This novel is wonderful. It has the perfect blend of historical detail, emotional depth, and action/intrigue.
The novel is set in the mid-1500s, on the island of Malta, during military aggression between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St John. The story features some battle scenes but mainly follows the life of two siblings (Domenicus and Katrina), who are well-off peasants. There are also some chapters devoted to Demir, a young boy living in Istanbul under a powerful and tyrannical father.
As much as the battle scenes are exciting and uncensored for violence, the life of the two siblings is the most fascinating part of the novel, as we are shown in detail how “regular” people lived in that time period. We are exposed to how they are constrained by the Order of Knights socially (in terms of gender roles and class) and physically threatened by raiding pirates and the Turkish invaders. Yet, the Turks are not vilified - both cultures are shown to be suffering from militant ideology and corruption.
The characters are well-developed and you care deeply about what happens to them.
There is just enough exposition of the culture, landscape and historical data to paint a vivid picture but not enough to get boring. Despite the length of the book, I couldn’t put it down.
Great Historical Fiction and Wonderful Characters2020年5月25日にカナダでレビュー済み
The book is an absolute gem. I have read a few novels of historical fiction and would rank this near the top. I was taken by the characters themselves and really could visualize the life and times of the people Mar has introduced us to. It was really easy to become emotionally attached to the lives of the people we meet and I have become invested in the characters. I did not know much of the history of the Knights of St. John, as much as I know about the Templar Knights (and even that is not too much), and so it was wonderful to be introduced to them. It has inspired me to look into the history of the Knights of St. John so that I can learn even more about them. I am very much looking forward to reading more from this author and these characters,
Devouring this lesson in Maltese history!2020年4月7日にカナダでレビュー済み
As soon as I began reading this I knew I wouldn't be able to put it down. Marthese has created these characters beautifully and from the first three paragraphs I was smitten with her command of the English language. History has never been a page turner for me until I began reading this book.
Thank you Mar!
Thank you Mar!
Best Historical Fiction I've Read in a Decade2020年4月12日にカナダでレビュー済み
The Eight Pointed Cross is the best historical fiction novel I’ve read in a decade. Absolutely fantastic. But be warned, Mar Fenech's storytelling grabs both her readers and her characters by the jugular from the getgo and won’t let you take a peaceful breath until the very end. And then, like me, you’ll beg for more. Now, when can I get part 2? Please!
Mid - 1500s Novel set in Malta a great read, especially if you enjoy Maltese history2020年11月17日にカナダでレビュー済み
The author has done a tremendous job at mixing a fictional story with accurate history for this time period. As a Maltese citizen (living in Canada), I was able to picture in my mind the settings & landscapes of the island as I have visited there often. I was very invested in the characters lives and was interested to see how they were affected by the challenges of the time. Now into book #2 ... Falcon's Shadow and it picks up directly after the conclusion of book #1.