The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.

Sunday Reads: The Sword and the Scimitar

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Is there a better way to spend a Sunday than in the company of a good book and a nice glass of wine? Let me answer that one for you - no, there isn’t (unless you swapped the wine for tea in winter, which is perfectly fine).

The Sword and the Scimitar has been sitting patiently on my shelf for ages now. Last week I finally had the time to start reading for pleasure again and I picked this little 700-page book up. One chapter in and I was hooked! As cliched as it sounds, I really couldn't put it down and I read it in around three days. I haven't been this hooked on something since anything Margaret Atwood wrote. 

Briefly put, the story revolves around the lives of two Maltese siblings Maria and Nico, torn apart one day when Turkish corsairs kidnap Nico and take him to Algiers. From then on the lives they lead become completely different, converging again against one of the most gripping backdrops ever: the Great Siege of 1565. 

If like myself you're a history geek, you'll love this book. The tale is fictional, yet the context is clearly well-researched and fairly accurate. If, in addition to that you're a fellow Malteser and somewhat of a patriot, you'll delight in the descriptions of the Harbour area, and the occasional Maltese words thrown in. 

The tale brought to life many history lessons with a twist. History is always told by those who win the battle, and before I read the book the Ottomans definitely were not in my best books. It opened my eyes to a new perspective of the gleaming minarets of Istanbul, but I'll leave that up to you to discover for yourself.


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