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The Age of Ironfire
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On Sale

A Delacorte Book
Bantam Dell
A Division of Random House, Inc.
ISBN 0-385-33601-2
$ 24.95

On Sale in the UK
under the title

The Sword and the Scimitar
A Division of
Random House UK
ISBN: 0091799414

On Sale in Germany
under the title
Asha: Sohn von Malta
ISBN: 3795118263
EUR 22,90

A Novel of the Knights of Malta and the Last Battle of the Crusades.... .

From the cruelty of the slave markets of Algiers to the majesty of Topkapi, the sultan’s seraglio in Constantinople, to the convent of the noble Knights of St. John in Malta, Ironfire is a novel of the timeless struggle between the religions and cultures of East and West.

Early reviews....

Chicago Sun-Times  Denver Post    Seattle Times   Cleveland Plain Dealer
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel   San Jose Mercury News   Boulder Daily Camera
 Rocky Mountain News   Library Journal   Booklist   Publisher's Weekly   Kirkus
Portland Oregonian   Grand Rapids Press

   A sweeping historical epic that encompasses diverse cultures and decades in a part of the world still scoured by the crosswinds of conflict. (Ball’s) history is concrete, but a novel is not merely a history textbook. It must engage the reader with characters, literally individual humans with dreams, losses, flaws, quests, regrets, fears, faith and misgivings. Boris Pasternak did it. So did James Clavell, James Michener and Jean Auel.  Like them, Ball has built an action-packed, often erotic and always sensual epic-adventure around a handful of well-developed characters swept up in the maelstrom of 16-century holy wars.

—Chicago Sun-Times

 Merely developing three-dimensional characters in modern commercial publishing is a rare notion; sustaining a reader's interest in them over nearly 700 pages is the literary equivalent of finding weapons of mass destruction in Baghdad...

...resonates with masterful and real details exceeding imagination. And infusing every action is the pungency of smoldering religious fires, not just Islam and Christianity, but Judaism, too. In that combustible mix of passions alone, Ball captures the essence of a modern catastrophe. 

—Denver Post

Ball proves himself a master storyteller, his richly detailed literary canvas bringing to life an age of religious fanaticism and conflict....A sweeping novel of adventure, war, treachery and love set against the backdrop of the conflict between Christian Europe and the encroaching Islamic Ottoman Empire...an intimate tangle of cruelty, love and revenge.

—Cleveland Plain Dealer

Just when the blockbuster historical novel seemed an endangered species, Ironfire weighs in...David Ball's 667 pages of swashbuckle and romance bring to life the Siege of Malta of 1565. Ball's solid historical research not only illuminates the political realities of the 16th century, it lends perspective to present-day incarnations of the same feud....

...In the best traditions of the genre, Ball shows us history from multiple and opposing points of view. Islam emerges looking more equitable and enlightened than the Crusaders in its policies of educating and promoting peasants and slaves to positions of authority.

This is a novel with Major Motion Picture written all over it.

—The Seattle Times

A vast, entertaining historical saga...swashbuckling, at times sexy, packed with raw emotion, and just plain fun...Ball keeps you frantically flipping pages toward (the) climax.  ... this novel would make a ripping good TV miniseries.

—Boulder Daily Camera

This historian and storyteller (Ball) brings the world of knights and sultans together in magnificent fashion in this epic tale that spans a lifetime.

Ironfire is a remarkable tale, first for Ball's command of history and the mountains of research he did for the book. Second, for the scope of Ironfire, which begins on the rocks of Malta, eddies through the Mediterranean, stops in Algiers, rests in Istanbul, includes the Paris countryside, and returns full force to Malta. And third, for the characters he creates: Maria and Nico, Christien and Alisa, the Grand Master de La Valette, Dragut Rais, and many others.

It's nearly impossible to describe Ironfire in its entirety, for its scope is broad and the details legion. Suffice it to say that you'll find love, betrayal, hatred, death, warfare, victory, slavery and freedom all within its covers. You'll quickly fall under the spell of Maria and Asha, Malta and Istanbul.

 —The Grand Rapids Press

“Crowded with events that both forecast and mirror the conflicts of today…Ball’s wealth of realistic detail and depth of characterization bring to vivid life this exciting 16th-century historical adventure. I couldn’t put it down, and thought about it for days.”

Jean M. Auel, author of the Earth's Children series

"Once again, historical novelist Ball has written a richly imagined, brilliantly plotted saga, and once again the de Vries family, featured in the well-reviewed Empires of Sand, plays a pivotal role. Highly recommended..."

—Library Journal (starred review)

"Ball brings the tail end of the Crusades to life in a substantial piece of historical fiction that sizzles with action, romance, and drama."


"Those who love to immerse themselves in older worlds, and who lament how soon shorter novels seem to end, will find themselves thrilling at the satisfying impact of Ironfire.

"This tale is no milquetoast treatise on psycho-social conflict. Filled with villains and heroes, knights and battles, monks and harems, sultans and slaves, Ironfire has all the ingredients of a juicy adventure.  Ball serves up this story with a hearty helping of bone-crunching realism, where all the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the 16th century come alive..."

Rocky Mountain News

"An epic adventure with action, suspense, and romance. David Ball brings alive sultan's palaces, the world of corsairs and knights and the realities of 16th-century medicine and combat."

Phillip M. Margolin, author of Wild Justice

"Masterful, action-packed....Copious with historical information--surprisingly relevant in light of current history...Ball anchors it all in character. A winning combination."

Kirkus Reviews

“Ironfire” exceeds Ball's 1999 historical debut “Empires of Sand”…The conflict is splashed across the page in grisly, cataclysmic detail, yet the reader never loses sight of Nico, Maria and other important characters in the fog of an ancient war. One of the truest tests of a good historical novel is how inextricably fiction entangles with fact. Ironfire is marbled with real historic figures, such as the near-mythic Muslim pirate Dragut Rais; Jean Parisot de la Valette, the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John whose name was given to Malta's capital city; and even Father Jesuald, a heretic priest burned at the stake in Malta for advocating priestly marriages.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Sweeping... epic...a story of love and valor...action packed....

The Portland Oregonian


San Jose Mercury News

This is historical fiction at its best: dramatic, sweeping, and detailed.

—Publishers Weekly

In Ironfire, David Ball has given us a prime example of exemplary historical fiction. Not only is it a realistic depiction of a faraway time and place, but he's populated his story with interesting and believable characters and keeps the suspense ratcheted in top gear all the way. Ironfire allows a peek into different worlds that coexisted at the same time with the hatred and fanaticism that rings true to this day. It's easy to divide the world into good and evil and be appalled at the actions of those opposed to one's religion or way of life. Part of what David Ball has presented with this novel is the perspective from both sides that considers the other to be evil, and the justifications of their actions as being God's or Allah's way. In that sense, Ironfire also succeeds as precautionary tale for today with hope that we all learn from the lessons of history so that we don't repeat the same mistakes.

This is one top-notch read. Highly recommended.



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