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  • Writer's pictureTina S Beier

Ash Fall - Book Review

by Marthese Fenech

Historical Fiction

BDL Publishing

This novel is part 3 of the Siege of Malta series.

A stunning and spectacular end to an addictive series, Ash Fall is an impressively wrought story of people unwilling to give up - whether that’s give up their homes, give up on their family, or give up hope.

Considerably more action-focused than the last two, Ash Fall deals with the main event between the Ottomans and the Maltese. I knew nothing of the siege going in, so for me, not knowing the way the battle unfolded or the eventual outcome, it was nail-biting. The action scenes in the novel are so engaging, exciting, and fast-paced. And while there are a lot of action scenes, as there are a lot of skirmishes and battles, they never got repetitive. Some of it’s grisly, but that’s the late medieval times for you.

The only thing I can say is: why must you kill off my favourite characters all the time, Marthese?

Speaking of the characters, while they didn’t change as much in this book as in the previous, they are consistent and endearing, and I kept hoping they would get a happy ever after.

The best stories about war show why war is arbitrary and needless. The reason the Ottomans wared on Malta was senseless, and the number of deaths that ensued, while the leaders remained safe, was horrendous.

The novel reiterates the thing we all know yet can’t seem to prevent from happening: the corruption that comes from too much power. In this case, I’m referring to leaders of countries and orders and religions who either wage war for selfish reasons or refuse to come to the aid of others for the same. As such, it’s a novel that resonates both with us now just as much as it is a story of what the world was like 400 years ago.

Yet, it’s also a story about bravery, courage, sacrifice, and coming together. And that’s something we need more of in this world today.

Overall, Fenech has carved an immensely satisfying, exhilarating, and emotional story from the rock that is history, showing us yet again that sometimes we have to look to the past to form a better future.

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