THE BITTER CROSS
Sinclair-Stevenson,1992. A historical novel. Available now on Kindle
A novel of the Mediterranean in the sixteenth century, when the Knights of Saint John confronted the onslaught of Islam and the heresy of Protestantism. This is the story of one of the last of the English knights as he looks back over his life from retirement in the Grand priory of Rome. He contemplates the Sicilian woman whom he loved, and the young boy he rescued from Islam, and the God he has betrayed. The novel might be set in the past but it tackles themes with which the present has to contend - exile and belonging, belief and doubt, love and betrayal, fanaticism and profanity.
The Bitter Cross - reviews
From Contemporary Review:
"... is a complex story of love and war during the religious
upheavals of the sixteenth century... [the central character's] exploits
are graphically described... unusually strong is the author's depiction
of the inner conflicts felt between pacifist instincts and necessary
warlike intervention by the Knights of Saint John... The novel is
exciting and imaginative. Simon Mawer has vividly described his impressive
characters and their exotic setting."
From the Times Educational Supplement:
"Mawer writes the kind of historical fiction that convinces..."