44 books like Fortress Malta

By James Holland,

Here are 44 books that Fortress Malta fans have personally recommended if you like Fortress Malta. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Faithful Through Hard Times: The uncensored story of WW2 Malta

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Falcons

From my list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was seeking a direction for the third novel in the Bluebird series and my dates led me to Malta. Even as an avid reader of history, I knew shockingly little about the island’s tortuous punishment at the hands of Axis air forces. After much reading I was compelled to visit Malta myself, to tour the locations I would use, and ensure my fiction reflected the character of the landscape and the nature of the people that defended it so doggedly. Standing at Ta’Qali, where an airfield received in one single raid the same tonnage of bombs that crippled Coventry, I felt I’d been given permission.  

Melvyn's book list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

George Taylor, young and Scottish, a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps, arrived in Malta in 1940, naïve to what the future held for him. Four years later he left as a cynical sergeant (and incidentally, a Master Freemason). In the interim, while letters home were heavily censored, he kept his own truths in an extensive secret diary. His candid narrative documenting the siege of Malta and the daily, pounding attacks from Axis air forces is shot through with his real anxieties for the survival of his relationship with Nettie, his fiancée back home. This is both a war story and a love story from a private world into which we have been invited by George and Nettie’s own daughter.

By Jean Gill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Faithful Through Hard Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four years: 3 million bombs: Zero Hour Food approaching
’The diary was kept secret because it had to be. Taylor knew he would be in trouble if it were found. There is no censor in the diary.' The Scottish Association for the Teachers of History
'Based on words and feelings recorded at the time it is probably unique.' Don Marshall, Military History Enthusiast
The true story of WW2 Malta from an eye-witness account written at the time in a secret diary, a diary too dangerous to show anyone, and too precious to destroy.
Four years, 3 million bombs, one small…


Book cover of Malta 1940-42: The Axis' Air Battle for Mediterranean Supremacy

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Falcons

From my list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was seeking a direction for the third novel in the Bluebird series and my dates led me to Malta. Even as an avid reader of history, I knew shockingly little about the island’s tortuous punishment at the hands of Axis air forces. After much reading I was compelled to visit Malta myself, to tour the locations I would use, and ensure my fiction reflected the character of the landscape and the nature of the people that defended it so doggedly. Standing at Ta’Qali, where an airfield received in one single raid the same tonnage of bombs that crippled Coventry, I felt I’d been given permission.  

Melvyn's book list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

This compact, but detailed, history has been painstakingly researched from original Italian and German sources. The author explains the technical and tactical capabilities of the Axis air forces involved in the attacks on Malta and how their campaigns related to the wider Mediterranean war. We are treated to three full colour battle scenes painted by the renowned aviation artist, Graham Turner, as well as 3D tactical diagrams that recreate the airspace during key moments of the battle. The concise text is peppered with contemporary photos of the aircraft used, the personalities involved, and scenes on the ground. An essential handbook to fully understand the siege of Malta.

By Ryan K. Noppen, Graham Turner (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Malta 1940-42 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1940, the strategically vital island of Malta was Britain's last toehold in the central Mediterranean, wreaking havoc among Axis shipping. Launching an air campaign to knock Malta out of the war, first Italy and then Germany sought to force a surrender or reduce the defences enough to allow an invasion. Drawing on original documents, multilingual aviation analyst Ryan Noppen explains how technical and tactical problems caused the original Italian air campaign of 1940-41 to fail, and then how the German intervention came close to knocking Malta out of the war. Using stunning full colour artwork, this fascinating book explains…


Book cover of The End of the Beginning

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Falcons

From my list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was seeking a direction for the third novel in the Bluebird series and my dates led me to Malta. Even as an avid reader of history, I knew shockingly little about the island’s tortuous punishment at the hands of Axis air forces. After much reading I was compelled to visit Malta myself, to tour the locations I would use, and ensure my fiction reflected the character of the landscape and the nature of the people that defended it so doggedly. Standing at Ta’Qali, where an airfield received in one single raid the same tonnage of bombs that crippled Coventry, I felt I’d been given permission.  

Melvyn's book list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Clayton and Craig’s work covers the pivotal period of May to November 1942. Focussing their narrative on north Africa, they nevertheless clarify the contribution Malta’s dogged resistance made to bringing about this first British victory of the war to date. Ranging widely, this history touches on the experience of an American soldier caught up in the raid on Dieppe, RAF bomber crews flying into Europe from British airfields, and a nurse working in appalling conditions in a hospital in Malta. More than a dozen individuals, many of which will inspire your emotional investment, have their stories stitched together to present this solid and comprehensive account of a wildly dynamic theatre of war. Fittingly, each one is eulogised in the book’s short epilogue.

