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The Four Feathers

A. E. W. Mason

Book Overview: 

The Four Feathers is an adventure novel by British writer A.E.W. Mason that has inspired many films of the same title.
The novel tells the story of British officer, Harry Feversham, who resigns his commission in the East Surrey Regiment just prior to Sir Garnet Wolseley's 1882 expedition to Egypt to suppress the rising of Urabi Pasha. He is faced with censure from three of his comrades for cowardice, signified by the delivery of three white feathers to him, from Captain Trench and Lieutenants Castleton and Willoughby, and the loss of the support of his Irish fiancée, Ethne Eustace, who presents him with the fourth feather. His best friend in the regiment, Captain Durrance becomes his rival for Ethne.
(Summary extracted from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ed for his companion's rapid promotion and success. Sympathy had stood Durrance in the stead of much ability. Sympathy had given him patience and the power to understand, so that during these three years of campaign he had left far quicker and far abler men behind him, in his knowledge of the sorely harassed tribes of the eastern Soudan. He liked them; he could enter into their hatred of the old Turkish rule, he could understand their fanaticism, and their pretence of fanaticism under the compulsion of Osman Digna's hordes.

"Yes, I shall come back," he said, "and in three months' time. For one thing, we know—every Englishman in Egypt, too, knows—that this can't be the end. I want to be here when the work's taken in hand again. I hate unfinished things."

The sun beat relentlessly upon the plateau; the men, stretched in the shade, slept; the afternoon was as noiseless as the morning; Durrance and Mather sat for some while compelled to silence b. . . Read More

Community Reviews

8 JUL 2014 -- Call me crazy, but why is this billed as an adventure tale? Seems more of a romance to me or a study of feelings. I love it!

Response to a comment by Dagny: Thanks Dagny. I am at Chap. XIV. So far, adventure has been spoken of and hinted at, but not yet fully experienced. I am positive

A great and wonderful book about love and honor, and spending every ounce of human endeavor toward redemption and forgiveness. I highly recommend this book.

I didn't think that I would like this book as much as I did.

Honestly, The Four Feathers was incredible. I was just beginning to think that British literature was becoming dull and then I read this. Just when I think I got out, they pull me back in!

I found that this book isn't well known, and genera

This has been one of my favorite movies ever since I first watched it on the big-screen, so I decided to read the book just this week when I found it on my shelves.

Wow. The movie is incredible, and so is the book. They're both very different; the movie focuses mainly on Harry and how he atones for h

The Heath Ledger movie makes you think this book is an action thriller. That is false. Mason's work is a look into the emotions and decisions made by extraordinary people.

What war or fighting is described in this novel is described by characters who participated in it, and most of the story takes p

A. E. W. Mason wrote this gem in 1902; it is still the most romantic adventure novel ever written. Made into a wonderful movie of the same name, this story reads even better than it plays on the screen. The prose is limpid, the insights into pre-WWI mores profound, and the settings unforgettable.

Ma

I mentioned this book a while back in my review of Beau Geste as also being somewhat dated by the writing style. I have read it before and was never overly enthralled...but I love the story. It's been copied and made into at least 3 movies I know of (1939, 1978 TV Movie, and 2002). So I decided to g

A delightful romance in the traditional sense where bravery and honor trump all. The hero commits an act of cowardliness through fear of not being brave enough and fights to redeem his name. Those around him act nobly. Good stuff. Fairly fast read, though slow to get into at first.

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