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The Religion (Tannhauser Trilogy) by Tim…

The Religion (Tannhauser Trilogy) (original 2006; edition 2008)

by Tim Willocks

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Title:The Religion (Tannhauser Trilogy)
Authors:Tim Willocks
Info:Tor Classics (2008), Edition: Reprint, Mass Market Paperback, 688 pages
Collections:Your library, To read, Bookcrossed
Tags:fiction, tbr

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The Religion by Tim Willocks (2006)

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Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It got a little repetitive for my taste although I'm sure many books with a war base can, but it was never dull. I loved the characters and was particularly upset when a couple of them died, although I won't say who. The epilogue was absolutely perfect though. That was the best way this story could have ended, truth be told.

To be perfectly honest, I can't imagine this being a trilogy. I like it just the way it is. Anything after this seems extraneous. ( )
  cebellol | Jul 22, 2014 |
From the sublime to the ridiculous. But I figure the sublime earns four stars, without taint from ridiculous content. You don't get sublime often, do you?

Has a big dose of swashbuckler. When the swashbuckler’s in the cockpit this isn’t ‘real-feel’ historical, because Mattias Tannhauser has been everywhere, can do everything. I was comfortable with that, I’ve swashbuckled of old, the secret is don’t try too hard to believe.

It’s more realistic when it comes to the war, and most of the book is war, and that’s where he lifts to the sublime. He goes for broke on the writing. But if ever there’s a time to overwrite... other reviewers say that. How else to paint for us mad hell on earth, as is his intention, other than by his wild similes? Like this, like that – as he stretches for a phantasmagorical similar. Besides, if he didn’t, he’d only have his human pudding to talk about, and that would wear. I took the graphic depiction in my stride, never grossed out, did not suspect him of exploitation – and I can’t tell you why, when I not infrequently complain about cheap violence in histfic. Don’t know you can possibly get more violent than this one, but it’s done right – for me. As we went along I began to often think of WWI, I was transported back to my ‘WWI Lit’ class, perhaps the atmosphere or the intention was like that protest literature. On the other hand he doesn’t scrimp on the allures of war, the gallantry, the glory, the strange exhilarations: at an earlier stage I admired the book for that, for not being a 21st century anti-war tract. This novel, yes, has a stab at tackling religious war, I came to feel, as we saw sides and further sides to the subject. I liked La Valette, the head Knight of St John, even though he’s a crazed old loon: the knights of the Baptist were magnificent, the Turks were magnificent, I knew I’d fight for either cause, and Tannhauser, who tries not to be swept away, watches the glamour, of war, heroism, religion: both the glamours and the horrors absolutely presented in this book.

Then there are the bad bits. Badder than I can politely say is the romance. Think of the worst of romances. With the indulgent fantasy of a guy. And hopelessly, hopelessly sexist. That’s a pity, because when Carla is away from Mattias she has a story of her own, in the hospital – these are the Hospitallers, sworn to ‘serve the poor’, who call the sick ‘our lords’ – a story that moved me deeply. The other woman, Amparo, seemed unusual at first – until she hooked up with Mattias, then she sank without a trace for the rest of the book.

We have a sublime scene on the horror and the pity of war. Next we have a scene torn from a trashy romance. What a drop. I felt like the Moslems they hanged one a day, dropped from the castle walls. The strongest section, I thought, was the ‘Maltese Iliad’; the final drama was too melodrama. ( )
  Jakujin | May 13, 2013 |
[The Religion], an historical novel by [[Tim Willocks]], is set in Malta during the 1565 Seige of Malta, and follows the exploits of Mattias Tannhauser and his friends as they struggle to outwit Death at the hands of Suleiman Shah and the Ottoman army.

Tannhauser, a former soldier in the Ottoman Army, and his friend Bors of Carlisle, undertake a quest to find the missing-since-birth son of a beautiful countess, a quest which takes them into the heart of a war. While the plot is not quite unique, Mr. Willocks does a truly masterful job of creating the characters and telling the story very compellingly.

Tannhauser and Bors are your basic good-old-boys, really big good-old-boys - businessmen, soldiers, opportunists, advisors, realists and charmers. They love a good time but also have their own sense of morality. For them, it works well. Mr. Willocks' attention to character details is also demonstrated in most all of the other characters in the book. Villains have soft spots, heroes feel fear.

