My Friday Post: The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat

Book Beginnings Button

Every Friday Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Gillion at Rose City Reader where you can share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

Yesterday I realised that I should be reading The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat in time for the next book club meeting, so I started reading it.

The Kappillan of Malta

It begins:

The man in the bar of the Phoenicia Hotel, by the main gate of Valletta, gave me more mis-information, in the space of two hours, than even six gins and tonics could really justify. He was a fattish, pinkish man in bulging blue shorts; a man on a long lazy holiday, but discontented none the less.

Also every Friday there is The Friday 56, hosted by Freda at Freda’s Voice.

30879-friday2b56These are the rules:

  1. Grab a book, any book.
  2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
  3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
  4. Post it.
  5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda’s most recent Friday 56 post.

Page 56:

Father Salvatore had returned to his breviary, but the voices, with their burden of fear and despair  – a burden which, it must be said, often seemed wholly selfish, with a certain pleasurable interest in the blood of others added to it – came between him and the holy words, and he found himself listening instead of reading. What could be done with a crew like this?

Description (Amazon)

A classic novel set in the siege of Malta 1940-1942 from the bestselling author of The Cruel Sea

Father Salvatore was a simple, lumbering priest, a Kappillan serving the poor Valetta, when war came out of the blue skies to pound the island to dust.

Now amid the catacombs discovered by a chance bomb, he cared for the flood of homeless, starving, frightened people who sought shelter from the death that fell unceasingly from the sky.

His story, and the story of Malta, is told in superbly graphic pictures of six days during the siege. Each of those days brought forth from the Kappillan a message of inspiration to keep them going – the legendary tales of six mighty events of Malta’s history which shone through the centuries and gathered them together in a fervent belief in their survival.


So far, I’m rather taken by this book with Monsarrat’s description of Malta – a place I’ve never visited.

What about you? Does it tempt you or would you stop reading? 

16 thoughts on “My Friday Post: The Kappillan of Malta by Nicholas Monsarrat

  1. I’d completely forgotten about this book, Margaret! I’d heard of it (must confess I’ve never read it), but then, not thought about it. It does sound so atmospheric and full of setting. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve not read it but it sounds as if it might be excellent – hope so! I particularly liked the opening line – not so sure about the second quote, but it might be clearer in context. I did visit Malta many years ago and stayed in Valetta so I’m intrigued… looking forward to your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this as I definitely want to read the book – and I hadn’t heard of it before. My father was in the Merchant Navy during the war and was in a ship which sailed into Valetta with crucial supplies – after dodging the Nazis, but he didn’t speak about it until he was dying.

    Liked by 1 person

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