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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Red Rose, 11 Jun 2007
This review is from: The Religion (Paperback)
THE RELIGION by Tim Willocks.

Picture this.

It is the year 1565. The Emperor of the Ottomans has despatched a huge armada. They set sail to Malta. Where they will face the Christian Knights of St John of Jerusalem. What follows is a huge fictional account, penned by Tim Willocks. The Island of Malta is besieged. Against this mighty struggle between these two opposing armies, enters Mattias Tannhauser.

THE RELIGION is a powerhouse historical novel. The best I have ever read. The seven hundred plus pages, just raced.

Mattias Tannhauser is the central character. He is completely unique. He can be brutal. He can be as barbaric as the enemy he is fighting. Yet he possesses an amazing and deep sincerity. He would rate well, with many modern day fictional heroes. He can be and occasionally is, manipulating. He can be as ferocious as the occasion dictates. Perhaps, even more so to those he considers his enemy. But to his friends, to his comrades in arms, he is a man to be relied upon. To be trusted with their lives.

The battle scenes are, in parts, horrendously graphic. This is not a book for the squeamish. Yet again, the love that blossoms between Mattias and Carla, and his `blood red rose`, Amparu, reveal the deeply passionate and emotional side of his character.

The story is a quest. Carla, has asked Mattias, to locate her young son. He is currently on the island of Malta, shortly to be besieged by the Turks. The Christian Knights of St John, are determined never to let the Island fall, to the followers of Islam. Through this mayhem, at times fighting for the Christians, and other times, having to fight against them, Mattias endeavours to locate the boy.

I do end this review with some warnings. The first, be prepared to be utterly caught up in the exploits of Mattias, and his comrades and of the two women he loves. The second, be ready to be shocked at the way in which warfare in the 16th century was conducted. The third, Be prepared to shed a tear through parts of this book. I did. The last two chapters, especially, will stay with me a long time.

This is an enthralling novel.
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