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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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13 of 14 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 Outstanding, although you'll need a strong stomach..., 11 Feb 2008
By 
J. Cohen - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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 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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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very entertaining, 10 Aug 2006
By 
Murad Quandour (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Hardcover)
A beautiful and colourful portrayal of one of the most important events of the 14th century; the siege of Malta. Tim Willcocks really immerses you in the life of a man grown sour with the fabrications of organised religions. The story is beautifully relevant in our time of religious resurgence and misconceptions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Totally engrossing, 7 Jan 2009
By 
Oldevers (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
Tim Willocks has produced a minor masterpiece with The Religion. His first historical novel sees one of the great battles of the middle ages - The siege of Malta by the Ottoman Turks - through the eyes of a small group caught up in the madness while trying to accomplish their own goals.

Mattias Tannhauser makes a great hero, his journey from mercenary through his love of Amparu and Carla and the carnage of the battles is truly engrossing. Meanwhile Ludovici is as nasty and devious a villain as you're likely to find in fiction. Aside from these two there is a fantastic supporting cast of lovers, lost boys, Christian knights and Ottomans. The characters are well drawn, through their backgrounds, their emotions and their responses to their situations and you will end up loving, hating or caring for them.

Tannhauser's ability to cross into enemy lines and mingle with the Muslim invaders gives us an insight into both sides as East battles West. The fact that he can see the good and bad of both sides, as well as giving us insight into how eash side percieves and mis-percieves each other is highly relevant today when much of current events still revolve around the differences between elements of the Western and Muslim worlds.

As well as writing the characters brilliantly Willocks sets the scene superbly. A huge amount of research has obviously gone into this novel the siege is realistically drawn, Malta accurately rendered and the real characters of history rub shoulders with our cast of characters.

Bloody, violent, gory, upsetting, funny, educational - I couldn't put the book down until the siege was finally over.
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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
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pulp History, 23 Oct 2006
By 
This review is from: The Religion (Hardcover)
As a big fan of "Green River Rising" I was looking forward to this although a little apprehensive at the historical setting. But Tim Willocks has not disappointed and this is a terrific read - one of those books which allows you to paint vivid mental pictures of the action and really engages you with the characters despite their total detachment from our own times.

Willocks' research was obviously meticulous and unlike the warring factions in the tale, he takes no prisoners. As in Green River Rising, Willocks wastes no opportunity to evoke the reality of the violence, filth (do I sense an unhealthy obsession with defecation?!) men commit against each other.

Well worth a read - whether you like historical novels or not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic!, 5 Jan 2013
By 
M. D. Dancey "matt6224" (Dorset uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
I want to recommend this book, I can only agree with the other reviewers, the book is gory and shows the horror of war but also how love and loyalty can guide you in unexpected directions. The book is very well researched and very cleverly written.
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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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The Religion
The Religion by Tim Willocks (Paperback - 3 May 2007)
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