Thursday, December 20, 2012

'Sword and Scimitar' by Simon Scarrow

Like most of you I was going about life reading, eating, Jeep hunting, and patiently waiting on Simon Scarrow for the next Macro and Cato book.  But this time out Simon gives us something else.  I’m a history buff only in the sense that if I read it, it must be in fiction form.  J  Yeah, I don’t like the non-fiction stuff because it ends up being way to dry.  But if you take that same non-fiction, add a very good writer, literary license, and the ability to twist it into a story… then you’ve got me.  

Simon’s got me.

Because I read historical-fiction I knew about the Siege of Malta, but I haven’t read anything that focused on it until this book.  And I enjoyed this book as much as I have the Macro and Cato series.  I’ve found that if a writer is a true writer it won’t matter what they pen, it’s going to be good.  I can honestly say that if you have enjoyed Simon’s other work then you will like this slight turn from the “ordinary”.  

‘Sword and Scimitar’s’ main character is a knight names Sir Thomas.  He’s brave, smart, learned, honest, and loyal.  Unfortunately like most men his, weakness rests within the heart and between thighs of a woman.  The other unfortunate thing is that nature of man never changes.  Ever.  Jealously and hypocrisy are the catalyst for a decision that involves Sir Thomas and the repercussions of this last for two decades.

Meanwhile, while the Knights of the Order were playing whose king of the castle, the Ottoman Empire was making plans to basically annihilate them.  The siege on Malta is known to be one of the bloodiest and most brutal in history. 
 
The descriptions of that brutality are not hidden here.

As with all of Simon’s books, there are stories behind the story behind the story.  Sir Thomas is a knight but he’s also a fighting paradox.  Seeing a knight fighting for God while battling whether or not he believes in God was almost as intriguing as seeing him fight on the battlefield.  Of the most poignant moments in this book is when Simon weaves in the Epicurean paradox.  Seeing this only made me think that the internal battle within Sir Thomas must have been fierce.  

Enemies are made, enemies are kept, and enemies are revealed.  As too is true love.  I’m by no means a romantic, but it is impossible to not be stirred by the last few chapters of this book.  Simon does an absolutely wonderful job with this book in the retelling of this siege and everything that went on before, during, and after.  I’ve said before that you know a book is good when your heartbeat matches that of the characters.  I really had a good time with this book and I venture to say that you will too.  

If you STILL want Macro and Cato Simon has thrown us a bone.  He has an eBook only series that involves Macro.   Have you read it yet?  I have.  J  Did I like it?  You damn right I did!  The first installment, ‘Arena: Barbarian’, came out late October.  The second installment, ‘Arena: Challenger’, comes out late December!  I can deal with having to wait two months between books.  But no longer Simon.  Rubicon OUT!!

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