The Malta Independent 20 May 2024, Monday
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A literary escape in the time of Covid-19

Thursday, 20 August 2020, 09:20 Last update: about 5 years ago

Maltese-Canadian author Marthese Fenech’s new historical novel Falcon’s Shadow soars to number one within hours of release

Falcon's Shadow: a Novel of the Knights of Malta, the second book in author Marthese Fenech's Siege of Malta trilogy, published by BDL, launched at number one on Amazon's bestseller list within hours of its presale release. At present, both Falcon's Shadow and Eight Pointed Cross, the first novel in the series, are occupying the number one and two spots on the bestseller list.

During the months of Covid-19 lockdown, Fenech thought she could help those struggling with boredom by providing some affordable-and legal-escape. She dropped the price of the digital version of her first novel, Eight Pointed Cross, across all Amazon marketplaces to 99c as a thank-you to those doing their part to flatten the curve. Within hours, her novel hit number one. Fenech donated a percentage of the sales to Conquer Covid-19 charities. Additionally, she used proceeds from the surge in book sales to purchase boxes of nitrile gloves for frontline staff at a local hospital.


Fenech's trilogy is based on the Great Siege of 1565, a culmination of the hostility between the Knights of St John and the Ottoman Sultan. The ongoing conflict incites the collision of two great empires, intertwining the fates of characters separated by faith, loyalties, and vast distance. Eight Pointed Cross is set two decades before the Great Siege of 1565 and features the lesser-known but decisive 1551 Siege of Gozo. Falcon's Shadow picks up in the immediate aftermath and sweeps from quarry pits to sprawling estates, tumultuous seas to creaking gallows, the dungeons beneath the bishop's palace to the open decks of warships. The third, yet untitled novel showcases the Great Siege and is set for release in late 2021.

Both novels have won the Coffee Pot Book Club award and garnered outstanding reviews from acclaimed authors, historians, rock stars, and swordsmen.

Giovanni Bonello, historian, author, and former Judge of the European Courts of Human Rights, has high praise for Fenech's novel: "Many historical sagas have been published, but few convey the scale, complexity, and attention to historical detail of Eight Pointed Cross. Marthese Fenech creates intricate plots and multi-dimensional characters, whom she moves from one perilous situation to another, keeping readers avidly turning the pages. I found myself utterly immersed, a result of the stylistic traps awaiting the reader around every treacherous corner and the unabashed pathos of the tragedy subsumed in the plot. Ms Fenech must have been born with her narrative genetics in perfect order. I truly hope her relentless talent is acknowledged where it should be. Managing to weave a gripping storyline from the ordinary misadventures of love, envy, hate, cowardice and violence underscores her skills better than had she opted for a big story against an epic background." Click here for more reviews.

Born in Toronto to Maltese parents, Fenech has travelled to sixty-five countries across six continents. She has a Master's degree in Education and teaches high school English and history. While completing research for her novels, she took up archery and accidentally became a licenced coach. A former kickboxing instructor, she surfs, snowboards, scuba-dives, climbs, skydives, throws axes, and practices yoga-which may sometimes include goats or puppies. Fenech is happy to chat about her books, research, travels, and inspirations.

On July 7, 2020 she hosted a Facebook Live book launch, which has had several thousand views.

Eight Pointed Cross and Falcon's Shadow are available across global Amazon marketplaces in digital, paperback and audiobook editions. Fenech's novels can also be purchased from bookstores and tourist sites in Malta and direct from publisher, BDL.

Please visit for more information.

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