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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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sword and Scimitar, Simon Scarrow- Book Review, 5 Nov 2012
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Hardcover)
Simon Scarrow is back with his brand new novel the Sword and Scimitar! The book is based around the Ottoman/Turk invasion of Malta in 1565 and tells the tale of an English Knight called Thomas. Thomas is part of the Templar Order of St. John that has its base on Malta. However, as a young man Thomas is exiled from the order because of a love affair he has with a young noble woman who is in the Order's protection.

Thomas returns home to England and lives out the next twenty years of his life on his small land holding. But, one day a French Knight turns up at Thomas's farm with a summons from the Order's new leader, telling Thomas to return to Malta to help fight off the imminent Ottoman threat. He decides that he will return to Malta, but not to help fight the Turks, but in the vain hope that his love (Maria) will still be there. Unluckily for Thomas, the French Knight has been noticed by the authorities in London and Thomas has to travel there to explain why a Catholic, French Knight has been in correspondence with a Catholic English Knight, in what is now a Protestant Kingdom. Thomas is confronted by Robert Cecil and explains about his summons back to the Order. Cecil seizes this opportunity and sets Thomas a mission to receive an important document that was lost in Malta with the death of Henry VIII. To aid him in this mission, Cecil sends one of his best agents called Richard to act as Thomas's squire and to look for the document. What Thomas and Richard don't know is that their coming together is not a coincidence, but part of a thorough plan of the Queen of England's spymaster.

When the duo reaches Malta, they soon discover that finding the document is the least of their worries. They will have to fight the hardest battle of their lives to help the small Christian garrison stem the flow of the Ottoman horde that looks to conquer the whole of Europe! Plus, enemies within the Order of St. John will make it harder for Richard to find the document and Thomas to find Maria.

This was an excellent book from Simon Scarrow and shed some light on a period of history that I was not that familiar with, but which defined the era of conflict between Christianity and Islam. The story was also interesting because it told the tale of a Catholic Knight living in Elizabethan England. It showed the dual loyalties to both the crown and the church which many Catholics had, but which over the centuries were discriminated against because they were seen (by Protestants) as been only loyal to the Pope. The story of the siege was also brilliant and extremely detailed, telling of the new war techniques, which both sides used as warfare moved away from sword, shield and bow, to gun, cannon and pike.

However, I did have one issue with this book and that was the ending; it seemed to drag! I personally think if Scarrow ended the book a hundred pages earlier then it would have been much better. I thought the last hundred pages really didn't need to be there, it sort of reminded me of a movie when it cuts to black and you think `that's the ending' but then it goes on for another thirty minutes which doesn't really need to be there.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy the book and would suggest it to any Simon Scarrow fans. I would also suggest it to fans of C. J. Sansom's Shardlake series because they are both set in the Tudor period and both revolve around a mystery.

For more great book reviews google adam-p-reviews.
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3.0 out of 5 stars SWORD AND SCIMITAR by Simon Scarrow, 18 Jun 2014
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
A disgraced English crusader knight is recalled to Malta to help the Order of St John in the Great Siege of 1565 against an invasion by the Ottoman Turks, only to find himself caught up in intrigue and his romantic past.

There have been a lot of books about the Great Siege of Malta recently and sadly this untypically mediocre book by Simon Scarrow repeats most of their bad elements, not least the atheist boilerplate as the hero (inevitably) loses his faith.

Anyone religious is painted as a bigoted zealot, whilst the hero gets all 21st century and tolerant. Added to this is a pointless intrigue plot, a tepid love triangle, an obvious plot twist and a lack of any real romantic sensibility.

It doesn't help that there's no real villain to boo, or that Scarrow is overwhelmed by the size of the siege - at one point having his hero in a fever for eight weeks in order to speed things up - and that his research is a bit dodgy.

The first half passes quickly enough but the rest is a slog because it's neither believable nor exciting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars top drawer, 17 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
Yet another excellent historical tale of daring from Simon Scarrow. Right up there with his very best. Knew very little about the siege of Malta before reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great stand alone story, 5 May 2014
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
Having read this just after visiting Malta - it is wonderful to be able to picture the locations described in the book and link this to the fortresses and museum pieces (arms and armour) in Valletta and Mdina.

The main protagonist's challenges/difficulties in being a Catholic in Protestant England add to the interest, along with the battles, sieges, bloodshed and grim conditions based on historic events.
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5.0 out of 5 stars re simon scarrow, 10 April 2014
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
its a first class read couldn't put it down, I have read many of his books and this one
certainly comes up to the mark.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written historical drama, 8 Mar 2014
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
I have to admit that this book isn’t set in a historical period that previously has interested me. In particular I know very little about the history of Malta, and it isn’t something I’ve come across previously.
1565.. Malta.. The Knights of the Order of St John are under attack from the ever increasing Ottoman empire. Stranded on the island, the knights are recalling as many as they can to help support them against the Turkish forces. In their desperation, they ask Sir Thomas Barrett back to the island. Sir Thomas was sent away from the island, and the Order, in disgrace, and whilst there are those who are pleased to see him return, the past is not dead and buried and the events leading up to his disgrace have not gone away with time. Sir Thomas will discover he is also fighting enemies from within the order as well as from the sea.
Whilst I can’t say with any honesty that the book has got me interested in that particular time, I did enjoy the opportunity to read a book set in a background which isn’t familiar to me. Whilst I perhaps wouldn’t necessarily want to read another similar book, I was impressed with the way the writer managed to convey the historical and geographical information without it appearing too slow and cumbersome. The characters were well written and believable and I felt drawn into the story.
This is definitely a case of a well written book able to draw the reader into a book which they may not have chosen to read ordinarily.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I read many authers Simon Scarrow is one of best, 24 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
I am now reading my 7th simon scarrow book. All of them have a five star rating and keep you fascinated the whole time. They are hard to put down once started.
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2.0 out of 5 stars strong main character is not enough, 16 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
A lot of action, but not enough tension. A decent historical thriller, but no more than that. Too much fighting.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling, 14 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Kindle Edition)
a well written story with an excellent account of the defence of Malta.
The story keep one interested throughout Never a dull moment
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, exciting, exciting, 31 Jan 2014
By 
Keith Lawson (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sword and Scimitar (Paperback)
An author who has a long record of delivering cracking tales does not fail here. The story of Sir Thomas Barrett, Knight Templar, and the siege of Malta by the Moslem army attempting to wipe out Christianity, is told with gripping detail. I look forward to a sequel, as Scarrow has provided us with interesting characters who could go on to have adventures in Elizabethan England.
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Sword and Scimitar by Simon Scarrow
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