Roger Crowley tackles the sixteenth-century clash between East and West in the Mediterranean as a grand epic story in this book. Over fifty years of history is his canvas for a tale of peoples and cultures, which he does a wonderful job with. From start to finish, it is history, and a tale to be told, and Crowley tells it very well.

He starts with the siege of Rhodes (1521), as a prelude to the action in the rest of the book, as several key players later on were there. The centerpiece of the book is the siege of Malta (1565), which gets far more attention than any other subject in the book. Of course, it is the most dramatic, and lasted several months. The end of the book details the Battle of Lepanto (1571). In between, he covers the important personalities, raids, and politics.

The only way I can’t recommend this book is if you are already well familiar with the 16th century, and even then it can still be a fun read. Otherwise, I recommend this book as an excellently written overview of warfare  in the Mediterranean. My only real concern is that it is less sympathetic to the Turks than the West, though that is also part of the nature of the tale. Personally, I am now eager to pick up Crowley’s 1453, and City of Fortune.