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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Malta

MALTA 1775: THE TWILIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Lawrence M.F. Sudbury



Product details

  • ASIN : B095DV9NV2
  • Publisher : Independently published (May 18, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 216 pages
  • ISBN-13 : 979-8503572001
  • Item Weight : 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions : 6 x 0.49 x 9 inches
  • Best Sellers Rank: #2,150,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

    • About:

    • Malta, second half of the 18th century: Bartolomeo, a descendant of one of the most important families of the papal nobility, is a Knight of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Rhodes and Malta which rules the island. Captain of the "Levriero", a vessel given to him by his father and part of the Melitense fleet, a member of the Grand Master's guard, a friend of some trusted confreres, the young man, while realizing that the Order is no longer what it once was, seems to have fulfilled his dreams and is satisfied with his own existence. One evening, however, Bartolomeo casually sees something he shouldn't see and everything changes radically: for the Roman nobleman a declining parable begins that will lead him to clash with the power games at the top of the government of the island, to become an outcast of the Order and, even, to be a fugitive accused of murder. His new condition will drag him into a series of adventures and encounters giving him the opportunity to better understand himself and the reality that surrounds him, to get to have a main role in the "Revolt of the Priests" led by don Gaetano Mannarino and, unexpectedly, to fall in love ...

Biography of Lawrence M.F. Sudbury



I was born in London on 25/06/1968 but I live near Milan. I have a degree in Literature and I am specialized in marketing and advertising I worked for about fifteen years dividing myself between a history chair in high school and the profession of AD consultant. 

Since 2005 I have started to deal with religious history and sociology, obtaining a DA in Religious Studies in Texas, a Masters in Biblical Studies and a Ph.D. in Church History in Indiana (where, for some time, I taught as a freelance ). In the following years (2008-2019), while maintaining my history chair in high school, I also dedicated myself to the pastoral care for a liberal religious denomination, becoming its Head of International Relations and I obtained a master's degree in Journalism, specializing in Vatican Studies. 

Since 2006 I have published historical-religious non-fiction texts with Il Melograno, Seneca Edizioni, Newburgh Seminary Press, EMI and EUM, receiving various reviews on local and national paper and on radio and participating in the Turin Book Fair. I also held some conferences and collaborated with Italian and foreign universities and thematic portals (including "Centro Studi La Runa", "Archeomedia", "InStoria" and "Mondi Medievali" - Site of the Medieval History Institute of University of Bari) and specialist journals (“Segnocinema”, “InStoria”, “Fenix”), with over one hundred and fifty articles published. " In 2021 I published my first "fiction" novel: "MALTA 1775: THE TWILIGHT OF THE NIGHT

Synopsis 

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

Book readers Review

The author Lawrence Sudbury has taken historical facts about Malta, a small island in the Mediterranean, south of Italy, and woven into this history a fictional story.
My first impression when asked by the author to review his book, was fascination. I lived in Malta four years, falling in love with the island and its people. During my time there I delved a little into its complex history and learned some from the locals. But never truly felt I understood the realm of the Knights and how they influenced the 20th century Malta I knew.

Lawrence's book, Malta 1775: twilight of the Knights, is certainly an illuminating work revealing much about the Hospitaller Order of Knights and their influence on the Maltese people. The fictional characters come to life with Sudbury's clever descriptions and details. At the beginning I found the names and titles a little challenging. They soon came alive as the tale progressed, with the frequency of use, and becoming familiar with the characters. Of course, having lived in Malta, reading the names of villages, towns, and places was like coming home.  An entertaining historical story for any reader. 

Thank you Lawrence for the opportunity to read and review your work.
I highly recommend this book and give it a five star rating. 

Interview

Welcome to my blog Lawrence.  Please tell my readers and I more about yourself and your books.

Q: Tell us about your latest work—title, genre, etc. — and why you wrote it?

