Ash Fall

A Novel of the Knights of Malta

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Fate meets fire. The world ignites.

1565. Malta stands on the precipice of one of the bloodiest battles in history. An elite Ottoman army, 50,000 strong, prepares to depart Istanbul, the seat of the Empire. Deeply conflicted, Demir must sail alongside the host determined to conquer his mother’s homeland and crush the Order of St John once and for all. Testing his loyalty is the knowledge that Angelica, the half-sister he has never met, dwells on the tiny island.

As the Maltese garrison braces for the incoming storm, knights and civilians stand shoulder-to-shoulder on the walls. Domenicus and Robert volunteer for the ramparts of Fort St Elmo, the most precarious position on Malta. Angelica finds herself locked outside the city gates and scrambles to a hilltop citadel, where she helps establish a makeshift infirmary. Katrina takes up a bow and stands a post, shielding her town as the Ottoman tide crashes against it.

For several blood-soaked months, Malta is the stage upon which fierce combat rages. Heads are fired from cannons, field hospitals set ablaze, knights crucified, and soldiers melted where they stand. As the land exhales swirling ash, and narrow streets choke on rubble, no one escapes the fiery currents of war unscathed. The body count surges. Hope scatters with the smoke. Outflanked and outnumbered, can the defence hold out until a much-delayed relief force arrives from Sicily?


Fenech’s trilogy is based on the Great Siege of 1565, a culmination of the hostility between the Knights of St John and the Ottoman Sultan. The ongoing conflict incites the collision of two great empires, intertwining the fates of characters separated by faith, loyalties, and vast distance. Eight Pointed Cross is set two decades before the Great Siege of 1565 and features the lesser-known but decisive 1551 Siege of Gozo. Falcon’s Shadow picks up in the immediate aftermath and sweeps from quarry pits to sprawling estates, tumultuous seas to creaking gallows, the dungeons beneath the bishop’s palace to the open decks of warships.

Born in Toronto to Maltese parents, Fenech has travelled to sixty-five countries across six continents. She has a Master’s degree in Education and teaches high school English and history. While completing research for her novels, she took up archery and accidentally became a licenced coach. A former kickboxing instructor, she surfs, snowboards, scuba-dives, climbs, skydives, throws axes, and practices yoga—which may sometimes include goats or puppies. Fenech is happy to chat about her books, research, travels, and inspirations.

Visit the author’s website

Great Siege

Additional information

Weight 670 g
Dimensions 23 × 15 cm
Language English
Year of publication
Pages 480
ISBN 9789918211609

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