summoned him. He could not deny them.’ 

It is the last summer of the twentieth century in Calvi, northern Corsica, and an old man sits watching the kites fly. The festival of the wind is a lively and colourful celebration, but the old man’s heart is heavy, he has heard the Mazzeri whisper his name. He accepts that people prefer to believe the dream hunters belong to the past and yet he knows only too well that at night they still roam the maquis in search of the faces of those whose time has come.

Ten years later in the high citadel of Bonifacio, in the southern tip of the island, Richard Ross, armed with only the faded photograph of a Legionnaire standing beneath a stone gateway, finds the locals curiously unwilling to help him uncover his family’s roots. He rents a villa on the coast and meets the singularly beautiful Manou Pietri, who enchants him with tales of the megalithic isle, its folklore and the Mazzeri – the dream hunters.

For a while Ric’s life beneath the Corsican sun is as close to perfect as he could wish. Then a chance encounter with a feral boy turns Ric’s world upside down, and he is drawn deep into a tangled web of lies and deceit, where truth and legend meet, and from which the Mazzeri offer him little hope of escape.

Set in Corsica, Mazzeri is a contemporary novel about this complex mediterranean island, its people and its traditions, which has been influenced by the author’s own experiences. 

Early reviews of Constant Tides:

have read Peter Crawley’s books for some years. His writing is delightful. This book is just amazing. The detail is exceptional without taking away from the story. I knew nothing of Sicily let alone Messina, but I feel I want to go there now - sadly not possible. Peter has written about three incredible women. Don’t take that the wrong way. It also involves amazing Sicilian men - men of history never mind now. Read this now, you will be transported to another world.

My first book from this author! Captivating from the start. I Will definitely be purchasing more of his work.

I have read all of Peter Crawley’s books and Constant Tides does not disappoint. It is a wonderful story which is obviously the result of hours of research and work.
Through his writing Peter describes, in detail, Sicily and the town of Messina as well as the lives of his main female characters; Lilla, Mira and Angelica. The story follows the relationships these girls form with others in society covering three distinctive eras.
Once I started reading Constant Tides I found it difficult to put down. I was fascinated to learn about Sicily and events in history that shaped the area while forming a binding relationship with each of the characters.
I strongly recommend reading this book and believe it will appeal to a variety of readers.

Each novel from Peter Crawley is more ambitious in scope than the previous. His latest encompasses more than a century in the lives of interlinked families and those who come up against them in and around Messina on the north-east coast of Sicily. It starts with the 1908 earthquake which largely destroys the city and the harrowing descriptions of the death and destruction are not for the faint-hearted. This sets in motion a series of events taking in 1943 where Italy, in an increasingly fractious alliance with its German allies endures the American invasion and finally 2019 where descendants of the original sundered families interact to bring about a very satisfying conclusion.
Throughout the lives of local people are closely examined and Crawley manages to sketch in fascinating historical and cultural details without clunky exposition and as well as making you sympathetic to the characters makes you want to find out more about this fascinating part of Italy - about which I knew next to nothing. The style is fluid and assured, but not flowery and Chapter 6 of Book 2 detailing a meeting between a determined cafe owner seeking supplies and a self-important sentry is a masterpiece of serio-comic writing. Thoroughly recommended.

Who needs to go on holiday this summer? With Constant Tides I have visited Messina daily.
The evocative descriptions of the town and surrounding countryside allow you to wander the streets and hillsides in your mind.
It is hard to imagine the hardships and privations of the inhabitants, first with the earthquake, then the life of bombing and rationing in world war 2. Skilfully bringing the book up to date, you feel that you know the elderly inhabitants having lived through their traumas with them.
Peter Crawley masterfully draws together three generations whose life is woven into the past and present of Messina.
The attention to detail is outstanding and the story gripping. Learning about the earthquake that killed over 100,000 people in 1901, I didn’t want to put the book down.
Peter Crawley has got into the head of his characters, bringing them to life. This could not be done without a deep understanding of the human psyche.
It looks as if a lot of us won’t be going abroad this summer - well not a problem - just get this book and bring Italy into your home instead.
A brilliant read.

Given the chance I would have read Constant Tides in one sitting..just impossible to put down. Sicily in earthquake devastation, young romance shattered, the cruelty of war then families somehow reunited.. brilliantly constructed.... Pete I was totally absorbed from beginning to the last page.

Books Monthly

Dear Mr Crawley,
may I congratulate you on your book Mazzeri, which I have just finished.
Having first visited Corsica for our honeymoon some 5 years ago, we were then lucky enough to be invited to join friends who rented a villa not far from San Cipriano.
Certainly something magical exists about the island, and on leaving I searched as best I could for a book to somehow help me with my poor grasp of Corsica's turbulent times, and a little escapism - both of which your fantastic book and its compelling plot more than provided for!
So thank you for sharing your work, and I look forward to your next book whenever that might be.
Best wishes,

by Patrick Wigan

Peter Crawley

Peter Crawley was born in Chiswick, London, in July 1956 and educated at Cranleigh School, Surrey, and at the Goethe Institut, Freiburg im Breisgau, in what was then West Germany. He spent much of his youth in Corsica and on leaving school worked the gin palaces - the luxury motor-yachts - of the Northern Mediterranean, often sleeping rough between assignments. Late one summer near Porto Vecchio, on the south-eastern coast of Corsica, the matriarch of a village entrusted him with a notebook in which she had recorded local proverbs and aphorisms. Many of those truisms and the atmosphere they engender are employed in the premise, tone and resonance of Mazzeri. However, the story of Mazzeri is inspired by Peter's experience of being caught between two feuding families during that long, hot summer. Peter has recently finished his sixth novel, Constant Tides. All his previous works have been published under the Matador imprint. Mazzeri, set in Corsica, was nominated for The American Library in Paris Book of the Year Award 2014. Ontreto, set in the Aeolian Islands just to the north of Sicily, is the stand-alone sequel to that first novel. Boarding House Reach, his second novel, tells the story of five residents of a guest house on the Norfolk Coast and how their lives are intertwined. The Truth In Fiction is a collection of short stories all written in different locations throughout the world. The Wind Between Two Worlds tells the story of a young reporters mission to find a former Royal Marine who, suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress, has surrendered to the streets of London. Constant Tides follows the lives of three generations of two families who live by the shore of the Strait of Messina. Extensively researched, including time spent working on a feluca, a swordfish fishing boat particular to the Strait, and with reference to his uncles memoir of his experiences serving on Motor Torpedo Boats in the Strait during WWII, Constant Tides is a testament to the people of Messina; a testament to their struggle for survival, the sacrifices they have had to make and to their immense courage.

Reseach in the Sicilian Sea

A feluca of the Strait of Messina
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