The violent clash between the Ottoman Empire and the Knights of St John on the island fortress of Malta serves as the backdrop to Eight-Pointed Cross. Young siblings Domenicus and Katrina Montesa live under constant threat of raids by the Ottoman Turks, the staunchest enemies of the Christian knights. All the while, hundreds of leagues away in Istanbul, Demir’s dream of becoming an imperial horseman in the Sultan’s cavalry is his only salvation against relentless torment by his cruel brother.
The Turkish invasion of Malta and the island’s bloody defence will forever change the lives of the three protagonists, whose fates are intertwined not only with each other, but with nobles and peasants, knights and corsairs, tyrants and gally slaves, on both sides of the conflict as the novel sweeps across the Mediterranean world of the sixteenth century – from Malta, a barren Christian outpost, to Istanbul, the glittering seat of Islam, from filthy prison cells to lush palace gardens.
Against soaring cliffs and open sea-lanes, the men and women of Eight-Pointed Cross face corruption and oppression, broken vows and betrayal, as two great empires collide. Surviving this battle-soaked world of swords and scimitars will test the limits of every character’s courage, loyalty, and love.
“A truy enjoyable read. Intimately accurate to the period. This book shows a deep level of research and is truly absorbing. Especially pleasant since it shows the common people’s experiences and their relationship with their conquerors in the build up to a large scale event which is the Great Seige of Malta! I find myself eagerly waiting for a sequel!! Well Done.”
“The author’s exquisite writing is absolutely captivating from start to finish. I simply cannot wait until Marthese pens her next masterpiece because this story truly stole my heart away! Eight Pointed Cross is an extraordinary book so be sure to check it out – you won’t be disappointed!”
“Crystal-clear descriptive language … Ms Fenech has recreated the compelling world of the Montesa family of Malta and the Knights of St John as though she time-travelled back to the sixteenth century to do her research. An impressive debut!”
Karen Connelly, author of The Lizard Cage
“I believed every minute of it.”
Carol Rasmussen, former book review editor at Library Journal
“Eight Pointed Cross has all the ingredients that I consider important in a novel: a gripping plot, engaging, believable characters, stunning description, violence, love, sex, remarkable psychological insight, historical detail… The first English literary critic, Sir Phillip Sidney, wrote that the purpose of literature was to teach and to delight. I learned much from Eight Pointed Cross. And the internal struggles of characters such as Augustine and Franco lend depth and substance to the characterization. A more recent literary giant, William Faulkner, in his speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950, opined that the only thing worth writing about is the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself. You, Ms. Fenech, have passed both of these tests with flying colours.”
John Heighton, reader for the Porcupine’s Quill
“Over the decades I have read many novels with Malta as their setting. Eight Pointed Cross is the first one I have found to be accurate and factual in all of its cultural and historical details, while at the same time, having a thrilling and exciting plot depicted from both sides of the warring factions. Marthese Fenech is phenomenal!”
Knight Commander Richard S. Cumbo, Order of St. John, and Curator of the Maltese-Canadian Museum in Toronto
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