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The Eagle of Spinalonga Kindle Edition
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Nikos has just qualified as a lawyer and is eager to get on with his life when he discovers that he has leprosy which means he will have to leave his mother and his profession to join his sister, Maria, who is already on the island of Spinalonga. The priest who performs his funeral feels such guilt that the people living on this desolate location have to go through this funeral service while still alive and decides even though he is healthy, to give up his parish and join the lepers.
Nikos and Father Manoussos find the living conditions on the island shocking and set about changing the dire living conditions, meagre food, hygiene and total lack of medical care into a place where people can live with dignity. Nikos goes one step further than just writing letters and organising the refurbishment of the hovels; he captures an eagle and thanks to her efforts, the islanders enjoy fish, rabbit and on the rare occasion, lamb.
The story covers living on the island from before the Second World War to the 1960's when the remaining inhabitants are allowed to leave this place of incarceration, having been cured of leprosy.
I enjoyed this book, but it didn't flow with the same easy grace that Victoria Hislop's book, The Island did. Maybe if I'd read this book before The Island it would have had more impact.
I was a bit disappointed at the rushed ending though. It was as though the author realised she was running out of words and bought it to a quick conclusion. I found myself thinking 'when did that happen, did I fall asleep and miss a bit?', particularly when Nikos' health started to fail . I feel some aspects of the book could have been condensed and some time given to the period once a cure was found and the patients prepared to leave the island.
I'm holidaying in Crete this year and a trip to Spinalonga will undoubtedly be the highlight for me.
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