'This book is the labour of years of research and scholarship. In Alexandra Richardson's book, the personality of Alexander Hardcastle comes to life in all its many facets. Her detailed account of the history of Agrigento is historically correct and written in a fluid style. Her descriptions of Sicily are accurate and lyrical, her cameos of Sicilians witty and a pleasure to read. Richardson's rigorous research describes his painful and determined iter from London to Girgenti, his stubborness and his resilience.' - Simonetta Agnello Hornby, 'The Almond Picker'