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on 7 April 2013
I had vaguely heard of the Knights of St John, and had never heard of the siege of Malta, which aparrently was infuential in us not all being Muslims today. It is set at the time when Elizabeth I was on the throne, and shortly before the Armada sailed for Britain. The Knights of St John are all that stand between Christianity and the Turkish Sultan's hordes. Besieged in their castles on the island of Malta they defy one of the best military forces in the world.

Those familar with the work of Simon Scarrow will know they can trust his story telling and the book moves at a fast pace, though never fails to provide the depth of detail that history nerds like me enjoy.
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on 14 January 2015
Having listened to Simon Scarrow on a book tour and also having just returned from Malta, I decided to give this a go. It's certainly full of action, but at times I found the description of battles and fights difficult to imagine. It just wasn't building a picture in my head. Still I would recommend this if you are interested in the history of Malta and the Knights Templers.
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on 29 November 2012
Very enjoyable read as expected from Simon Scarrow. The siege of Malta is a fascinating and heroic historical event. An epic movie should be made to reach and educate a wider audience. The fictional characters are very credible and supported by real historical characters all create a very tense, dramatic and action-packed story. The plot is abit drab which is why I gave 4 and not 5 stars. But when it comes to the siege, it is extremely well described. Good to see Simon Scarrow strive away from Macro and Cato and expand his excellent writing skills to other genres.
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on 1 September 2016
I have visited Malta many times and have read about the historical facts. This book brings the siege alive. It is easy to distinguish the fictional characters from historical facts. A good read.
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on 9 October 2013
I have just enjoyed a holiday in the sun with the Sword and the Scimitar. Simon Scarrow is at his best with a gripping and fast moving story which helped to fill in an interestingly defiant and tragic period in the history of Malta. Having visited Valletta's harbours I was able to visualise the dramatic setting for the epic siege that took place in the 16th century. I found the theme of the Knights of the Order of St John involvement in the brutal siege interesting which has roused my interest in the Order and which I hope to investigate further. I found myself intrigued by the relationships between the main characters as all was not as it first seemed and the internal struggle in the challenge of religious beliefs in a violent and merciless world. Another thoroughly thought provoking Scarrow feast.
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on 9 December 2012
i must say ive been reading all of simons work for the past three years after taking a great intrest in his books three years ago my first being "the fields of death" as the first one i read of his work then worked my way through them all , i believe this book was great it started slow, not negetive though people, slow because it took me a while to get to grip with the time period, as im not too knowledgeable about that period but once i started each new chapter it got harder and harder to put the book down, yes some pradictable outcomes but thats what people do they try and work out whats gonna happen. to conclude its a great read simon has dont everyone a great honour to the order of st john by writing this and its brilliant, good job simon cany a wait for the next one
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on 19 June 2017
Loved the book which I read in almost one sitting overlooking Valletta Harbour. Clearly well researched but a compulsive story.
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on 14 June 2013
If this is your first Simon Scarrow novel then you will enjoy it as it has all the elements of a good story. However, after reading all of his Roman stories I was a little disappointed hence the 4 star rating. It didn't have the intrigue and excitement of the Macro and Cato novels but then again they are about different eras of history and this new novel is based more closely on fact which I suppose restricts his poetic licence. Having said that, I still enjoyed it.
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on 23 January 2013
As usual with Simon Scarrow's books I thoroughly enjoyed this latest one. It moves very quckly and the battle scenes are beautifully crafted, albeit very bloody.
I do agree with one of the reviews in that Cecil and Walsingham are very one dimentional whereas from what I have read they are complex characters.
At the end I wanted a sequel to see how Richard fared in England.
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on 8 January 2013
This book is a great read which almost allows me to forgive Scarrow for not focussing on further Roman SF tales - Macro et al.
The siege of Malta is a little recognised story in contemporary times and the history was well set out. The relationship between the two main characters was well plotted and the action is good. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it without reservation, well perhaps one reservation - Scarrow is less than fair to Walsingham - an outstanding 'C'/'M' of his day who successfully defended the realm.
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