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The Religion Paperback – 3 May 2007
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"Macho, sexy, profoundly bloody and concerned with spiritual salvation. This wondeful adventure story is also an unavoidably resonant meditation on the power of religion to incite war... The Religion contains some beautiful prose" (The Sunday Telegraph)
"With a slow-burning pace and a knack for a cliffhanger, Willocks builds the tension terrifically amid graphic slaughter and velvet-gloved treachery . . . paints its broad strokes with inventiveness and intelligence" (Time Out)
"A gripping story with reliable factual underpinnings" (Times Literary Supplement)
"A novel of high adventure, blood, guts and romantic love . . . as master craftsman, [Willocks] tells his story with extraordinary pace" (Literary Review)
"This sprawling epic brims with religious passions, political intrigue and steamy romance. A thrilling plot" (Library Journal)
They lived for it. They fought for it! They died for it!See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Quick warning if you don't like bloody graphic violence then this is not for you. However on the other hand...
This is quite simply brilliant and I would recommend it to anyone.
It is centered mainly around the siege of Malta in the 16th century when the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent decided to once and for all do away with the Knights Hospitallers, aka the Knights Of St John. These knights are also known as The Religion, but to the Ottomans they are regarded as fiends from hell and worse.
While this might appear to be the central story, it is not. For a disgraced noble woman Carla has entered into a bargain with a former Janissary now turned merchant Mattias Tannhauser, to find her missing son.
So while falling in love with Carla and her companion which could of been a love triangle but is not. For reasons that can only be explained if you read this book. Mattias looks for her son. Yet again something that could be a fairly straight forward plot arc running through the book is taken to new levels once MT has found the wayward boy. The boy's real father is also on the island looking for his son and for reasons of his own, he has come to hate MT and his companions.
So with a plot that has numerous levels, sieges, love triangles, betrayals, rescues, the dreaded inquisition looking to unseat the head of the religion and far more. This is a very full book. In other hands it might of been a trilogy or more but here the writer as crammed it all into the one volume.The climax while extremely bloody and fast paced it has some extremely touching moments of redemption as well.
This is the first of a (I hope) planned trilogy that centers around MT. The second volume The 12 Children Of Paris is just as good... Bring volume 3 plz
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.
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.