Wartime love story set in Abyssinia, Eritrea and the Yemen in 1935–1945.
This is the story of Amedeo Guillet - an Italian cavalry officer who was sent out to Abyssinia as part of Mussolini's army to establish and command a troop of 2000 Spahis - or Arabic cavalry. He met and fell in love with Khadija - a beautiful Ethiopian Muslim. Together they held up the British lorries heaving up the mountain road to Asmara and blew up the important Ponte Aosta. Eventually Amedeo went on the run disguised as an Arab. He made it to Yemen, only to be thrown in jail.
There are few stories more cinemagraphic than this - fascist Italy; Amadeo's early years in Ethiopia commanding the Cossack-like Spahis; the brutal Abyssinian war; the last ever cavalry charge the British army faced which was led by Amedeo (Eritrea 1941 - his men were massacred by tanks and sub-machine guns); defeat and guerrilla warfare against the British; then flight, disguised as an Arab, imprisonment in the Yemen, and a great love lost as Amedeo leaves his beloved Khadija behind to face her future alone and returns to Italy to his fiancée and a career as a distinguished Italian diplomat and Arabist.
This is a rare view of World War Two from an Italian perspective; particularly valuable are the chapters that tell the story of Italian resistance to the Nazis, and the Nazis' subsequent withdrawal from Italy in 1943.
Amedeo Guillet is still alive and living in County Meath, Ireland. Khadija is lost. Sebastian O'Kelly is a journalist for the 'Mail' and 'Telegraph' and has had Amadeo's full cooperation in writing this book. This is a very valuable, absolutely stunning story, beautifully told by O'Kelly.