President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca recently presided over the launch of La carezza del cavaliere, the latest novel by best-selling Italian author Paolo Gambi.

Gambi, who is also a journalist and former mental coach, was inspired by the Knights of Malta to write La carezza del cavaliere. He is very familiar with the history of the Order of St John, and his 23 publications so far include a study on the subject.

The novel presents two stories, narrated grippingly in alternating chapters, dealing with two knights who share the same name – Bertrand de  Villaret. However, one is an 80-year-old living in modern-day Rome  at the Order’s headquarters in Via Condotti, and the other is an 18-year-old stationed in the Holy Land in the 13th century at the Krak de Chevaliers.

They are linked by more than ancestral ties,  however, as both of them are hopelessly in love with a woman their age, despite their vow of chastity. To fulfil their aim they go through various trials and tribulations, obviously of a different character.

Introducing the speakers at the book launch, held at the Sala Antoine de Paule, the beautifully refurbished former stables of San Anton Palace, was Dr Michael Grech, Chancellor of the Maltese Association of the Sovereign Military Order, who spoke about the various charitable, philanthropic and hospitaller activities.

Laurence Grech, former editor of The Sunday Times of Malta, described the novel’s story line, and the author,  Paolo Gambi, replied to questions from the audience and said that an English translation of La carezza del cavaliere (The Knight’s Caress) will be published soon.

He added that he intended this to be the first of a trilogy inspired by the Knights and that the second one would be set in present-day Malta.

President Coleiro Preca thanked the speakers and the author for choosing a Maltese subject for his novels, adding that she looked forward to the next instalment of the trilogy.

La carezza del cavaliere may be ordered online from Amazon.

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