6 Books Based In Malta You Need To Read This Winter

Beautiful narratives, starring our very own island

Books Based In Malta

We always feel a bit of a flutter when we see mention of Malta anywhere when we’re abroad. We don’t know if it’s small island syndrome or some sort of crippling inferiority complex, but it just happens.

If you’re like us and love seeing your country’s name on stuff, here are six books based in Malta which you need to read ASAP.

1. Earthly Powers

Anthony Burgess

As a punishment for his tax exile, British novelist Anthony Burgess spent two years living in Malta. Our island impressed him so much that he decided to base his novel Earthly Powers on our way of life.

In the most unflattering way ever.

The novel is based on questionable ethics and social misconducts. It’s a first hand experience of what the author went through due to Malta’s tough censorship regime in the early 70s.

Burgess’ works were heavily censored on the island for quite a long time, something which evidently irked him.

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2. V

Thomas Pynchon

This book tells the story of an ex-Navy member whose only ambition in life is to have zero responsibilities whatsoever.

It’s tragic, well-written and funny, which pretty much ticks all of our boxes. If you’re looking for an entertaining way to extend your vocabulary, grab yourself a copy of V, please.

It’s not super easy to grasp, as the novel centres around a bunch of different things at the same time, but if you love other Pynchon classics such as The Crying of Lot 49, this is a definite must-read for you.

We promise.

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3. The Siege of Malta

Sir Walter Scott

This book was written in the 19th Century, however it was published for the first time around 10 years ago.

It tells the story of, you guessed it, The 1565 Siege of Malta.

The book’s storytelling shifts between the Knights’ commander, one of the Order’s servants, the King of Spain and the Ottoman camps.

If you’re into scheming, deceit, war and Game of Thrones-esque plots, this book was made just for you. It centres a lot, and we mean a lot on the military side of the siege, so it’s a pretty cool way to get an insight of how the whole thing.

There’s a bit of romance thrown in too, but we don’t really care for that.

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4. The Jukebox Queen of Malta

Nicholas Rinaldi

This book is an easy read, so it’s perfect for someone who is not looking for a mind-boggling story to lose sleep over.

This passionate novel set in 1940’s Malta, where an American mechanic is stationed on the island during the war.

It’s a classic boy meets girl story set in a Valletta which centres around this mechanic and his love interest, Melita, a jukebox delivery gal.

If you’re into romantic stories, war and people starving all over the country, The Jukebox Queen of Malta is exactly what you need to immerse yourself in this winter.

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5. The Religion

Tim Willocks

This entry is also based on The Great Siege, but it has quite a different take from the other book. It’s a super immersive novel which will take you back to when our island was attacked by one of the largest armies of the world, in the name of religion.

It tells the story of a French countess who is in search of her long-lost son who is rumoured to be living in Malta.

The daring countess joins forces with an arms dealer and an adventurer who accompany her on this fantastic voyage taking place amid one of history’s greatest holy wars.


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6. The Kappillan of Malta

Nicholas Monsarrat

This is the second WWII-based book on the list, we’re trying to keep those to a minimum since it’s not something everyone is into.

This book tells the story of a local kappillan vigilante during the most debris-filled period on the island. He feeds starving folk, comforts those who are terrified and offers shelter to those in need.

It’s a bit extra graphic so if you’re not into ħlewwa ta’ qalb skip this one. It’s striking, it’s powerful and it will most probably make you cry like a wee baby.

Did we forget to mention any good books based in Malta? Leave us a comment below and tag someone who needs to read one of these book!

READ NEXT: 16 Maltese Books You Need To Read

Written By

Chiara Micallef