A: My “Malta 1775: the twilight of the Knights” is an historical novel set in Malta at the end of XVIII century. Actually, I am a prefessional historian and, therefore, I often recive excerpts and abstracts of historical studies. Almost one year ago, I received an article related to the “Revolt of the priests” of Malta, which forms the historical background of my text and I thought it was a fantastic story of freedom. At first I wanted to deepen my research to write an essay but, then, I understood I would have liked this story to be known by a larger audience than the one of “history specialist” and I tried to write a novel. Then, while writing the book, I realized I needed to explain a little more about the decadence of the Hospitaleer Order during the last years of their dominion on Malta. That’s how the novel came to light.

Q: What draws you to your genre(s)? Why is this type of story compelling to you?

A: As I said, I am an historian: I love history as I love to understand the way people lived and saw the world in the past and what of their vision influenced our present. In particular, I love those historical elements showing how the need for freedom, respect and self-determination is something natural and compelling for human beings.

Q: What is your writing process like? Do you map the whole thing out or do you just let it unfold?

A: Actually, each time I start to write a book, both essays and, in this case, a novel, I try to plan a plot in a quite precise map but, to be honest, I rarely manage to follow the lines of my plan: in a way, every chapter comes to light on its own, according to its own logic ...
Q: What kind of research was involved?

A: A quite long one: I had to make a lot of historical research to have a clear vision of an almost forgotten episode of the Maltese history and, mainly, I had to enter in depth into the mentality of the time, so to make the reader understand the values pushing the actions of the characters

Q: How much of YOU makes it into your characters?

A: Somehow, there is much of me in every charatcer: almost each character shows a partial side of my personality, in the moment in which, while writing, I try to “enter” into each role 

Q: How do you balance the need to have time to write with the needs of family, society, etc.?

A: I work as a history teacher and, therefore, much of my time is taken by my job. Writing is an invincible pulsion which takes many hours I should devote to sleeping or playing with my puppy dog (but he is very patient!)

Q: Have there been any authors in particular, that inspired your writing?

A: Actually many:  I could mention Dan Brown for his narrative structures, Baricco for his refined style, Umberto Eco for his ability to "reconstruct history", Borges, Marechal and Zaffon for their magical atmospheres, Sepulveda for his frescoes of "micro-stories"

Q: Is there a story you want to tell behind or about your work(s)?

A: For my first novel I chose to write about Malta as it is a place I love under all aspects but the story I decided to describe is a sort of universal one: the way “big powers” try to gain on common people and the way common people try to resist and fight for their freedom.

Q: What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?

A: Being a specialist in religious history, I am writing a story trying to link the I Century Palestine, the “heretics” of the period of the Counter-Reformation and nowadays Rome. I am almost half-way but much work is still to be done.

Q: Could you share some of your marketing strategies?  Which ones are the most effective in your opinion?

A: I am not such an expert. What I can say is that the Italian version of “Malta 1775” had good success in Italy and I can just report what I did: I used socials, bet on voice to voice giving free copies and asked to reviewers to write an honest opinion about the book.

Q: What would be the top five, (or 3 or 1 or however many) things you would tell aspiring authors?

A: 1) Be patient and don’t get discouraged if you don’t obtain answers for the first weeks;
2) remember that the end of your story is just the beginning of your work: read, read and read it again, correct, ask for advice. Then the hard phase, the one of marketing, starts;
3) never give up: if you feel you need to write, go on doing it, even if only for yourself.

Again, thanks Lawrence for taking the time to share your knowledge with us.  We appreciate your and your work. My pleasure

Contact information

Name                      Lawrence M.F. Sudbury
E-mail                         lmfsudbury@gmail.com 
Book Title              Malta 1775: the twilight of the Knights
Available at              https://www.amazon.com/dp/B095DV9NV2
Blog/website URL      http://www.lmfsudbury.com


 Chapter IV


Monsignor Giovanni, absorbed by political quarrels, had completely forgotten that he had set an appointment with that new presbyter just arrived from Sicily, who was to take up service within a few days. Cursing Ximenez's stupidity that distracted him from his institutional duties, he immediately put the letter he was writing under the desk pad and asked don Lawrenz to let the newcomer in. He expected to meet a young Sicilian priest who had just been dismissed from the seminary of Palermo. On the contrary, don Lawrenz let in a man of about fifty, dark-skinned and with a face heavily marked by the sun, who greeted him with a “Bonġu Monsinjur!” which indicated an evident local origin. Trying not to reveal his surprise too much, Monsignor Giovanni returned the greeting in Maltese and, immediately switching to Italian, with which he felt much more comfortable, he made the newcomer sit on one of the two chairs in front of his desk. 

