Most helpful critical review
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on 10 May 2013
Sword and Scimitar follows the story of Sir Thomas, a knight of the order of St. John, through the siege of Malta. In the 16th century the main threat was the Sultan's Muslim army, and this novel charts the struggle against the invasion.
I had not read any of Scarrow's books before, and had a few misgivings in the first few chapters. It is not politically correct, Muslims are called every name under the sun during fights, this does make the reader feel uncomfortable. It is corrected when the main character realises that faith does not make someone subhuman, so stick with it. There's a lot of detailed fighting and some quite gruesome moments. If you want to know the techniques and strategies used in battle at that time, then you will learn a lot reading this. I'd never heard of the siege of Malta before, so did not know what was going to happen next, and I think this is a definite advantage.
It was the story that made me carry on reading. Concepts of honour, and love are explored, and this could make this novel appeal to a wider audience. The love story is quite sweet, if somewhat predictable. There's a decent subplot involving spying for Elizabeth 1, and that does add a great deal to the book. The characters are all well written and are not two dimensional. The main character is your basic decent guy, who se circumstances conspire against him.
This may appeal to fantasy readers because there is definitely something epic about this story. Reading groups would have a lot to talk about, from the history, depiction of races, to the love story and characters. A decent read.