The Mediterranean island of Malta was for many years a strategic point on the map during times of conflict: in 1565 the civilisation of Malta faced the prospect of complete annihilation by the armies of the Ottoman Empire. Simon Scarrow’s latest book Sword & Scimitar gives an excellent fictional account on what was happening at the time of the conflict between the divided nations of Europe and the Ottomans.
It is 1545 and the individual nations of Europe are at each other’s throats, mistrusting of one another. The Sultan of the Ottoman Empire spots his best chance of capturing Malta and his aim is to eradicate the last of the Order of St John, who to his insult captured of one of his beloved warships.
The reader is introduced to a young knight of St John’s order, Sir Thomas Barrett, a quick thinking and ferocious warrior in the heat of battle. After the capture of a trade ship from the Corsairs, valuable cargo is discovered, and Sir Thomas makes a dreadful error of judgement that sees him exiled in disgrace.
After a lonely time spent back in England with a few adventures as a mercenary for other campaigns, Sir Thomas is contacted by the order, requesting his aid in the defence of Malta. However, the advisors of Queen Elizabeth have heard that he is returning, and so task him (with the help of one of their men) to recover a valuable document concealed on the Island.
What should be a matter of defence with reinforcements from Spain suddenly becomes a fight for survival unaided. The Order of St John and their Maltese allies must face overwhelming odds, with no sign of help on the horizon. Scarrow has written a fine stand-alone novel about the plight of the Order of St John and Malta. The detail of what happened during the siege of this island is covered brilliantly, and with such detail you can almost imagine you are there and fighting with the knights to survive.
If you liked the novels of Macro and Cato, or have an interest in the war between Europe and the Ottomans at the time, this book is perfect for you.
Simon Scarrow’s Sword and Scimitar is another gripping brilliantly researched adventure that you won’t want to put down until you have finished reading it!