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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A humdinger of a Book
I admit I was sceptical. I have always been suspicious of novels surrounding the Great Siege of Malta, possibly because it is the story of my own homeland. For such a significant episode in history, it has been largely passed-over in favour of others. Knowing the background and the places in which the events occurred, so well, I was anxious as to what I might find...
Published on 13 Mar 2007 by Fiona Scerri-headley

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Struggle
Tim Willocks' 'The Religion' is a tale of love and betrayal set against the violent and bloody backdrop of the 1565's Siege of Malta.

I was surprised on coming to write this review, that with 34 reviews already written, there hadn't been a single dissenter. Surprised, because I would have thought that, there would have been some people turned off by the heavy...
Published on 7 Sep 2008 by Quicksilver


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utter brilliance, 22 Aug 2012
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
I never write reviews, but Mr Willocks has earned a minute of my time having so enthralled with this latest book. I proudly and excitedly introduced a load of undergrad peers to Green River Rising 18 years ago, and I've been awaiting this trip ever since. The Religion reveals a great maturity that hasn't come at the expense of kinetic story telling and bare knuckle prose. His desire to understand and illuminate the past, and whether by design or not to bring into better focus the present, means we have a piquant and massively relevant banquet of history, adventure, anthropology, thriller, love story, sociology, psychology... and a lot more adventure. Oh, and naturally a lot of blood and narcotics. Mine's a double please bartender.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Religion, 11 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
I absolutly loved this. You commit to the characters immediatly. Bit brutal but a fantastic read. Love Amparo - bless her!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprise, 18 Nov 2008
By 
Florian Drews (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
Tim Willocks being by no means an experienced historical novelist has completely caught me off guard with his book "The Religion".

As I had just recently moved to the UK, I spent hours in W.H.Smith looking with searching eyes at 100s of to me unknown authors. Hence it was no surprise that I walked by Bernhard Cornwell and straight to the top 10 seller shelf. And there it stood. Set in the time I was so greatly interested in, as I had just finished to of Alain Demurger's books on the templars. A story was it, I really needed to somewhat anchor the newly acquired knowledge on the 13th and 14th century.

As I had never before heard about the great siege of Malta in 1565, this book plunged me into hours of historical online research and made me sift through travel brochures for my next holiday destination.

Not only did I find the historical background well interwoven with fictional storyline but as well the characters and their believable development stuck to my mind for weeks and months after I had finished the book.

Some stories told I even now tell others on cozy evenings - like the one about why roses are red and nightingales sing so beautifully.

I won't spoil the fun - just do go and buy this book. It's worth it. And as I just now saw, it seems to planned as a trilogy as well. All the better for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid, brutal and full of swagger..., 18 Jun 2008
By 
Robbie Swale - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
Like so much of modern pop culture - this book is designed to provoke a reaction from the reader. And it does that in style. The Religion is brilliant but brutal, and not for the faint hearted. More importantly, it is not for those looking for a pleasant read.

It reminds me - in its hard-hitting and brutal view on the world (of sixteenth century Malta) - of Iain Banks' The Wasp factory, or the work of playwright Philip Ridley: there are times when you are reading it that you will feel utterly tense, or physically revolted, as well as intrigued. Such is Tim Willocks' vivid and hard-hitting storyline.

It follows the adventurer Mattias Tannhauser and various colleagues in their mercenary quest to the island of Malta to search for a boy. These characters are both realistic and yet larger than life, and the emotional attachment I developed with them is remarkable.

This is a book to be savoured. Vivid, brutal and full of swagger, there are parts of this book that you will not enjoy at all, and it is in these times that the brilliance of the book is exposed. It is engrossing, though, and not to be missed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 23 May 2008
By 
T. Barker - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
Favourite book of the last few years, the other reviewers have hit the nail on the head, so not a lot more to say. But.. even if the history side doesnt appeal to you the characters, story, etc. will.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, although you'll need a strong stomach..., 11 Feb 2008
By 
J. Cohen - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
Set amongst the chaos and brutality of the Siege of Malta in 1565, this is a great read. Tim Willocks writes with great flair, and uses language to great effect, with some very visceral descriptions and sweeping scenes. The characters are all very memorable, complex, and richly painted - I found myself engaging with them from the get go.

This said, some might find the plot a little too linear, and it tends to be quite clearly divided between the two main strands for much of the book, uniting them at the end. I didn't have a problem with this - it is refreshing to read a novel which focuses on the quality of the writing rather than an overcomplicated plot.

One caveat - the Siege of Malta was evidently not a notably humane fight, and Willocks has certainly not pulled his punches. If you have a problem with graphic violence being explicitly described then you'll probably not be a huge fan of this book.

Thoroughly recommended, I look forward to reading more the author's work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 29 Jan 2008
By 
M. Tarek Osman "tarek" (Dubai) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
An excellent masterpiece in terms of the plot, the mixing of historical context with drama, the characterisation, the language - really some very touching wording, and in engaging the reader. Tim Willocks is a great find for me as a reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real surprise, 14 Nov 2007
By 
Asa Joseph (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
After finishing Alain Demurger's 'The Last Templar' a few weeks ago, and finding it informative, if somewhat dry, I picked this 750-page behemoth up at the airport last week. I was only flying out for a weekend away, and didn't plan on spending much of that time reading, but after getting through the first couple of chapters, I rocketed through this, finishing it on the plane on the way home.

I had been looking for something to follow up from Demurger's book that might add a bit more of a personal touch to the Templar / Hospitaller mindset of five centuries ago, and in truth, I probably didn't find that here. What I did get though was a fantastic tale of courage and cameraderie intermingled with action, violence, lust and love.

High literature this is not - but it's easiness to read does nothing to detract from the sense of adventure, or the touching romances between the protagonists.

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Willocks' best book yet, 26 Oct 2006
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
It has been a long time since the brilliant Green River Rising and the heroic deeds of Cicero Grimes, but Willocks' return has raised the stakes for all other writers. Set in the 16th century, this is a new style and new tone, steeped in Christian gore and gallons of blood, with raw emotion and unrelenting guilt and terror pulling you deeper into the story. Deep devotion to God and duty, honour, and brotherhood are squared against the Ottoman conquests, the horrific mechanisms of the Holy Inquisition and the ambitions of ruthless men. But amidst the sea of blood, a strange, delirious tale of love,lust and compassion hurtles the reader towards to a brutal climax, murderous yet touching.

As good a book as I have read for a long time, I am delighted to see Dr Willocks is still at the top of his game and I hope it doesn't take so long for his next book.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fictional history, 11 Jun 2007
By 
Mr. Colin Rankin "Colin Rankin" (Braintree, essex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
I read this book with a copy of Christopher Hibberts aclaimed 1565,Siege of Malta in tandem.

It is obviously a very brutal,albeit romantic,novel from Willocks.That is his style.

It is also very accurate indeed.....I would say....historically faultless.

Willocks has written a book here that honours both the Christian and Moslem peoples of the day,even if he has ittle time for their religious leaders.He also encompasses a very adult romantic theme in the sheer carnage of war that fits in better than I would have imagined.

All in all this is a brutal,romantic,realistic,passionate book.

Mattias Tannhauser is one of the best realised characters in historical fiction.

I now have much affinity with nightingales and roses.....read the book.
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The Religion
The Religion by Tim Willocks (Paperback - 3 May 2007)
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