By Tim Clayton, Phil Craig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The End of the Beginning as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1942 - British troops are stranded in the desert, struggling to hold back Rommel's Afrika Corps. Hitler's armies have reached Moscow, and there are murmurs of discontent at home as new doubts emerge about Churchill's leadership. Elsewhere in Europe there is chilling evidence of the mounting persecution of the Jews, stretching from Poland to the Channel Islands. For many, it seems there is little hope. The authors use the personal testimony of ordinary people to tell the story of the war at a moment of great crisis. In this book we meet again some of the people first encountered in…


Book cover of War Beneath the Sea: Submarine Conflict During World War II

Melvyn Fickling Author Of Falcons

From my list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was seeking a direction for the third novel in the Bluebird series and my dates led me to Malta. Even as an avid reader of history, I knew shockingly little about the island’s tortuous punishment at the hands of Axis air forces. After much reading I was compelled to visit Malta myself, to tour the locations I would use, and ensure my fiction reflected the character of the landscape and the nature of the people that defended it so doggedly. Standing at Ta’Qali, where an airfield received in one single raid the same tonnage of bombs that crippled Coventry, I felt I’d been given permission.  

Melvyn's book list on the Siege of Malta and the Mediterranean War

Melvyn Fickling Why did Melvyn love this book?

Malta operated a small fleet of submarines from Manoel Island in Valletta’s north harbour. Painted cobalt for camouflage, they were kept submerged at their moorings to avoid enemy attention. Padfield’s book is a huge tour de force that details all aspects of the Mediterranean campaign together with all the other major submarine campaigns during the second world war. We learn about the submarine arms of Britain, America, Japan, and Italy, as well as the anti-submarine measures deployed by all sides. First-hand accounts, from submariners at the sharp end to the decision-makers in dusty ministry offices, are used to embellish this technically definitive account of the cloak and dagger world of underwater warfare.

By Peter Padfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked War Beneath the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book to cover the major submarine campaigns in all the WWII theatres.

The canvas is broad and deep, from the strategic perspective at the top to the cramped and claustrophobic life of the crews in their submersible steel tubes; from the feats of ‘ace’ commanders to the terrifying experiences of men under attack in this most pitiless form of warfare.

War Beneath the Sea describes the technical and tactical measures by which the Western Allies countered Admiral Karl Dönitz’s U-boat ‘pack’ attacks in the all-important North Atlantic battle; the fanatical zeal with which, even after defeat, Dönitz continued…


Book cover of The Jukebox Queen of Malta

Andrew Pearson Author Of The Dead Chip Syndicate

From my list on that should be adapted into movies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the MD of a Hong Kong-based software and AI consulting company, keeping me on top of all the latest AI technological developments. Previously, I worked in Hollywood, writing scripts, adapting novels, and working in production. My scripts have won awards at several prestigious screenwriting festivals throughout the world. However, wanting to expand my creative horizon, I wrote my first novel, The Dead Chip Syndicate, and quickly found a traditional publisher for it in 2022. Release is set for July 2023. It's the first in my Exotics series, which follows the exploits of an ex-pat navigating the Asian gambling world as he gets embroiled in one scandal and scam after another.

Andrew's book list on that should be adapted into movies

Andrew Pearson Why did Andrew love this book?

With some similarities to Catch 22, The Jukebox Queen of Malta follows American intelligence officer, Rocco Raven, when he arrives in Malta as part of I-3, “the intelligence inside Intelligence.”

Malta’s a chaotic and desperate place, with bombs falling day and night because the Germans are trying to crush the Maltese into submission. Rocco falls for the ethereal Melita, who delivers jukeboxes to local restaurants. She embodies the spirit of Maltese people, who, astonishingly, put on a brave face as their world crumbles.

It’s a mesmerizing tale of love amidst war, a story about the resiliency of the human spirit. The book is a profoundly moving exploration of the redemptive power of love even when the world is spinning out of control around you.

By Nicholas Rinaldi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jukebox Queen of Malta as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Jukebox Queen of Malta is an exquisite and enchanting novel of love and war set on an island perilously balanced between what is real and what is not.
It's 1942 and Rocco Raven, an intrepid auto mechanic turned corporal from Brooklyn, has arrived in Malta, a Mediterranean island of Neolithic caves, Copper Age temples, and fortresses. The island is under siege, full of smoke and rubble, caught in the magnesium glare of German and Italian bombs.
But nothing is as it seems on Malta. Rocco's living quarters are a brothel; his commanding officer has a genius for turning the…


Book cover of The Religion

Theodore Irvin Silar Author Of Lady Grace's Revels: A Tale of Elizabethan England

From my list on fiction set in the 16th century.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a Ph.D. in English from Lehigh University, and I have taught English for 30 years. I have studied and taught Shakespeare, Tudor drama, English linguistics, the Reformation, and various other aspects in the literary and cultural history of the 16th century. The 16th century is a time of great upheaval and the more I study it, the more I am fascinated by how pivotal this epoch is in the creation of the modern world, for better and for worse. I seek out books that chart, from grandest to most intimate, this momentous time’s transformations.

