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Sword and Scimitar Hardcover – October 25, 2012
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The story opens with the events leading to the expulsion from the Order of the hero, Sir Thomas Barrett (a knight from Henry VIII's England). Many years later during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the then Master of the Order, Jean de la Valette, recalls all knights - including Sir Thomas Barrett then living in England - to the colours to face an impending Ottoman attack. At this point the author introduces a McGuffin in the form of a mysterious document hidden on Malta. The knight is tasked by Lord Cecil and Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, to recover it. He's not told what the document is but assured that it could cause civil war in England. And so the story proceeds (slowly) as the hero goes through Spain to Malta and into the siege, the finding of the McGuffin and, later, the climax of the story. When the author revealed exactly what the mysterious document was, I found it anticlimactic because I expected something at least as powerful as Pope Pius V's 1570 bull _Regnans in Excelsis_ which was an exhortation to Elizabeth I's subjects to murder her.
The main problem I found with the book was that there was no real tension because the author seemed to assume that his readers wouldn't know that the Ottomans were defeated and I couldn't work up much interest in the fate or lovelife of the hero. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad book but it's not a great one either.Read more ›
Simon's got me.
Because I read historical-fiction I knew about the Siege of Malta, but I haven't read anything that focused on it until this book. And I enjoyed this book as much as I have the Macro and Cato series. I've found that if a writer is a true writer it won't matter what they pen, it's going to be good. I can honestly say that if you have enjoyed Simon's other work then you will like this slight turn from the "ordinary".
`Sword and Scimitar's' main character is a knight names Sir Thomas. He's brave, smart, learned, honest, and loyal. Unfortunately like most men his, weakness rests within the heart and between thighs of a woman. The other unfortunate thing is that nature of man never changes. Ever. Jealously and hypocrisy are the catalyst for a decision that involves Sir Thomas and the repercussions of this last for two decades.
Meanwhile, while the Knights of the Order were playing whose king of the castle, the Ottoman Empire was making plans to basically annihilate them. The siege on Malta is known to be one of the bloodiest and most brutal in history.
The descriptions of that brutality are not hidden here.
As with all of Simon's books, there are stories behind the story behind the story.Read more ›
When they are discovered Sir Thomas is banished from Malta and so begins 20 years of fighting as a mercenary in Europe not knowing what has happened to the love of his life Maria.
When he is summoned back to Malta to help the Knights defend Christendom and Malta against Sultan Suleiman and the Turks he is determined to find out what has happened to Maria once and for all.
With the added mystery of being told to retrieve a lost document in Malta that if made public could tear England apart, an accompanying squire who is not what he seems, bloody battle scenes, being outnumbered 7 to 1 by the Turks, romance, treachery, revenge.....this is not a book for the faint-hearted though it is a very good read!
Sir Thomas is the kind of man who you would want at your side in a battle, he's strong, courageous and skilled at arms. He's also a good person who is utterly trustworthy and I was really rooting for him.
This is a historical tale of the Great Siege of Malta, something of which I knew nothing about, and the author really brings to life how brave the citizens of Malta, together with the Knights of St John, were in their fight against the might of the Ottoman Empire. Fascinating stuff.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
For me this book was a real page turner and as someone interested in both history and geography, hugely informative. Read morePublished 5 months ago by daveyblue7000
In this novel Simon Scarrow brings the Great Siege of Malta back to life. I live in Malta, close to the places where the fighting took place. Read morePublished 10 months ago by maltesemummy
Brilliantly researched - Scarrow is a master of historical narrative. All the facts bound into a gripping tale. Excellent read.Published 11 months ago by Jeremy Christensen
Once the action starts it is difficult to put down but the plot is a little thin and the characters a bit thin. Would still recommend the bookPublished 19 months ago by Floris
Not the authors best work but still a good read. The book raises some questions on religion which I did not find in his books on the Roman legion.Published 19 months ago by Roger Randolph