As for the action sequences, they are cohesive without the hint of being too fantastic. After a while, the descriptions of the fighting become repetitive.

It is a solidly "excellent" book for the historical-fiction aficionado. ( )
  Betty30554 | Sep 21, 2012 |
Excellent! The most compelling book I have read thus far. It actually allows the reader to see a vivid and clear picture of the blood, guts, seiges, sex, racisms, hates, loves, and also the drugs! Stones of Immortality..............hmmmmm. I just loved this book, and i recommend it to every avid reader out there. A must. ( )
  cesare_kennedy | May 31, 2011 |
Love and War are Double-Edged Blades

Mattias Tannhauser was 12 years old when he saw his home burned, his siblings slaughtered, his mother raped and killed. In a small village deep in the Hungarian mountains, the year is 1540, and is the time when the Turks are on the warpath intending to conquer as much of Europe as possible. Left alone after this massacre, hiding from the lurking Jannissary warriors, Mattias is saved from a similar fate by catching the eye of the Sultan’s number one guardian. He is taken in, renamed Ibrahim, and given a new life to be trained exclusively as one of Suleiman the Magnificent’s acclaimed assassins in the court of Constantinople.

Twenty five years later, now grown, he lives in Sicily. He is a free man, devoid of slavery, chooses no religion, and bows to no one. Trying to live a life in peace after two decades of death and destruction as a Jannissary, he wishes no part in the ensuing war that the Turks continue to march on, spilling blood in every direction. While quietly downing his nightly ale at his pub the Oracle, two of Tannhauser’s business partners approach Mattias with a new endeavor to bring the spice trade of pepper to Europe’s finest, a pact that the would ensure them wealth beyond their highest expectations. With hands shaken to seal the deal, they ready themselves to depart on the next ship out, but Mattias is at the last minute approached by an enchanting young fairy-like girl, a mysterious raven haired angel with two mix matched eyes that could enslave any man who dare look into them. She brings an urgent message that he is to accompany her to a nearby villa. Her mistress, a beautiful Sicilian Contessa has need of his expertise and assistance with a secret and dangerous mission.

Not one to shun the lure of a lady, Tannhauser decides he has time, and travels to the villa to hear her plea. Carla La Penautier greets Mattias warmly, and for Tannhauser it is love at first sight. Their initial conversation is that similar to a beautiful waltz as they flirt and flatter, an appetizer before sitting down to the final entre, the dance of death discussion that leaves him shocked in disbelief upon hearing what this lovely woman wishes him to do. She reveals her darkest secret, that as a young woman she bed with a monk. A lowly monk now turned powerful as the highest rank of Holy Inquisitor. A man of holy orders that left her pregnant, disgracing her family into shame, and leaving her father no option other than to deliver her to prison doors of the local convent after she bore a baby son. A son who was cruelly taken away from her within an hour after his birth. 12 years hence, she now wishes to find her son and knows he lives on the Island of Malta. A land seething in eminent war, an island ruled by the last branch of the Crusaders called the Hospitallers, the famous Knights of St. John, otherwise known as “The Religion”. Her quest is to save her son, a young man sure to be swept up into the bloody horrors of Turkey’s accursed jihad against the Maltese people.

Tannhauser quickly informs Carla that this is a suicide mission, that they would be walking into the very center of a battle foretold to be a bloodbath. The Turks are planning their final assault, the Island of Malta being a territory they have coveted for centuries. But hearing Carla’s story of a lonely 12 year old boy left to fend for himself and survive among beasts called men, he remembers his own story and in reaching into his heart and soul for compassion, agrees to what the Contessa asks. On one condition. If mission is accomplished, he will take her as wife. No bargaining, no questions asked, his only payment for services rendered.

This is a story of the last Crusade. This is the story of love and war , friendship and foes, hatred and betrayals. It is gruesome, gory, shocking, and a vivid portrayal of what humans will do to quench their thirst for greed and what they will do for God and love in their hour of death. This novel is graphic in detail of the horrors of war, and descriptive in all that comes with it. It is also a book of tenderness and love as one man struggles to pick one woman when he loves two, and struggles with the heartache of not choosing sides in the battles for both scimitar and sword. Mattias was born a Maltese, but was raised a Turk, he has prayed with Christians, bowed to the Muezzin call of Allah. For both sides he will volley cannonball and carnage, for both sides he will offer kindness and killing. He will be both savior and spy, he will be both merciful and a menace. As Ibrahim he will don a turban, as Tannhauser he will wear the red cross of the crusader. One man, two worlds, united in both heaven and hell as heart and soul are divided between both women and both countries.

