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on 29 June 2011
I have between 90-110 "History Novels" on my shelf including C. Iggulden, S. Scarrow, Ben Kane,J. Ludlow, D. Gemmel (Troja series), ect.. Having had those reading experiences which were all ranging from good to excellent, I have no trouble rating this book FANTASTIC. I was entertained from start to end, and have only had few reading experiences where I was so sad that there were no more pages when it was well past 3 am in the morning. I was entertained by the Atilla series, but I was captivated by this one. If you are looking for that historical action read that will keep you in you chair till its finished, or one to forget that you are on a plane with bad food and worse passengers, this is it. I cant wait for his next one.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 June 2011
I bought this title with some trepidation, William Napier started what seemed like a great series about Attila the Hun, the first book was a breathlessly breakneck paced book With well written characters and a great plot, then it was followed up with book 2 of the series, that had a Tom bombadil effect of making me think he had been smoking weed when he wrote it, it oozed bizarre mysticism and spoiled the type of series it had started out as, it was like book one had miss advertised the series.
Book 3 recovered it a bit but not totally.
So Clash of empire....fantastic, well written, great plot, great pace and a subject that's not swamped right now in the genre. I loved it, and really recommend it i just hope this isn't going to be a repeat, lets keep it as is, blood guts action story and great writing.

Well recommended

Product Description (from back of Book)
1565: a small island in the middle of the Mediterranean stands gatekeeper between East and West. It is about to become the scene for one of the most amazing stories of bravery, battle and bloodlust: the siege of Malta. Formed in the Holy Land in the 11th century, a small band of knights had long sought a home. Driven from their lands by Ottoman might, they came to rest in Malta from where they watched the Turks and corsairs raid the Spanish empire. As word came from Constantinople that Malta was in the sights of the Ottoman Empire, all of Europe watched as a force of over 30,000 men besieged the island - itself only peopled by only 500 knights and a few thousand local soldiers. On that small rock an epic struggle will be played out - the story of individual men, warriors and slaves, but also the story of two worlds colliding.
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on 16 June 2011
Exhausting, because it kept me up til after 2am reading! But brilliant. William Napier tells one small but compelling episode in the great clash between Europe and the world of Islam in the sixteenth century, and the unbelievably heroic defence of Malta. The Ottoman Turks attacked with an army of tens of thousands, maybe 40,000 in all, determined to get their hands on the finest harbour in the Mediterranean, Malta's own Grand Harbour. They were resisted by no more than a thousand Knights of St John at most, the last of the old Crusading orders. Napier really scores in his characterisation, with two runway English boys and two redoubtable knights in Sir Edward Smith and Sir John Stanley, and also in showing how when a city is besieged its the whole civilian populace that gets caught up in it. This is powerful blood-and-thunder relentless stuff, a desperately brave tale which is ultimately very moving, and an absolute page-turner. Loved it.
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on 25 June 2012
I read my favourite ever book about 2 years ago. It was The Religion by Tim Willocks. This book shares the same subject matter. The siege of Malta. The Religion was a darker, grittier and more viseral experience with poetic writing.

Although this is pretty dark and gory its almost "The Religion Lite" not least because its about a 1/3 the length. The Siege of Malta has it all a massive army of "bad guys" against a plucky hugely outnumbered defence (think Zulu on a bigger scale) so its great for authors to turn their hand to and this is a very good offering. Its encouraged me to buy Mr Napiers others so I'll see how I get on with them. To those that are amazed at the super hero qualities of the main protagonist, how else can you show the true scale of the events without having a character everywhere?

Give this a go if military historical fiction is your thing. If literature is your passion though read Tim Willocks first.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 December 2011
I received this book (hardcover version) very shortly after it was published, read it, mostly enjoyed it, but then failed to write a review, mainly because I had been rather disapointed. I decided to do so largely because I simply cannot agree with the statement made by some reviewers that Napier is "back to his best". The best was the first in his Attila's series, which, as many others, I have also read. It very much remains so. This book, while exciting, does not compare well with it, simply because it is let down and spoilt by its main character and with the author's excessive attempts to portray a boy as a "super-hero".

The "hero" is a totally implausible 16-year old, whose heroïc actions during the siege, after a few days training on board a ship on its way from England to Rhodes, are such as to almost overshadow the real deeds of the Knights, infantry and town militia. At times, I had the impression of reading an adventure story for teenagers. Since this was not what I was expecting, I got rather annoyed. As for the (historical) death of Dragut, possibly the most capable Ottoman commander during the siege, our hero had, of course, historically nothing to do with it.

