I just loved this book so much that I had to write something about it.
The book is told from the point-of-view of Francesca, the daughter of an English father and an Italian mother. Francesca's mother died in childbirth, and she grew up in England not knowing her mother's family, for she was disowned when she ran away with Francesca's father and defied her own father.
When Francesca's father dies when she is 17, her mother's family suddenly pops up, when her grandfather sends her cousin Andrea to fetch her and have her brought to Italy.
The story takes place in 1860, in the midst of Italy's strive for Independence. Roaming the land is the mysterious Falcon, a man who is leading the rebels, and causing lots of problems for the military.
I won't reveal the identity of the Falcon, of course, but the author was very brilliant in making me undecided between two characters. One minute I would think it was one character, and then something would happen and I would think it was the other. However, at one point in the book I started to think about events that happened in the earlier parts of the book, and came to a conclusion and stuck with it. No matter what happened, I was convinced that THIS person was the Falcon, and I ended up being right.
When I was finished, I ended up going back and rereading parts with this character, looking to see if there where things that he said and did that should have tipped me off. Of course, now that I know who he is, things became obvious, but they were subtle the first time around.
I'm going to reveal some things that made me come to the conclusion of the Falcon. I will put these under a spoiler, of course.
Obviously, the only two people who were viable candidates for the identity of the Falcon were Andrea and Stefano. I immediately thought it was Andrea at first, which is probably what a lot of people thought, but as I started getting further into the book, I wasn't so sure.
Andrea was hot-headed and rash, unlike the Falcon. And I thought it was the intention of the author to make us all think it was him, but I started to have my doubts.
I came to the conclusion that it was Stefano when Francesca was helping the Falcon to the tombs. She thought it was Andrea because she could kind of see him through the mask, and saw the birthmark on his chest, but then I remembered earlier in the book when Stefano rescued her from the tombs when her grandfather locked her in. She thought he was Andrea, and at the beginning of the book it was remarked how Andrea and Stefano looked similar. Of course, the author used Stefano's disability as a ruse, and that's how I saw it. It wasn't long before I figured he was faking it. And what a good ruse it was.
When Stefano popped up the day after Francesca left the Falcon in the tombs, injured from his wounds, I started to have my doubts, but when Andrea returned home, I changed my mind again. I KNEW it was Stefano, I just knew it, but it was driving me nuts because I couldn't figure out how the hell he was sitting there after everything had happened.