Eight Pointed Cross
Combatant Magazine – July/Sept 2013
Marthese Fenech is the Canadian born author of the historical novel, Eight Pointed Cross, based in 16th Century Malta. The violent clash between the Ottoman empire and the Knights of St John on the island fortress serves as the backdrop to Fenech's critically acclaimed debut novel. The first in a twobook series, the story revolves around the Montesa siblings, which, like Malta, must weather many storms: famine and poverty, intrigue and betrayal, raids by corsairs, foreign oppression by roman inquisitors, domestic repression under the rule of the Knights of St John, a mother's death, a father carried away into slavery, a son on a quest to find him in a time when monastery and mosque were at arms – a theme relevant today. Fenech was born the youngest of five to Maltese parents in Toronto, where she currently resides with her husband. She has a diploma in journalism, a post-graduate in creative writing and a master's degree in education. A former kickboxing instructor, Fenech currently teaches high school english and history. She speaks fluent Maltese and French. As part of her research for Eight Pointed Cross, she took up archery, and ended up becoming a certified instructor. She has a passion for adventure, photography, running, snowboarding and yoga. An avid traveler, she spent the past three months living in Singapore and working on the anticipated sequel to Eight Pointed Cross.
“Crystal-clear descriptive language … Ms. Fenech has recreated the compelling world of the Montesa family of Malta and the Knights of St. John as though she time-travelled back to the sixteenth century to do her research. An impressive debut!”
— Karen Connelly, author of The
"I believed every minute of it."
— Carol Rasmussen, former book review editor at Library Journal
"Eight Pointed Cross has all the ingredients that I consider importan in a novel: a gripping plot, engaging, believable characters, stunning description, violence, love, sex, remarkable psychological insight, historical detail… The first English literary critic, Sir Phillip Sidney, wrote that the purpose of literature was to teach and to delight. I learned much from Eight Pointed Cross. And the internal struggles of characters such as Augustine and Franco lend depth and substance to the characterization. A more recent literary giant, William Faulkner, in his speech upon receiving the Nobel Prize for literature in 1950, opined that the only thing worth writing about is the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself. You, Ms. Fenech, have passed both of these tests with flying colours."
— John Heighton, reader for the Porcupine's Quill