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Clash of Empires: The Great Siege by William…
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Clash of Empires: The Great Siege (2011)

by William Napier

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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 stops...as 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. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
Hard to put down.
  Coasting | Feb 4, 2013 |
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In memory of Steven Thorn 1965-2003 Best of flatmates, best of friends
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My father always told me that there are two things you need to be a great historian.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 031259898X, Paperback)

The dawn of the 5th century AD, and the Roman Empire totters on the edge of the abyss. Already divided into two, the Imperium is looking dangerously vulnerable to her European rivals. The huge barbarian tribes of the Vandals and Visigoths sense that their time is upon them.

But, unbeknownst to all these great players, a new power is rising in the East. A strange nation of primitive horse-warriors has been striking terror on border peoples for fifty years. But few realise what is about to happen. For these so called 'Huns' now have a new leader. And his name is Attila - 'the Scourge of God.'

Thus begins a saga of warfare, lust and power which brought the whole of the Christian world to its knees - and ended in blood on the fields of France. It is a story of two men: Attila the Hun and Aetius the Roman. One who wanted to destroy the world, and one who fought one final battle to save it...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:15 -0400)

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"The Knights of St John have made the rock their home. Centuries ago, Ottoman might expelled them from the holy land and now their old foe is near again. Thousands are coming to besiege this tiny island, with only a few hundred knights and local soldiers to stand in their way. Far away on English shores, Nicholas Ingoldsby knows nothing of the ties that bind him to this sun-parched land. But as all of Europe looks on, a few men will answer the Knights' call to arms. On that small rock an epic struggle with be played out - the story of men, warriors and slaves, but also the story of two worlds colliding"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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