Theodore's book list on fiction set in the 16th century

Theodore Irvin Silar Why did Theodore love this book?

The Religion is a harrowing, jaw-dropping narrative I think everybody should read. That the 1565 Great Siege of Malta that stopped the Ottomans in the West is so unknown is unwarranted. Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sends an army to conquer Malta, an island owned by the Knights Hospitaller, a Catholic military order.

Mattias Tannhauser, a former janissary, ends up fighting with the Maltese Knights, against former comrades, for a Hospitaller leader he must murder, while the Inquisition welcomes the Hospitallers’ downfall: a glorious mess of cross-purposes for those who like plot twists. The Religion delivers an overwhelming immersion in a momentous event described in colorful, dramatic prose.

By Tim Willocks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Religion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Their god is War. And every god needs his Devil. THE RELIGION

Malta, 1565. The greatest war the world has ever seen is unleashed on the doomed island as the Turks do battle with the Knights. The Knights call themselves The Religion. The Turks call them the Hounds of Hell.

Back in Sicily, the beautiful, rich Carla pines for her bastard son, lost in the bloody inferno across the water.

Enter Mattias Tannhauser - warrior, hero and double agent. Under Carla's command, he embarks on a death-defying mission to save her son. But can he evade the Inquisition and escape…


Book cover of Ironfire

William Havelock Author Of The Last Dying Light

From my list on historical fiction depicting premodern battle.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by how societies conduct war. Who is expected to fight, and how are they organized? How is technology developed, implemented, and improvised in the heat of battle? And, most importantly, how do its participants make sense of the carnage around them? History is replete with tales of savagery and courage, of honor and depravity. Perilously few of these have been formed into novels, leaving an incomplete and disjointed understanding of thousands of years of struggle. Many authors, including those listed here, paved the path for holistic depictions of historical battle fiction – my hope is to contribute tales from oft-neglected societies, beginning with Belisarius and the 6th-Century Roman Empire.

William's book list on historical fiction depicting premodern battle

William Havelock Why did William love this book?

The Great Siege of Malta – a nearly four-month struggle in 1565, should be essential for any military historian to understand. Sadly, its treatment in fiction has been ludicrously underserved.

Enter Ironfire. Mr. Ball’s work builds slowly, showing the reader how various elements of the Ottoman Army (the Janissaries, in particular) were acquired, trained, and readied for war. Likewise, a failing legacy of crusade, as well as a decline in support for religious military orders, plague Christian leadership in Malta. Ball’s ‘slow burn’ narrative ignites into the island’s famous siege by a massive and well-equipped Ottoman army, facing a motley band of knights and Maltese locals reliant upon blades and fire to desperately hold their walls. Ironfire is a master class on premodern siege warfare in fiction.

By David Ball,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ironfire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the acclaimed author of Empires of Sand comes a mesmerizing new adventure that Jean Auel cites as “crowded with events that both forecast and mirror the conflicts of today.” Sweeping from the drawing rooms of Paris to the palace of Suleiman the Magnificent to the dark hold of a slave ship racing across the sea, here is a dazzling story of love and valor, innocence and identity, an epic novel of the clash of civilizations on a barren island where the future was forged.

The Mediterranean, the sixteenth century: Lying squarely in the midst of the vital sea lanes…


Book cover of V.

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Author Of The Swill

From my list on bars where I'd like to get a drink.

Why am I passionate about this?

I loved bars before I could drink. Maybe it was a steady diet of Cheers reruns as a child. Or perhaps it was growing up in Los Angeles, a city without a center, a city of cars, a city that seemed—at least when I was a child—to lack real community. Bars, in my imagination, provided that. So when I started actually finding myself in bars—and often working in them—I also found myself writing fiction, and those bars ended up in that fiction. In each of my novels, a bar is a gathering place for those wanting a church sans theology, a place, where, yes, everyone knows your name.  

Michael's book list on bars where I'd like to get a drink

Michael Keenan Gutierrez Why did Michael love this book?

First Pynchon. Favorite Pynchon. Opens up on Christmas Eve, 1955 with our hero Benny Profane hanging out in the Sailor’s Grave, a navy bar in Norfolk, where all of the “barmaids” are called Beatrice, including the owner, who posits “that just as small children call all females mother, so sailors, in their way equally helpless, should call barmaids Beatrice.” She tests this theory by putting rubber nipples on the end of the taps and having sailors chug from them during Suck Hour. And this is just the start of Pynchon flexing his hilarious and bizarre imagination in this picaresque novel. I come back to V. whenever I find myself marooned in a sea of depressing fiction, because it cradles me in love and joy.  

