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The Sword and Scimitar [Audiobook, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Simon Scarrow , Jonathan Keeble
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Jan 2013

Bestselling author Simon Scarrow brings the Great Siege of Malta to vivid and unforgettable life in this gripping standalone novel.

1565, Malta: a vital outpost between the divided nations of Europe and the relentlessly expanding Ottoman Empire. Faced with ferocious attack by a vast Turkish fleet, the knights of the Order of St John fear annihilation. Amongst those called to assist is disgraced veteran Sir Thomas Barrett. Loyalty and instinct compel him to put the Order above all other concerns, yet his allegiance is divided. At Queen Elizabeth's command, he must search for a hidden scroll, guarded by the knights, that threatens her reign.

As Sir Thomas confronts the past that cost him his honour and a secret that has long lain buried, a vast enemy army arrives to lay siege to the island...

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books; Unabridged edition (1 Jan 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 1445025159
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445025155
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (219 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Simon Scarrow's passion for writing began at an early age. After a childhood spent travelling the world he pursued his great love of history as a teacher, before becoming a full-time writer in 2005. Simon's Roman soldier heroes Cato and Macro first stormed the book shops in 2000, and Simon continues to create one new adult Roman novel each year. Simon has many other literary projects in hand including a young adult Roman series and THE SWORD AND THE SCIMITAR, an epic tale of the Siege of Malta in the sixteenth century. To find out more about Simon Scarrow and his novels, visit www.catoandmacro.com and www.scarrow.co.uk.

Product Description


[T]his lively, absorbing novel will not disappoint (Sunday Times) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

The Sunday Times bestselling author turns his fantastic writing talent to one of the bloodiest and most fiercely contested sieges in history, and tells an epic tale of romance, danger, and, ultimately, sacrifice --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read 27 Oct 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Simon Scarrow is one of very few authors whose new book I'll buy without checking synopsis or previews, and this doesn't disappoint. It's a very personal view - so necessarily one-sided - of the Siege of Malta by a once-disgraced knight, who is summoned to the desperate fight to halt the advance of the Moslem armies. There are plenty of bloody battle scenes, reflecting the desperate plight of the Christian defenders and the determination of their enemy. The hero has grown to doubt his belief in God, a heretical view in those times; we may wonder at the fanaticsm, and the willingness of the knights and others to "die for the faith" rather than surrender, but it makes for a gripping read. A natural five-star read.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an amazingly engaging read. 25 Oct 2012

This book covers an amazingly complex time in history, and a particularly thorny issue in modern times. In nearly 450 years we really have not come that far in terms of religion. What amazes me is how little I knew about the siege of Malta and the total change it would have had on the face of europe if the Knights of the Order of St John had lost.

I have been to Malta a few times and have seen so many of the places, stood on some of the streets and monuments written about in this book, and yet I still didn't truly comprehend the momentous battle that took place. To have lost would have probably meant the sweep of Islam into western Europe, changing the entire face of history. There are very few times in history when the world and its current order have been balanced on a knife-edge.

Other moments in time that spring to mind (with great books attached) The Mongols sweeping into Europe, if not for the death of Ogedai they would have carried on unstoppable all the way to the English Channel and beyond (read Conn Igguldens Conqueror series) also the battle at Marathon, where a Greek loss would have meant Greece falling under the dominion of Persia, there would have been no classical period, there may possibly have been no Rome or at best a greatly altered Rome. So much art and culture lost and changed, the whole mediterranean dynamic would have changed, (Read the Long War series by Christian Cameron).

When you understand the above it makes the writing of this books seem so ambitious to border on nuts. Yet Simon Scarrow in his own unique style provides the perfect narrator in the form of Sir Thomas Barrett.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment 16 Aug 2014
I am a big of Simon Scarrow's Cato and Macro and Welington and Bonaparte series so this was a must-read for me. However, this was, for a me, a disappointment. Scarrow's main strength in his novels has always been his description of battles and conflict and in this book he does not disappoint. The violence is suitably detailed and bloodthirsty, there is a ring of authenticity of the horrors of mortal combat.

However, the fighting aside, the book was a bit dull and I found it a struggle to maintain the enthusiasm to continue reading. Against the backdrop of the siege of Malta we have Sir Thomas Barrett being sent to recover a document of high significance to Elizabeth I, Francis Walsingham and Robert Cecil, which if it came to light, would cause untold damage to England. Despite this, the document plays only a minor part in the plot. We also have the destroyed friendship of Barrett and Oliver Stokely over a woman they both love (Maria). This is mixed in with the love story between Barrett and Maria. And then there is Richard, Barrett's young co-spy to retrieve the said document and whose origins become apparent early on. Despite all this, I did find the book a tad slow. I am also sure Robert Cecil should have been his father William Cecil as Robert Cecil would have been a toddler at the time of the siege, unless there was a another historical Robert Cecil. The secret document itself, once we know it's contents, is a little underwhelming. With what we know of Henry VIII it is unlikely he would have written such a thing.

Finally, I found Sir Thomas Barrett to be an unlikeable character. Given what had happened to him before the siege and during it, I suppose he has cause to be a short-tempered prig. He also appears to have been living in the wrong century.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Certainly not his best 22 July 2013
I bought this as I love Scarrow's Cato and Macro series. This book doesn't belong in the same room. My wife asked if it was his first novel, an understandable mistake given how poor this is.

The story of the siege of Malta is told in a cursory fashion with no real sense of the peril, horror and courage that should have been conveyed. That's the entire plot.

The characters are laughable, mere ciphers with bits of story hung on them. I was begging for the main character to die by about halfway through, when he had to clench his fist to drive his anger down again. One of his fellow knights would appear to be in the book only to provoke him. The love story is hilarious and if you can't guess all the ins and outs of it at least a hundred pages before they happen, then you probably don't read very much. There is not one single surprising plot twist in the entire novel.

I can honestly say that if this hadn't been by Simon Scarrow, I believe it would have been rejected very swiftly by any publisher.

Very, very poor, not worthy of the man's talents.

If this is your first Simon Scarrow book and you disliked it, I'd say to you, please try again. The Wellington and Bonaparte books are excellent as are the Macro and Cato series. Give it another go, I'm sure you won't regret it.
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