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April 19 , 2008

The American


The locals in the Italian village where he lives call him Signor Farfalla - Mr Butterfly. He is a discreet gentleman who spends his time studying rare butterflies.

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At seven years old, Martin Booth found himself with all of Hong Kong at his feet. His father was posted there in 1952, and this memoir is his telling of that youth, a time when he had access to the corners of a colony normally closed to a "Gweilo," a "pale fellow" like him. His experiences were colorful and vast. Befriending rickshaw coolies and…

But Farfalla's real profession is deadly. He considers himself an artisan, not for the butterflies he paints but for the guns he creates for assassins.

Farfalla has resolved to make his next job his last. Then, perhaps, he can settle down comfortably in the Italian village he has grown to love and enjoy the remainder of his life without constantly looking over his shoulder.

But a treacherous circle is closing in on him...

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