The Religion, set on the island of Malta in 1565, follows the exploits of Mathias Tannhauser, an adventurer and mercenary who embarks on a mission to locate a Maltese Noblewoman's estranged son. This quest is set amongst the great seige of Malta, which pitched the Knight's Hospitaller against the Turkish Empire, one of the last great crusader battles.
The Religion is extremely well research and equally well-written and whilst large parts of the book are devoted to battle scenes, the prose does not adopt a descriptive or hackneyed style; in fact the descriptions are brutal, gory, poetic and written in a gripping style.
It should be said that this novel does not beautify or glorify war, it does quite the opposite in fact in a sometimes stomach-turning and balanced fashion.
Equally, the plot of The Religion is enthralling and the author has created some really interesting characters, and pits a flawed hero against an extremely dark and sly foe; Ludovico Ludovici of the Inquisition. Quite frankly, the combination of interesting characters, gripping plot and incredible action made this book hard to put down and is written with such literary mastery that it feels like a future classic.
The Religion is highly recommended to all book lovers and Willocks shows himself to be a very fine author here.