Malta, 1775: The Twilight of the Knights
Title: Malta 1775: the twilight of the Knights
Author: Lawrence MF Sudbury
Publisher: AMAZON KDP
Genre: Historical novel
Number of pages: 216. Date of release: May 21, 2021
Format: paperback and e-book
Price: $ 18 [£ 12.69 – € 15,32] (paper) – $ 5.03 [£ 3.56 – € 4,14] (ebook) Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095DV9NV2
Synopsis of “MALTA 1775: THE TWILIGHT OF THE KNIGHTS”
Fra’ Bartolomeo Ruspoli di Cerveteri is a young Knight of Malta descendant of one of the most influential families of the Roman nobility.
Since he was a boy, he has been an idealist dreaming of living an adventurous life, far from the comforts he seems destined for. This is what has led him to join the Order of the Hospitallers of St. John.
After his training in Rome, he has been assigned to practice among the “conventuals” in Malta and here he seems to have found what he was looking for: although realizing that his Order is no longer what it used to be and that, in the changed historical and cultural conditions of Europe, careerism and laxity have often taken the place of the heroic virtues of the past, Bartolomeo leads a satisfying life as the commander of his ship, the “Levriero”, which his father has given him to facilitate his career and which has been annexed to the Melitense fleet and has become a member of the Guard of Honor of the now elderly but powerful Grand Master Manuel Pinto.
During his early years in Malta, Bartolomeo has also developed a fraternal friendship with two confreres of the same age, belonging to the Langue d’Anglaterre et Alemagne: the English fra’ Henry of Norfolk, remarkably disillusioned and pessimistic about the fate of the Order, and the Bavarian fra’ Franz Von Hohenlohe, enthusiastic and joyful. Unfortunately, one evening, while he is getting back to the Auberge d’Italie from a village party, the Roman Knight accidentally sees something he should not have seen: the respected and feared fra’ Yves de Compigny is leaving the house of Lucia Zoratto, a well-known Venetian prostitute, famous throughout the island. Fra ‘Yves is aide-de-camp and great friend of the Grand Marshal Emmanuel Rohan-Polduc, one of the most influential men on the island, indicated by many as the future Grand Master. Although Bartolomeo is inclined to turn a blind eye to the probable breaking of the oaths of the brethren, actually a very common practise among the Knights, he can’t do it as fra’ Yves at that moment should have been in command of the garrison of Forte Sant’Elmo and, therefore, has carried out a severe act of desertion.
Although intimately torn, Bartolomeo, driven by a sense of chivalrous honour, decides to report the incident to the “Balì” of Malta, but the latter, an old Castilian brethren at the end of his career, citing pretexts and not wanting to antagonize Rohan-Polduc, passes the case to the Grand Marshal.
Rohan-Polduc, unlike what Bartolomeo might have thought, meeting the Roman Knight does not try to dissuade him from filing the complaint but, on the contrary, brings the case in front of the Grand Council, the supreme body of the Order, made up of all the most important governmental officers and chaired by Grand Master Pinto. However, when the session of the Grand Council is held, things do not go as Bartolomeo had imagined: not only fra’ Yves and Lucia Zoratto deny any wrongdoing but a witness, a very young French Knight, affirms that fra’ Yves never left the guard post. Compigny is, therefore, acquitted while Bartolomeo, guilty of having made false accusations against a