The 16th century is a remarkably fruitful and turbulent period for historians and historical novelists. Islam was at its peak but Christendom was catching up. The Portuguese and Spanish were constructing the first empire on which the sun never set. The Americas were extensively settled by Europeans for the first time, and Spanish treasure fleets from the Americas were goading the inflation which undermined Islam. French, Dutch and English pirates were preying on Portuguese and Spanish trade, and on each other. Protestants also fragmented the Church, helping to found modern Europe, and England, the bastion of Protestantism, fended off an invasion by the (Catholic) Spanish Armada.

The siege of Malta was one of the most critical events in European, American and global history. The Turkish Empire had suffered its first major defeat against Christendom at Vienna in 1529. Finding progress difficult in Eastern Europe, its leaders saw Malta as the key to Western Europe. Had they succeeded, Sicily and Italy were their next objectives, followed by the conquest of the rest of Europe.

Siege of Malta
Picture Courtesy of the Navigation du Savoir, Malta

Sequels to Pirates of Christ will extend and deepen the history of the century. The subject of the next volume is America and the theme is obvious from the first volume: a Muslim invasion to seize Aztec and Inca gold and silver from the Spanish.