This is a pity because these flaws tend to distract from some much better pieces and this is why I would rate the book three stars, despite having been so critical). One is the depiction of La Valette, which fitted to the image I had of him, from his surrender at Rhodes, where he was one of the Order's young Knights, to his role in the defense of Malta. This ageing and fanatical warrior (or a few others) would have made a much more plausible (if less "sexy") hero, especially since the siege was essentially the fight that he has been preparing himself for during most of his life, in fact ever since the Order had to leave Rhodes. Another piece which would have been of interest, instead of only focusing (once again) on the siege, would have been to write the story of what happened to the Order specifically, and in the Mediterranean, more generally, between the fall of Rhodes (1522) and the siege of Malta over 40 years latter (1565). Something like a romanced version of Roger Crowley's Empires of the Sea build around La Valette would, in my mind, have been much better...
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on 4 October 2011
Having read Ernle Bradford's Classic - The Great Siege I was more than keen to indulge in a little recreational reading of a novel set during that great struggle.
However I quickly realised that this effort is no more than interposing the 'main character' into the various situations as described by Bradford.
Here is where it gets tricky - the main character is an untrained youth who receives some basic training during his sea voyage to Malta where he is able to best seasoned Ottoman even Jannisary soldiers by the simple expedient of being 'very fast'with a sword.
The bit where the Ottoman commander 'Dragut' is killed by an exploding gun which he is directing at our hero whilst he swims between St Elmo and St Angelo is frankly laughable - at this point I abandoned the read and shall say no more about it !
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on 19 July 2012
I downloaded this book with no great expectation and within ten minutes of reading I was totally absorbed and sucked in. Around I found I was still reading and I was only half way through and I was really sad that common sense took over and I left the rest to be read next day. Great story although a bit fanciful. Rich characters instantly likeable. Just a great yarn about one of the major turning points in history. Great new hero comes to the fore.
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on 11 December 2011
Shame this epic novel of extraordinary courage and heroism lost its credibility through the unnecessary presence of a "superboy". Highly unlikely that a 16 year old boy becomes a savage killer of men and singlehandedly kills half the besieging Ottoman battle hardened troops. I can understand the author needing to have a fictional character to link up with the historical authentic characters present at the siege, but to have Nicholas involved in every single phase of the great siege, killing countless enemy soldiers and saving numerous lives, this after receiving a mere few days sword training during the voyage to Malta, seems farfetched to say the least. I still gave this book four stars because of the fast pace, great action and thrills. Although the latter part of the book describing the siege of St Angelo, seemed hurried and rushed. Just a shame the author chose to portray this "boy" as a superhuman heroe providing him with far too much focus and attention whilst other great characters remained in the background and were not fully developed. I hope that now Nicholas will go on to have more adventures as he matures telling the story of his revenge on the people who caused the death of his father back in England.
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on 9 August 2011
Couldn't put it down. I feel sorry for the author. Probably spent months or years writing it and I devoured it in hours.
Loved the characters and hope to meet them again - will there be a sequel? I missed the Attila crew when I finished that trilogy so I hope to get more of this lot.
Great book for a long boring journey. It would go by in a flash.
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on 22 June 2015
1565 and the great Sultan Suleiman, ruler of the vast and powerful Ottoman Empire has set his sights on conquering Western Europe. The gateway to the Western Mediterranean is the island of Malta with its excellent harbour. Malta is overseen by the Knights of St John, old enemies of Suleiman but he defeated them in Rhodes and can defeat them again, in order to make this happen he assembles the greatest war armada ever seen. Aware of the impending crisis the Knights send word across Europe asking for support and rallying their former allies and colleagues. In Protestant England the young Catholic Nicholas Ingoldsby has just seen his father killed and his family ruined but, finding that his father was a former Knight of St John, he travels to Malta to aid the cause.

This is the second book I have read this year about the siege of Malta after Tim Willocks' 'The Religion', both are very much about war and battles rather than any engaging fictional narrative. In this case the plot (outside of historical fact) is clumsy, Nicholas abandons his sisters to the poor house, leaves the country and from then on there is no further mention of them. Similarly the 'romance' seems very contrived. In addition we are led to believe that Nicholas is a skilled fighter, outstanding swimmer and brilliant at picking up languages, straight from the get-go. However that's where my cynicism far as a contribution to the genre goes, this is a thrilling depiction of war and the triumph of the few over the many. A jolly escapist romp.
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