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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking read
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...
Published on 27 Oct 2012 by Mr. C. J. Nicholls

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment
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...
Published 4 months ago by Matthew Turner


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Great Seige of Malta, 9 May 2013
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
I love historical novels and I love Malta. So based on this, this should be an enjoyable read. It did not disappoint. The novel centres around Sir Thomas Barrett, a Knight of Saint John. He falls in love which is reciprocated but she is betrothed to another. He is forced into exile in disgrace. After years serving as a mercenary Sir Thomas is recalled as Malta needs everyman it can get to face a vast Ottoman army. There is also a document in Malta that if it became public knowledge could blow the English monarchy wide open.The description of the siege is well handled as are the atrocities on both sides. There are twists and turns, some of which you can see coming but some you do not. Not many characters so it is easy to remember who is who. A nice easy read which will have you holding your breath in places.If you have been to Malta you will recognise the places mentioned. If not, after reading the book, why not make it your next holiday destination?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just a book for the boys!, 7 May 2013
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
I have usually steered clear of Simon Scarrow in the past, as there is a bit of a perception of him being a 'man's author'. I've always been interested in the Knights Hospitaller, Templars et al and thought that this would be a good book to acquaint me with the authors style.

Set in 1565, Sword & Scimitar is not only the story of the siege of Malta, it is also the story of Sir Thomas Barrett. Barrett was banished from the order when he fell in love with a noblewoman promised to another, whom he had rescued during one of the book's many sea battles.

20 years after his banishment, Sir Thomas is recalled to the order to held defend their stronghold on Malta against the encroaching Islamic armies. He is also charged with recovering a document, believed to have been in the possession of one of his fellow knights. This document could have serious repercussions for the British Crown if it fell into the wrong hands. He is charged with taking one of the governments pies with him as a squire, and helping him recover the document.

Sir Thomas returns to Malta to find that old friends are there to welcome and forgive him, but that old enemies still bear a grudge.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sword & Scimitar. The fact that it was set in a period of time that I find interesting doubtless helped. However, Scarrow's understanding of his characters and knowledge of the period, greatly enhanced the book. Sir Thomas is an intriguing character; a skilled knight; ruthless and at times arrogant, he is also fiercely loyal and capable of great love. For his comrades as well as his lost love.

I will freely confess to shedding a few tears during the course of the book. The characters are so richly drawn that it is easy to get attached to them!

The only tiny, tiny criticism I have is maybe a girl thing; some of the descriptions of the sea battles and military strategem were a little over long. I found my mind wondering off a little at times. However, I would still rate this book very highly as it is a fabulous story, well written and still very pacey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping read, 7 May 2013
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
Simon Scarrow has again managed to write a gripping tale about the seige of Malta in 1565. It draws the reader in and doesn't disappoint.
It is told by a Knight of St John, disgraced but called back in the Islands hour of need. There's a love story told against the backdrop of the seige as the knights and the Maltese people battle against the invading Turkish armies sent by Suleiman to crush the Christians and bring Allah to all nations. There are bloody battle scenes as the great Muslim leaders Turgut and Mustafa Pasha lay seige to Malta. Our hero Sir Thomas has his own struggle with his beliefs but his allegiance to the order of St John and the cause never waver. A thoroughly gripping read which I couldn't put down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Woven Story, 7 May 2013
By 
atticusfinch1048 - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
If this were a video game it would carry an 18 rating as the violence within the pages holds no punches. The imagery that the Simon Scarrow uses in Sword & Scimitar is that good and also historically accurate.

The book is based on the Turk/Ottoman Empire siege of Malta in 1665, even though the book starts 20 years prior as the hero of the story Sir Thomas is cast out of Malta for falling in love with a woman. In the intervening years Sir Thomas had worked as a mercenary and lived on his estate in England. Then he was disturbed one winter by a messenger of the Order of St John requesting that he return to Malta help with the forthcoming war with the Turks. Christianity v Islam. At the same time he is summoned to London by Cecil and Walsingham to take on a mission to protect the country by taking a young squire with him to Malta.

It is through the enthralling pages of the book we discover the love that had been lost and regained to finally loose again, a son and heir found, the saving of Christianity and Malta.

This is a wonderful book where historical facts and people are interwoven in to the narrative so that everything is accurate about the period and the siege. The book is a wonderfully absorbing read and well worth buying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable but undemanding read, 4 May 2013
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
After being sent away from the Order of St John in Malta, disgraced knight Sir Thomas Barrett is called back to Malta 20 years later in 1665 to help defend the island and fight with the Order again against the Islamic Ottoman Empire who want to wipe out the Order and use Malta to expand into Europe.
It was a pivotal moment in history, in the war that had raged between Islam and Christianity for centuries.

