Why Malta?

Since I posted my travel notes (they’re silly things, really, not research findings), a few people have asked why I have set the Swashbuckler! novels in and around Malta. The reasons are many, but here are a few:
– Malta has a fascinating and unique history
– The Maltese fleet played a critical role in legal piracy for hundreds of years
– The Maltese people spontaneously rose up against the French invaders
– It’s one of the most inspiring and historically compelling places on earth
– The sea there is a beautiful blue.
Perhaps most importantly, Malta’s strategic position and maritime influence were critical in the Napoleonic era, and at many other times in history, including World War 2.
In 1801 Napoleon told the British Ambassador, “Peace or war depends on Malta. It is vain to speak of the Netherlands or Switzerland – they are but trifles. I would rather see you in possession of the heights of Montmartre than of Malta.”
His nemesis, Admiral Nelson, wrote to London: “I now declare that I consider Malta as a most important outwork to India, and that it will give us great influence in the Levant, and indeed all the parts of southern Italy. In this view, I hope that we shall never give it up.”

Two years later Admiral Lord Keith wrote, “Malta has the advantage over all other ports in the Mediterranean… the whole harbour is covered by its wonderful fortifications.”
This was a time when empires were being created – a complicated time of upheaval, expansion and change that would become the basis of the modern world. And in the middle of it all, as always, was Malta.

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