«Dear don Gaetano, I will not hide the fact that I imagined you to be completely different...», the Bishop began, smiling. The other returned the smile placidly, replying: «Yes, I can imagine it!» «Tell me about yourselves: I guess this is not your first appointment...», the high prelate continued. «Actually, somehow it is, Monsignor. As for me, it is easy to say. I am, as you can clearly observe, the fruit of a belated vocation. I was born in the village of Ix-Xemxija, facing San Pawl Bay, fifty-one years ago. My father, from a family originally from Licata, in Sicily, was a wholesale fish trader and a small landowner, and I had the opportunity to study at Kulleġġ San Antonio until I entered the family business at the age of sixteen. I worked there for the next eighteen years, directing it after my father's death in 1754. Since I was a boy, however, I felt that was not my place. So, two years after my father Giuseppe had passed away, I gave my position in the direction of our business to my younger brother Luca, moved to Sicily and entered the seminary in Palermo, from which I left ten years later. 

Since then, I have been sent as coadjutor to various parishes of the Madonie Mountains and, a month ago, I was allowed to return home being entrusted with a parish in the diocese of your Excellence». «I understand», agreed Monsignor Pellerano. «Yours is a singular story. But, tell me, what brought you to the priestly life?» «The fishermen, Monsignor!», the Maltese clergyman promptly replied. «The fishermen? What do you mean?», Pellerano asked curiously. «Yes, Monsignor, the fishermen who came to sell us the fish that we then had to transfer to the markets. They were all poor people, destroyed by the fatigue of nights spent at sea on their coloured “luzzi”, as large as walnut shells, but they had a dignity and a faith that I have rarely encountered in the so-called “upper classes”. It is that dignity and that faith which convinced me of the greatness of the Gospel message of preference for the least and which made me choose to dedicate my life precisely to those “least” despised by everybody!»

Pellerano got very impressed by that answer. He could not help but think about how, curiously, the path of his life and the one of that priest, too old to have any chance of an ecclesiastical career but so convinced of his choice, though being, in many ways, diametrically opposed, managed, at a certain point, to converge. He had entered the Church to escape poverty, and only later he had understood the meaning of love for the most disinherited. In contrast, that man had knowingly decided to take his steps on the path of that love, and that love had brought him to the Church. Perhaps, he reflected, this was the strength of the Divine call: it grasped each one differently and then led each one to the same undisputed truth. 

«Do you already know the parish assigned to you?», the prelate changed the subject so as not to be carried away by his cogitations. «Of course, Your Excellency! This is a small island: in one way or another, each community ends up knowing all the others. I have some friends in Floriana and, in any case, it will be a pleasure for me to finally have the possibility to speak my language with my parishioners!», don Mannarino replied enthusiastically. «Then I just have to wish you good work and urge you to contact me in case of any need!», recommended the Bishop, getting up to signal to his priest that the interview was over. 

Don Gaetano was already almost at the door when Giovanni thought of one last thing: «Oh, I forgot to ask you... What do you think of the Order of St. John that governs the island?» Mannarino turned with a sly smile. «May I speak freely despite you are wearing the octagonal cross, Your Excellency?», asked the priest. «Sure!», the Bishop conceded. «I am a shepherd of souls before being a Knight!» «Then I'll answer you with a question: do you know the history of the island?» «Yes, of course!» «Well, then review all the occupants that followed one another: Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Aragonese... Did anyone ever come here for the good of the Maltese?» «Honestly, I would say no...» «And why should it be any different with the Knights?»