Review by Rox Burkey
Eight Pointed Cross
Author Marthese Fenech presents the violent history of 16th century Malta with living breathing storytelling vignettes from one end to the other. The details of life for the Maltese people as they succumb to slave traders, bow to Christian Knights, and sometimes serve as common soldiers clearly conveyed the difficulty, harshness, and violence present in that era. The history is more digestible because of the character relationships within these interwoven tales; good and bad.
The myriad of stories within the book as a writing technique is awesome. It helped fill in the murky background and additional depth to the violence of the Ottoman Empire’s Muslim Turks. Many parts of this historical saga filled my eyes with tears, with the suffering of the Gozotain families particularly horrific. Wars and conquest are filled with terror and fear, but the heroes and heroines are often found in Eight Pointed Cross.
The siblings Domenicus and Katrina Montesa are so real and relatable as a family unit who grow up over the course of the book. I loved Katrina with her determination and independent thoughts, not common among females of the period. Yet her character is very relatable and sadly naive. Frankly, all the characters are well developed regardless of their role from the Montesa siblings to their father; Angelic overcoming her initial suffering; and Demir who knows right from wrong in his heart and mind. Ms. Fenech laces her extensive research into a compelling history brought to life because of her amazing characters and their interactions. The story has twists and turns that are more enjoyable with the concise bite-sized chapters.
I was concerned initially with the length of this novel, but I was immediately captivated by the clear expression filled voice of Simon Hester, as he embraced the superb prose. Simon’s voice adds a realistic richness to an historical fiction masterpiece. The overwhelming sincerity to his narration made me think he watched the scenes as they were occurring and related it just for me. Simon Hester is the ideal narrator for Eight Pointed Cross This audible book had no production issues and the quality was consistent from beginning to end.
I enjoyed listening to the comprehensive descriptions, richness of history, extensive character development, and personalization of this historical saga. I highly recommend it for those who enjoy listening to a story with unfiltered realism. Not for the squeamish, but then war and conquest never is.
About Author Marthese Fenech
Marthese Fenech is the bestselling author of a historical saga set in sixteenth-century Malta and Istanbul. Most people call her Mar.
Research has taken her to the ancient streets her characters roamed, the fortresses they defended, the seas they sailed, and the dungeons they escaped. Obstinate curiosity has led her to sixty-five countries across six continents.
She does her best plot-weaving while hiking mountain trails, wandering local markets, paddle boarding cliff-sheltered bays, and sitting at home with her Siberian husky curled at her feet.
Learn more at https://marthesefenech.com
Narrated by Simon Hester
Simon Hester is an English narrator who resides in London.