4 out of 4 stars
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It is a rare occasion when readers become so enthralled in a book that they cannot put it down, that they desperately thirst for a sequel. Eight Pointed Cross by Marthese Fenech became the focus of that occasion for me, and I am thrilled to have found such an addicting piece of historical fiction.
Domenicus Montesa is a young boy on the island of Malta during the era of the Knights of St. John. Together with his family and friends, he must survive the many horrors that can befall common folk in the medieval period. From pirate abductions to treachery from within the order of knights themselves, Malta is a hotbed for conflict as Domenicus grows up. Not everyone will survive the struggle, and the famed hostility between the Christians and Muslims of the area takes on a new face when a shocking secret is revealed.
I have nothing to say in the way of criticism for Eight Pointed Cross. It is a book filled with poignant and witty dialogue, and the characters all have such distinct, memorable personalities that it becomes shockingly easy to resonate with them. The interactions and romances between characters are beautifully handled and realistic, and each character has a philosophy that comes to life through speech. For instance, one of the most sought-after answers in the history of Christianity is broached when Domenicus' father tells him on page 263, "Simply put, God is good, killing, bad. Why then do we kill in His name?”
In addition to housing wonderfully complete characters, the descriptive and fast-paced style of Eight Pointed Cross is fashioned in such a way to keep a reader interested all the way through. There is never any doubt about where the characters might be. The author always provides a complete sense of setting, involving all five of the senses when possible. For example, on page 3, it is written that "This night, the family senses only peace, smells only melting beeswax." The author has done extensive research on the focus of her novel, as this book features an uncommonly complete representation of medieval lands. The story can explore different cultures and social class systems while still holding tight to the reader's interest.
I am thrilled to give Eight Pointed Cross a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. The plot is exceptional, seamlessly weaving in surprises, and it is filled with characters that a reader can easily relate to. There are only a handful of typos, and I can say with confidence that the novel has been professionally edited. There is a fairly extensive amount of profanity due to the circumstances of the plot, and the sexual content is sparse, though fairly descriptive. Readers with sensitivities to profanity or sexual themes might not enjoy this book as much.
Eight Pointed Cross
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