Exceptionally popular novel
by British writer Louis de Bernieres
The book is set on the Greek Island of Cephallonia, during the Second World War - before the invasion of Mussolini. It follows the impact of the war on the lives of Dr Iannis, his romantic and beautiful daughter Pelagia and other islanders - particularly when a dashing young Italian officer, the musical Captain Corelli is billeted on their home.
The book was not initially a huge success, but largely through word of mouth it rose to the top of the British bestseller list. It then had to be re-printed many times, as thousands of people lost themselves in the evocative story - particularly on the tube or bus to work, I noticed.
It is not only the central story and characters and poetic description which hold the readers' attention, but the secondary characters too are written so beautifully and are so vivid, that they totally capture your imagination.
Captain Corelli's Mandolin is now one of BBC Radio's bestselling single voice readings (read by Robert Powell) and BBC Radio Four have repeated it as its Book at Bedtime three times.
Interestingly, Amazon has 150 customer comments on this book, an unusually large number, and most of them gush with praise.