It's not a period of history that I was familiar with and so it was fascinating to read about what happened for the first time.

It is a good light read. I enjoyed the story, and read it fairly quickly, within 3 days, eager to learn about what had happened. It did give a good overview of what happened to Malta in 1665, however I was a little disappointed when I had finished, not that I had finished it but that it had seemed to promise more than just that. I was left feeling a little bit short-changed. This is because the main characters' stories felt a little rushed and lacking great depth as to why they acted/felt as they did, as if the author was ticking boxes for what needed to be covered in as brief a time as possible so he could move on to the next part.

It was really obvious where the characters personal stories were heading, as probably there wasn't enough space to be more subtle. It almost felt as if there was too much story for such a relatively small book, even though it was 573 pages long. The author was trying to put as much detail in as possible about too many situations, which meant there weren't all the details there could have been in the book to make it a great read rather than just an easy light enjoyable read which did not especially linger in my thoughts after it had ended.

I would recommend reading it if you want an undemanding adventure story that will introduce you to a fascinating period in history.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Sword and Scimitar, 21 Nov 2012
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Hardcover)
I have read all of the eagle series and the revolution series and loved them both. The eagle series in particular is one of my favourites. This book is quite dire in comparison. You don't have any feeling towards the one dimensional characters and in fact rather boring. The plot plods along and the twists are predictable in the end. I respect scarrow a lot by taking a piece of history that is not well known but he could have done SO much better because I know he can. Now i am looking forward to the next book of the eagle series which i hope is coming out soon...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good but slightly lacking, 19 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
I did enjoy the book and it kept me engaged (just about) until the end. However, the characters didn't really grab me and I had a bit of an issue with the dialogue as throughout I found myself thinking that no one would ever say some of the sentences. In general it was just a bit too simplistic and lacked the ability to really enthrall.
Still an interesting piece of history that was clearly well researched
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SS does it again, 12 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
There isn't a Simon Scarrow book that I haven't enjoyed. Another one I couldn't put down and demolished in just a few days.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant, Moving & Action Packed, 10 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
Simon Scarrow's latest tale is utterly masterful as we have come to expect from him!

I could not put it down and having never visited Malta I now cannot wait to go!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 6 Nov 2012
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Hardcover)
Sword and Scimitar is the new book from Simon Scarrow and is set during the epic siege of Malta in 1565. Pitching the vast Muslim armies of the Ottoman Empire against the Knights of St John, the last of the crusading religious orders.

The English Knight, Sir Thomas Barrett is summoned back to Malta 20 years after his disgrace and exile from the order. A soldier and mercenary, his expertise is badly needed if the tiny garrison is to hold back the Islamic horde. Sir Thomas's problem don't end with trying to survive the siege, he has to deal with his fellow knights who have never forgiven him for bringing disgrace to the order and he must also help an agent of a hostile English government retrieve a secret document that could bring down the government of Elizabeth I.

As the Knights and their allies prepare for the onslaught, Sir Thomas struggles to deal with the secrets and lies of his allies and enemies alike and one of those secrets will blow his world apart.

As the Islamic host descends onto the Island, he must put all that aside as the desperate fight begins. Asked to defend the strategically important fort of St Elmo for as long as possible he must use his expertise and skill to hold back the attackers.
As the attacks begin, the defenders know that if they fail to hold back the Ottoman army they will be slaughtered to the last man.

With the siege and fighting becoming ever more bitter, can this small band of Christian knights defy the might of the Ottoman emperor and save Europe from the terror of an Islamic invasion? Europe holds it breath as the outcome hangs by a thread.

I have been a fan of Simon Scarrow since the first Marco and Cato book and this book hasn't disappointed. Taking this pivotal but less well known episode of European history he has shown just how desperate the conflict between Christianity and Islam really was.

The siege is extremely well written and captures the desperation, bravery and fanaticism of both sides as they throw everything at each other in a bid to end the siege victorious. Scarrow doesn't choose sides and both sides are shown as barbaric and intolerant.

This book is more than just a book about war, it is also a mystery as Sir Thomas tries to find the secret document that the English government is desperate to find.

In Sir Thomas, Scarrow has created a great character who has lived a life in the shadows since his disgrace but on his return to Malta finds redemption and a new reason to live. With a good supporting cast you get a good sense of the comradeship as men live a life of terror, bloodshed and death.

One thing I really enjoyed was Scarrow's use of famous speeches, which he has adapted for the book. I won't tell you which ones but I'm sure you will recognize them!

I really enjoyed this book and it is a shame it is just a one off. Mr Scarrow has delivered again.
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Sword and Scimitar
Sword and Scimitar by Simon Scarrow
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