Ricasoli Soldier - A Novel Inspired by True Events by Joe Scicluna was inspired by a true story which occurred in 1807 and which presented non-fictional characters. The main character, Leo Bonanno, left his native Sicily in 1806 to enlist as a soldier with the British Army in Malta. He held many hopes, dreams and ambitions of youth, among which was the desire to become a professional soldier to better serve his country. Stationed at Fort Ricasoli during his initial stay in Malta as an enlisted man, Leo made new friends and fell madly in love with Lisa, a beautiful village girl from Kalkara. But all Leos hopes, dreams and ambitions soon turned into a terrifying nightmare and an incomparable battle for survival, due to the unfolding of certain unexpected events.
The British had just formed a new regiment and recruited many men from overseas countries to populate the regiment, including from Greece, Turkey, Russia, Albania and Italy. But the recruitment process for this regiment was severely fraudulent and resulted in many men becoming enlisted without informed consent. Meanwhile, the regiment was led a major known to be a heartless tyrant…
Ricasoli Soldier also presents the story of six enlisted men who ended up locking themselves in a gunpowder magazine while threatening to blow up Fort Ricasoli as a last resort, to escape from the death sentence imposed upon them by the major as a result of what was later described as a “system of iniquity.” The main questions are: Did the gunpowder magazine explode? What became of these six soldiers? Did Leo succeed in escape from the jaws of death?
"This is a Sicilian young man, who poverty and oppression pushed out of his native Sicily in 1806 to come to Malta and enlist in a special regiment of the British Army in Malta. Here he found both good and bad things . . . The book says this is a novel 'inspired by true events.' Perhaps that angle of Maltese history has never been really studied and explained"
- Noel Grima, Editor-in-Chief, The Malta Independent
About the Author
Joe Scicluna was born on the Mediterranean island nation of Malta, but spent most of his time living in the alpine valley of Gresivaudan in southeast France. He draws a sense of balance from the stark contrast between this mountainous region and the sun-baked Mediterranean island which he still calls home. As he gets older, he becomes more passionate about the culture, heritage and rich history of the Maltese islands.
It is precisely this passion which motivated him to write his first two books, Malta Surrendered - The Doublet Memories and Sword-Lily - The Last Days of the Knights of Malta 1798, translations from French of eyewitness accounts during the period of Napoleon's invasion and occupation in 1798. Following on this same theme, his latest book Ricasoli Soldier is a historical novel set in the early 19th century, during the first years of British rule in Malta. This book was inspired by true, but little-known, events which took place in 1807. Scicluna hopes to inspire his readers to want to learn about Malta and what the Maltese people lived through during those years of tumultuous change by means of this true, but gripping, story packed with suspense until the end.