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 16th 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.
©2011 Marthese Fenech (P)2019 Marthese Fenech
The ghosts of war leave no footprints. When legendary Ottoman seaman Dragut Rais attacked the Maltese islands in 1551, his army left Gozo a smoking ruin emptied of its entire population. Among the 5,000 carried into slavery is Augustine Montesa, father of Domenicus and Katrina. Wounded and broken, Domenicus vows to find his father, even if it means abandoning Angelica, his betrothed. Armed with only a topaz to serve as ransom, he sets out on a journey that sees him forcibly recruited from the streets of Europe and thrown into the frontline. On Malta, Katrina struggles to find work after the Grand Master has her publicly flogged for speaking out against him. When, at last, she stumbles upon a promising position, all is not as it seems. Her job forces her to confront a terrible truth one that may prove disastrous for Robert, the man she loves. Hundreds of leagues to the east in Istanbul, Demir, son of a wealthy Turkish bey, works hard to become an imperial Ottoman horseman, despite having to endure the cruelty of his father and half-brother. Life takes an unexpected turn the moment Demir encounters a young woman, stolen from Malta, brought into the household as another of his fathers servants. Falcons Shadow sweeps from quarry pits to sprawling estates, tumultuous seas to creaking gallows, the dungeons beneath the bishops palace to the open decks of warships. Fates will collide at the Battle of Djerba, a momentous clash which unites lost kin, only to tear them apart once more.
©2020 Marthese Fenech (P)2020 Marthese Fenech