By Thomas Pynchon,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked V. as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first novel from the great, incomparable Thomas Pynchon.

The quest for V. sweeps us through sixty years and a panorama of Alexandria, Paris, Malta, Florence, Africa and New York. But who, where or what is V.? Bawdy, sometimes sad and frequently hilarious, V. as become a modern classic.

'The greatest, wildest, most infuriating author of his generation' Ian Rankin, Guardian

'To read V. today is to experience Pynchon anew' New Yorker


Book cover of Adequately Explained by Stupidity?: Lockerbie, Luggage and Lies

Jan Stocklassa Author Of The Man Who Played with Fire: Stieg Larsson's Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin

From my list on real conspiracies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was researching the assassination of Sweden’s Prime Minister Olof Palme when I came across the private archive of author Stieg Larsson. After eight years of research, my book The Man Who Played with Fire – Stieg Larsson’s Lost Files and the Hunt for an Assassin was published, which shines new light on the conspiracy behind the unsolved murder. The book has been translated into 27 languages. My first book Gripen by Prague exposes corruption by Saab and BAe in connection with the sale of supersonic jet fighters to the Czech Republic. In the aftermath of the book, police investigations were opened in seven countries including the US and the UK.

Jan's book list on real conspiracies

Jan Stocklassa Why did Jan love this book?

No list of books on real conspiracies should leave out the bombing of Pan Am 103 over the Scottish village Lockerbie in December 1988. After reading Morag Kerr’s book, it’s impossible to trust any of the evidence in the case against Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi. The book goes into a lot of detail but is still easy to read. If you like detective stories that focus on forensics, then this is the real deal. The only thing missing are the names of the people behind the bombing, but that may come in my next book, to be published in 2022…

By Morag G. Kerr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adequately Explained by Stupidity? as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tunnel vision or organised cover-up? How the Lockerbie investigation got the wrong man. Twenty-five years after Maid of the Seas crashed on the town of Lockerbie, this groundbreaking book introduces an entirely new perspective on the controversial investigation and subsequent conviction. Concentrating almost entirely on the transfer baggage evidence, it exposes shocking deficiencies in both the police inquiry and the forensic investigation, which led the hunt in entirely the wrong direction. Cleverly constructed to lead the reader through the complexities of the case, the book provides insights which will be new to even the most seasoned Lockerbie pundit, while remaining…


Book cover of St. Patrick's Gargoyle

Trae Stratton Author Of Thunder Peak

From my list on with talking animals and mythological creatures.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading/gaming and writing fantasy for over 40 years. My interest in the genre began with mythology, then spread into the now countless branches of the Tolkien tree. Along with the great quests and magic items, I was always enchanted by the non-human characters populating these magical worlds. Not just the elves, dwarves, and dragons, but the intelligent animals and mythological creatures like pegasi, minotaurs, treants, big cats, snakes, apes, eagles, gargoyles – the list is endless. Some were good, some misunderstood, and some were evil incarnate, but almost always, I found their stories the most intriguing. As a result, their stories will be a big part of my new series, The Tamm Chronicles.

Trae's book list on with talking animals and mythological creatures

Trae Stratton Why did Trae love this book?

Wonderful, fast-paced urban fantasy set in Dublin, Ireland. Gargoyles are former avenging angels who now watch over churches – that hook was simply irresistible to me. When some artifacts go missing from his cathedral, it’s up to the gargoyle Padraig and an elderly Knight of Malta (whose modern-day steed is a Rolls Royce) to find the sinister culprit and set things aright. The charming descriptions of Dublin, along with the witty banter of the heroes and the interesting nuggets of Celtic lore made me wish Kurtz had written a whole series of Gargoyle books. Sadly, she did not. Trigger assurance: the religious aspects are carefully handled so as to enhance the atmosphere of the story, not to insult or preach. St. Patrick’s Gargoyle is 200 of the fastest pages I have ever read.

By Katherine Kurtz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked St. Patrick's Gargoyle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When vandals break into St. Patrick's Cathedral, a gargoyle named Paddy takes to the streets of Dublin in search of revenge-but nothing could have prepared him for the evil that descends when he finds it.

"[Kurtz] wraps plenty of Dublin sights, fascinating bits of Catholic history, much ecumenical Christian goodwill, a cast of endearing characters, amusing dialogue and just enough thrills into a charming package of a tale." (Booklist, starred review)


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Malta, the London Blitz, and London?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Malta, the London Blitz, and London.

Malta 17 books
The London Blitz 34 books
London 817 books