Ennio Iacobucci, an illiterate boy from Italy's Abruzzo mountains, spends his childhood as a slave in a monastery.
Abandoned by both parents and deprived of all education, he is forced to wash dishes and feed pigs to earn his keep. Escaping to Rome, he works as a shoeshine boy and then, suppressing his desire for women, as a male prostitute.
But a chance meeting with Derek Wilson, a correspondent for the Reuters news agency, opens the door to a new life and a career as a photo-journalist.
Their unlikely partnership takes them to Brussels, London, Paris, Israel and eventually Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War.
Within a few years, Ennio is nominated for a Pulitzer prize. But when the US military withdrawal begins, the fairytale starts to unravel.
Firsthand accounts, diaries and correspondence by both men were passed on to the author, Justin Stares, a Brussels-based journalist. They reveal the intimate details of a turbulent relationship that could never be. "To want the moon at the bottom of the well" is an Italian expression to describe reaching for the impossible. This is the poignant story of Ennio's attempt.