Brace yourself for a pulse-pounding immersion into the fear, the stench, the horror, the rage and the valor of a Holy War. The Religion transports you to 1565 and delivers you into the frightening maelstrom of combat and the complicated passions of love.

The Islamic forces have begun their siege of Malta, and their grand plan is nothing less than the conquest of the world. The Christian stronghold is protected by the Knights of St. John, and they know what's at stake: the destiny of mankind for all eternity. Calling themselves the Religion, the knights defend Malta the strategic key to Europe with a profound, spiritual fervor. For the knights, war is God's blessing, a manifestation of divine will. As the battle unfolds, the indefatigable defenders, outnumbered 10 to one, will go beyond knowing God. They will discover that war makes men mad, and a select few will also discover that love makes them madder still.

Key figures in screenwriter and novelist Tim Willocks' epic, fiendishly insightful novel include Mattias Tannhauser, the blood-stained veteran of the most ferocious infantry of the world, now a successful businessman whose loyalties are dangerously divided; Carla, the sensual countess who must suddenly confront the love and shame of her secret past; and Ludovico Ludovici, the treacherous Inquisitor whose subtlety and duplicity are exceeded only by his absolute trust in his God.

Beginning with the most frightening scene in contemporary fiction, The Religion goes on to become a fast-paced, stomach-churning depiction of the sublime beauty and grotesque brutality of a religious war the apotheosis of power, fear and faith yet through it all, something strange and wonderful survives: the exquisite resilience of the human spirit. The narrative is exuberant and extravagant. The imagery is luminous and visceral. The Religion is magnificent, passionate, terrifying and in 2007 profoundly relevant. Don't miss it! Tim Davis teaches literature at the University of West Florida.

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