This book will launch on Mar 13, 2020. Currently, only those with the link can see it. 🔒

The rebel caprices of Enzo Ferrando have dire consequences. His father, the war hero, is gunned down on his own veranda. His son, Lucca, is forced into hiding as a deckhand on a merchant ship. Enzo himself is conscripted into the Italian army to wage war on the African Horn.

Terribilita is a historical fiction novel set in the second half of the 19th century. This deftly crafted story combines revenge saga with a coming of age tale about family, love, and the redemptive power of violence. In this drum tight novel readers will encounter Bashi-Bazouk mercenaries, blackbirding pirates, Ethiopian army hordes, and historical figures of the era. Stalwarts of Joseph Conrad and Jack London will love this historically detailed work of fiction that has just the right amount of adrenaline coursing through it.

Genoa, Italy — 1881. The boy pulled the blind old man through the garden and up the hill to their favorite talking spot. He guided the old man’s steps with matter-of-fact directions. He took his charge very seriously as it was his responsibility to get his grandfather to the talking spot on top of the hill. 

The talking spot atop the hill had two perpendicular slabs of rock for sitting that opened generously to a view of the Port of Genoa, just a league south of their modest family farm. The old man could no longer see the coast, but he could feel the sun and taste the salt. 

They had been coming to this talking spot for as long as the boy could remember. He loved listening to his grandfather’s stories of revolution and adventure and gazing out over the bustling port. The boy had noticed more and more steamers coming in and out of the port over the years. There was something dreary and monotonous about them, and he preferred the old, proud clipper ships that gracefully heeled against the southerly winds as they beat into the Mediterranean. He liked to draw the clipper ships, and this perch furnished the flint to spark his sketches. 

When they reached the talking spot, the boy saw six clippers in the port on this day and many cutters, schooners, barques, brigs, and steamers. Good. This is good for his father’s business, the boy thought. 

“Lucca, I want to tell you an important story today,” the old man started and then paused. 

“Can you tell the one about the riots in Nice again, Grandpa?” Lucca loved this story because it also featured his father, Enzo, who was sixteen at the time, only four years older than himself. 

“No,” the old man said brusquely. Lucca blushed and averted his gaze in embarrassment. “This is not a story you’ve heard before, Lucca, but it needs telling. It is not a happy story, but it is an important story for our family. I sense there will not be many more opportunities for me to tell you this story, so you need to listen with care, Lucca. This is the story of the Battle of Solferino.” 

The boy was rapt in attention.

About the author

Ben enjoys reading and writing about very flawed, very human characters and stories about rebellion and self-sacrifice. He likes all sorts of dogs but especially underdogs. Ben lives in Queens, NY with his wife Marian. Ben has a B.A. from Tufts University and a Masters from Dartmouth College. view profile

Published on March 13, 2020

Published by Cinder Block Publishing LLC

70000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Enjoyed this review?

Get early access to fresh indie books and help decide on the bestselling stories of tomorrow. Create your free account today.


Or sign up with an email address

Create your account

Or sign up with your social account