Summary and book reviews of The Shadow of God by Anthony Goodman

The Shadow of God

A Novel of the Siege of Rhodes

By Anthony A. Goodman

The Shadow of God
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  • Hardcover: Sep 2002,
    500 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2003,
    464 pages.

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Book Summary

In the year 1522 A.D., twenty-five-year-old Suleiman the Magnificent ruled the mighty Ottoman Empire, the largest military force in the world. Bent on annihilation, his army of more than 100,000 men set ashore on the tiny Greek island of Rhodes.

Inside the fortressed city, Philippe de L’Isle Adam, the battle-hardened Grand Master of the Knights of St. John and his small band of five hundred European knights prepared to defend their home against the massive attack. Both men, leaders of their people and defenders of their faiths, prepared for battle, each aware that victory would require great sacrifice…but unaware of just how great that sacrifice would be.

The Shadow of God is the true story of the clash between the West’s greatest cultures and religions on a battlefield that would test their courage and resolve. Anthony A. Goodman’s masterful storytelling brings you into the center of the action as Suleiman’s Muslim army tries to force its way over, through and under the walls of Rhodes. Scimitars clash against broadswords and burning oil cascades down on advancing troops while days turn into weeks and months of fear, death and unshakeable faith.

This gripping saga comes to life through an unforgettable cast of historical characters, including Jean and Melina, forbidden lovers trying to protect their new family in the wake of the attack; Gabriele Tadini, the wily mercenary whose clever ploys hold off the invading army against all odds; two Jewish doctors caught on different sides of the fight; a furtive spy behind the knights’ walls; Philippe, the wise and determined leader of the Knights of St. John; and the great Sultan Suleiman, a young man struggling to live up to his title as the Shadow of God on Earth. An epic of bravery and courage, The Shadow of God weaves a tapestry of terror and triumph set in a forgotten time of brutality, loyalty and honor.

Chapter 1
The Son of Selim

Edirne, northern Turkey, near the Greek border

September 21, 1520

Selim, Yavuz. Selim, the Grim.

Selim, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, slept fitfully in his tent. He lay under a pile of silk brocade coverlets. As he rolled onto his side, a piece of parchment fell to the carpeted floor. Piri Pasha, his Grand Vizier, knelt to tuck in the sides of his master’s covers. He reached down and picked up the parchment. Leaning nearer the light of the brazier, he unrolled the document. He immediately recognized the distinctive calligraphy of his master. He smiled as he realized that even in what could certainly be the last hours of the Sultan Selim’s life, there had been time for yet one more poem. Piri had made sure to leave the gilded box of writing materials always close to Selim’s bedside, for the master liked to write late into the night when the pain woke him.

Piri unrolled the parchment. The words were written in Persian, the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!


These questions were developed for readers of The Shadow of God by the author.


For Discussion:
  1. In 1492, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain expelled the Jews from their country, as did the King of Portugal four years later. Many of the Jews migrated to North Africa and made their way east, ultimately seeking refuge in Turkey under the rule of the Ottoman Sultan, Selim—Suleiman’s father. Do you see any similarities between Suleiman’s era and today’s Middle East situation? How do you think the political climate of the sixteenth century differed from the current Middle Eastern turmoil, and what were the specific similarities and differences between then and now?

  2. Why would Selim and Suleiman offer refuge...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

A good telling of a true story,readable, diverting, but not a standout.

Publishers Weekly

....so vividly rendered that historical fiction fans and medieval history enthusiasts will be crossing their fingers for a follow-up.

Library Journal - Jean Langlais

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 ... highly recommended for all public libraries.

Reader Reviews
Drew

I really enjoyed this novel! I'm not much of a reader and never can quite read a book to its finish, however I read and reread this one. It's a subject and time that appeals to most people and many ages, well written up to the very end, and a ...   Read More

Glen

A good first book by the writer. There are some definite hints of greater writing ability. However the characters, while believable are fairly two dimensional. At times while building a scene, or plot point the writing becomes a bit pedantic. Not...   Read More

harvey

fantastic -- reminded me of a real-life lord of the rings - two towers... but more vivid, dynamic, and emotional. super.

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