For the most part I felt this was an extremely well written story and my only concern was that I believe it needed serious editing. At slightly over 600 pages, a good hundred pages or more could have been removed as the author became a little repetitious describing the many similar battle scenes in each location around the Island of Malta. Other than that, this is an exquisite portrayal of one man’s quest to find a lost boy, follow his heart in love, and to teach mankind that whether you pray to Allah, or Christ, we are all the same, we are nothing but mere small men in the infinite universe, and whether we be man or woman, child or elder, dark skinned or light, Muslim or Christian, our hearts beat as one. This is a blood and guts novel, not for the faint of heart, but I truly enjoyed the talented writing style, well developed story and learned a great deal about the history of the famous ( )
  vernefan | Dec 5, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Dejli telegraf je za prvi roman ovog autora, koji se pojavio 1994. godine, napisao da je najbolji triler otkad su se pojavili „Kad jaganjci utihnu”. Ovo je još jedan mračan istorijski roman epskih razmera. Toliko dinamičan da čitalac mora da ga pročita u dahu. Priča počinje u maju 1565. godine.

Otomanski sultan Sulejman Veličanstveni objavio je džihad vitezovima reda svetog Jovana Krstitelja. Najveća armada u istoriji sveta približava se hrišćanskom uporištu vitezova na Malti. Turci vitezove nazivaju Psima pakla. Sami vitezovi sebe zovu Religijom. Francuska grofica Karla le Penotije želi da sa Sicilije dođe na Maltu u potrazi za sinom, kog su joj oduzeli odmah po rođenju, dvanaest godina ranije. Jedini čovek dovoljno vešt i smeo da joj pomogne je rableovski najamnik, stameni saksonski pustolov Matijas Tanhauzer. On pristaje da pođe sa gospom na Maltu, gde, usred najmukotrpnije i najspektakularnije opsade u vojnoj istoriji, moraju da pronađu dečaka i izbave ga iz čeljusti svetog rata. Tim Viloks gradi svet iz koga se ne možete otrgnuti, spajajući strogu istorijsku preciznost Barbare Takman iz „Dalekog ogledala” sa literarnim genijem koji je Umberto Eko pokazao u delu „Ime ruže”.
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To Chaim Zvi Lipskar and the many other friends who helped to make this book.
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On the night the scarlet horsemen took him away -- from all he knew and all he might have known -- the moon waxed full in Scorpio, sign of his birth, and as if by the hand of God its incandescence split the alpine valley sheer into that which was dark and that which was light, and the light lit the path of devils to his door.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374248656, Hardcover)

This is what we dream of: to be so swept away, so poleaxed by a book that the breath is sucked right out of us. Brace yourselves.
May 1565. Suleiman the Magnificent, emperor of the Ottomans, has declared a jihad against the Knights of Saint John the Baptist. The largest armada of all time approaches the knights' Christian stronghold on the island of Malta. The Turks know the knights as the "Hounds of Hell." The knights call themselves "The Religion."
In Messina, Sicily, a French countess, Carla La Penautier, seeks passage to Malta in a quest to find the son taken from her at his birth twelve years ago. The only man with the expertise and daring to help her is a Rabelaisian soldier of fortune, arms dealer, former janissary, and strapping Saxon adventurer by the name of Mattias Tannhauser. He agrees to accompany the lady to Malta, where, amid the most spectacular siege in military history, they must try to find the boy--whose name they do not know and whose face they have never seen--and pluck him from the jaws of Holy War.
The Religion is the first book of the Tannhauser Trilogy, and from the first page of this epic account of the last great medieval conflict between East and West, it is clear we are in the hands of a master. Not since James Clavell has a novelist so powerfully and assuredly plunged readers headlong into another world and time. Anne Rice transformed the vampire novel. Stephen King reinvented horror. Now, in a spectacular tale of heroism, tragedy, and passion, Tim Willocks revivifies historical fiction.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:53 -0400)

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Carla, a French countess, enlists the aid of a German sword-for-hire when she travels from her home to Malta in search of the boy she gave up at birth twelve years ago, but they arrive just as the city is invaded by the Turks.

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