Cover image for The shadow of God : a novel of war and faith
The shadow of God : a novel of war and faith
Goodman, Anthony A.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Naperville, Ill. : Sourcebooks, [2002]

Physical Description:
xiv, 444 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Maps on lining papers.
Subject Term:
Format :


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X Adult Fiction Central Library
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A tremendously vivid historical encounter becomes a larger-than-life canvas for this brilliant saga. The year is 1522. Two great leaders, twenty-five-year-old Suleiman the Magnificent, the absolute ruler of the mighty Ottoman Empire, and Philippe de L'Isle Adam, the grisly, fifty-eight-year-old Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, come to war on the Greek island of Rhodes. For 145 days, Philippe and 500 European Knights fight to protect their fortressed city and withstand an assault of nearly 200,000 men from Suleiman's army, in a battle that becomes the historic hallmark for siege warfare.

Authentic in all its historical detail, The Shadow of God evokes a seismic clash of cultures: Muslim versus Christian, the Ottoman Empire versus the last remaining Knights of the Crusades and, most important, two of the most powerful men of their time. Embedded in this fictional account is the secret marriage of a lovely Jewish nurse to her Christian French Knight, as well as the forbidden love of the Grand Master for the beautiful Helene. An epic of bravery and courage, The Shadow of God weaves a tapestry of beauty, terror and triumph set in a forgotten time of brutality and courage, loyalty and honor.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This epic account of the Siege of Rhodes is brimming with passion, adventure, and historical detail. In 1522, the Island of Rhodes served as a strategic crossroads between East and West. As Christianity clashed with Islam during the waning decades of the Crusades, a handful of European knights led by Grand Master Philippe de L'Isle Adam stood firm for 145 days against the vast and mighty Ottoman army of Suleiman the Magnificent. When it became evident that they could no longer defend either their fortress or the Christian islanders who depended on them, the knights were forced to surrender. Interwoven into this stunning fictional account of one of history's greatest military performances are tantalizing and suspenseful tales of forbidden love and unexpected betrayal. Goodman does a superb job of breathing new life into a gallery of fascinating historical figures and of evoking the immense cultural and religious divide that still exists today between Christianity and Islam. --Margaret Flanagan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Christianity and Islam face off in the siege of Rhodes, the subject of Goodman's gripping first novel. In 1520, a century after the final Crusade, the only remaining Christian outpost in the Near East is the small Greek island of Rhodes, from which pirates harass Muslim shipping. Suleiman the Magnificent, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, is determined to destroy the outpost. Philippe de L'Isle Adam, grand master of the Knights of Rhodes, rallies his 500 battle-hardened knights in their near-impregnable fortress. Two generations earlier, the knights had fought off a siege by Suleiman's grandfather. Now the sultan sends an army of 200,000 men and hundreds of warships to surround the island and to destroy Philippe. The thoroughly researched book is occasionally didactic, but that doesn't get in the way of the spellbinding, historically accurate plot or Goodman's sensitive portrayals of the warring leaders and the civilizations they represent. He even manages to pull off a tender and credible romantic subplot (less explicit than his gory descriptions of amputations, tortures and executions). But perhaps the most satisfying element of this novel is Goodman's artful rendering of the landscapes and pageantry of the Ottoman Empire. The immense walls of the fortress at Rhodes, impervious even to huge cannonballs; the elaborate network of tunnels dug at great cost of life; the winding, dark streets of the town within the fortress all these are so vividly rendered that historical fiction fans and medieval history enthusiasts will be crossing their fingers for a follow-up. (Oct. 1) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Goodman's first novel is an engaging and well-written fictional account of the Ottoman Turks' 145-day siege of the Greek island of Rhodes. For two centuries, the Knights of St. John have sailed the Mediterranean, preying on Ottoman ships. When the knights under the command of Grand Master Philippe Villiers de L'Isle Adam occupy Rhodes in 1522, the new sultan, 25-year-old Suleiman the Magnificent, demands the surrender of the island. As much a story of the determination of those leaders, their talented commanders, and the diverse cultures they represent, this book is also a record of the battles waged, the horrible suffering, the complexities of loyalties and betrayals, and the tenuous position of Jews caught in the cultural crossfire. Few fictional treatments of Suleiman and the Knights of St. John are available, but even if this were not the case, this novel would still be highly recommended for all public libraries.-Jean Langlais, St. Charles P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.