36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Brutal, Realistic and Gritty,
This review is from: The Religion (Hardcover)
After being sent a proof copy of this book I must admit to looking forward to reading it. There had been a lot of positive buzz on this book and I could not wait to see what the fuss was about.
Set in 1565 this novel revolves around the fact that Suleiman the Magnificent, Emperor of the Ottomans would like nothing better than to wipe the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem from the face of the earth. With this in mind he dispatches the largest flotilla in time immemorial to accomplish this task and so the scene is set for one of the most vicious sieges the world has ever known. Whilst this is going on a noblewoman desperately wants to return to the Island, to the Fortress of the Knights, to search for her lost child, an attempt that has been in vain until she requests the help of infamous fortune-hunter to help her run the blockade in set in place. Meanwhile a member of the Spanish Inquisition seeks to imprison her and will do anything in his sadistic grip to capture her.
This is all set around one of the most harrowing and epic sieges in antiquity. A word of warning this book is not for the faint of heart, from the gory prologue to the end of the book there is a lot of violence and blood. Tim Willocks captures the very essence of what it was like to live and breathe in this time and he brings this to the page perfectly which makes for a gripping read. Once I reached the Siege sequence I was very hard put to leave the book. That was possibly one of the greatest parts of any novel I have ever read creating scenes so epic that I was hard put for a comparison to anything I have ever read. Tim Willocks must have put a huge amount of time into researching the time as well as the Siege of Malta as he grasps every historical detail drawing the reader in. There are elements of religion as the events in this book resonate in today's world as much as they did 500 years ago.
What I loved most was the set of characters that drive the story forward from Mattias Tannhauser who really is a product of circumstances beyond his control to the vile and evil Inquisitor Ludovico Ludovici. Each one of these characters has had a lot of time and effort put into them which really sums up the whole book. Tim Willocks has worked hard to create a gripping and very realistic tale set around a brutal time where it was survival of the strongest.