Home » Fiction & Literature » Joe L Caruana MBE » THE IRON KNIGHT OF MALTA

September 10 , 2008



The author has written this novel with a sentimental feeling about the land of his ancestors, the Maltese people. A people who have shown remarkable courage and faith on many occasions in the history of the Mediterranean. The story of this book tells of their courage during the Great Siege of 1565, just as Voltaire said, “No siege is better known than that of the Great Siege of Malta.”The five-century-old religious fight between Christians and Muslims, known as the battle between the Cross and the Koran, drifted to the shores of Malta where the Order of St. John of Jerusalem had their headquarters. It produced many heroes and tyrants, several of these are the subject of our novel.The great Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, unchallenged emperor of the Great Ottoman Empire, tries to impose Islam over Christian Europe. During five centuries, the Christian Crusaders were slowly expelled from the Holy Land, and now the great Sultan drives out the Order of St. John of Jerusalem from their last stronghold, the fortress in the island of Rhodes. Then the battle shifts to the brave Island of Malta where its people play an important role in helping La Valette and the Order fight the Turks.Jean De La Valette, commander of the Orders Christian navy, knight-adventurer, and defender of the faith, engages famous Muslim pirates, like Barbarossa and Dragut Reis, and harasses on the huge Turkish navy. He seeks to recover the Holy Cross taken by the Saracens. The secret of a forbidden romance in the paradise island of Rhodes haunts this warrior monk of eighty-four battles—a unique man enslaved by the Saracens and then escapes. He is later elevated to the position of grand master of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and Rhodes. He was considered by his peers to be “the man for the moment” restoring the order to its former glory. One man, Jean De La Valette, the greatest of the grand masters, “the rarest of human beings,” defeats the Sultans Ottoman army in the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. La Valette became known as the Scourge of Africa and Asia, the Shield of Europe, fearless and indomitable, by his Holy Arms. With only seven hundred Knights and several thousand Spanish, Italian, Portuguese soldiers and fifteen thousand Maltese civilians (men, women, and children alike), he repels the great Turkish army of over forty thousand troops. A great historical novel of a great man and a valiant and victorious people, the people of Malta.
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