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The Religion
The Tannhauser Trilogy, Book 1

by Tim Willocks

      The Religion is a huge novel, and not just because dropping it on your foot would be a really bad idea. Willocks has put an incredible amount of research into 1565 and the siege of the Isle of Malta by Suleiman the Magnificent. Malta is held by the Knights of John the Baptist, who call themselves "The Religion." Not surprisingly, this doesnít set too well with the Inquisition, evilly represented by the scheming Ludovici, who has plans for bringing The Religion in line. All that and we havenít even met the main character yet - Mattias Tannhauser, a larger than life soldier of fortune with experience in the world of the Muslim as well as the Christian. Mattias wants no part in The Religionís battle, until a beautiful Countess asks for his help in finding her son on Malta.

The Religion seeps with intrigue and more intrigue. It also paints a bleak picture of the times, when the good guys and the bad guys were hard to discern as each practiced horrifying violence and torture. This is not a novel for the squeamish. Though is has a romantic triangle (actually two), there is nothing romantic about the novel -itís harsh, violent, and seriously slow going in spots- but if you want to understand the time period and the people who did horrifying things for religion, this is an excellent place to start. The story is compelling, pulling you back in even when the prose has slogged it down a bit, making it ultimately a satisfying read.

The Book

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
May 2007
0374248656 / 9780374248659
Historical Novel
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The Reviewer

Jan Fields
Reviewed 2007
NOTE: Reviewer Jan Fields is the editor of Kid Magazine Writers emagazine and has written dozens of stories and articles for the children's magazine market.
© 2006