Writing - Fiction - Novels - Captive Down Under

Darwin's Child
by Giulio Zambon

ISBN: 978-0-6451827-0-5
Publisher: Self-published.
Publication date: 2021-05-07. Pages: 118.

Available in print from:
    Lulu for USD 15.00.
    Amazon US for USD 14.85.
    Amazon Australia for AUD 25.88.

Back-cover blurb

Captive Down Under is the story of Rosario Roccafiorita, a lieutenant in the Italian army during WWII who was captured in North Africa at the beginning of 1941 and sent to Australia as a prisoner of war.
After September 1943, when Italy surrenders to the Allies, Rosario, like thousands of other Italian prisoners, is sent to work on a farm. There, he finds in the farmer's daughter the love of his life.
When he is forcibly repatriated to Italy after five and a half dramatic years of captivity, Rosario finds a country in ruins. All he can think of is returning to Australia and to his Clare.


A friend of mine was the son of an Italian soldier who was held in Australia as a POW and, after being repatriated to Italy in 1947, returned to Australia as a migrant. I found the story intriguing and did some research to find out how many Italians were held in Australia as prisoners during WWII.

It turned out that more than 18,400 were imprisoned in Australia for several years. Wanting to know more about them, in 2012 I made a proposal to the University of Canberra for a PhD thesis. It was accepted in November of the same year and I completed it three years later. Captive Down Under is one of the worproducts of that thesis.

It is in fact a novella, rather than a novel, and, unusual for works of fiction, it includes many notes that complement the story with comments and references. But I placed the note marks at the end of paragraphs, rather than embedded in the narration, and the notes themselves at the end of the chapters. This, together with the fact that both notes and note marks are printed in grey, makes the annotation inobtrusive, so that the readers, if they prefer, can easily ignore them and concentrate on the story.

When I tried to get it published, I failed to find a publisher that would accept a novella. This was probably not surprising, considering that historical fiction is expected to run to 400 pages or more. After a few attempts, I decided to publish it myself.

Lulu is the biggest publisher on demand and it seemed reasonable to ue their services. But only for printing and distribution because I used my own ISBN, so that the book is officially published in Australia.

In case you are curious, the two faces on the cover are those of my parents. The photograph was taken by a professional photographer who stamped it May 4th, 1941 on the back. My fater had almost been killed on the Italian battleship Vittorio Veneto (battle of Cape Matapan 1941-03-28) and was probably in Rome to visit my mother before getting his next assignment. My mother wrote on the back of the picture: “Lontani ma sempre vicini - Baci tua Mimma” (Apart but always close. Kisses, your Mimma).

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