THE MALTA ESCAPE


WARNING: If you haven’t read this book yet, you should not view this webpage. It contains pictures and descriptions that will spoil the plot. This page is intended to supplement the book. Please view this page only after reading THE MALTA ESCAPE.


Chapter 2 ― Tallinn’s Old Town is such a well-preserved medieval city that it's easy to forget the current century. While many cities from the Middle Ages have only chunks of their original defense walls, nearly all of Tallinn’s remain. Standing taller than many buildings and measuring over a mile in length, the massive wall is capped with twenty-six of its original towers, each offering impressive views of the city within and the sea beyond.


Tallinn 01
Outside Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia (July 2015)


Tallinn 02
Town Hall Square in Tallinn, Estonia (July 2015)


Tallinn 03
Wedding procession in Tallinn, Estonia (July 2015)



Chapter 3 ― Widely considered the best city view in America, Mount Washington showcases the unique scenery of Pittsburgh, which includes the confluence of three rivers (the Monongahela and Allegheny form the Ohio), two pro sports stadiums (PNC Park and Heinz Field), dozens of hills and valleys, and over 400 bridges.

Pittsburgh 01
View from Mount Washington (Pittsburgh, PA)




Chapter 4 ― Covered with an orange-tiled roof that matches the tower above, the walkway to Nunnatorn measures several hundred feet in length and runs in both directions. Although the exterior side of the walkway is protected by stone—merely an extension of the city wall—the inner side is open to the elements and lined with timber banisters, giving tourists a great view of the cobblestone streets nearly thirty feet below.

Town-wall-01
Inside the city wall on a bad-hair day (July 2015)


Town-wall-02
The upper walkway on the interior side of the city wall (July 2015)


Nunnatorn
Ivan Volkov enjoyed Nunnatorn more than Sergei Bobrinsky



Chapter 8 ― Officially known as the Republic of Malta, the scenic European nation is spread across a rocky archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. Located south of Italy and north of Libya, Malta consists of three main islands (Malta, Gozo, and Comino) and several smaller ones. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It is also one of the most picturesque, as you can plainly tell from this black-and-white map.

Malta-map
Word of warning: Maltese sharks are as big as islands!!!



Chapter 8 (cont.) Payne and Jones needed to buy clothes, so they went to the Point Shopping Mall in Sliema, which is the largest retail mall in Malta. While there, they stumbled upon a book event featuring Graham Brown, Boyd Morrison, and a tall guy with a wrinkled blue shirt.

Point Shopping Mall
The Point Shopping Mall in Sliema, Malta


Book Event 01
Book event at the Agenda bookshop in the Point Shopping Mall (June 2015)


Book event 02
If you needed a good book, there were plenty to choose from (June 2015)



Chapter 9 ― Directly south of the pedestrian bridge was the capital city of Valletta. It loomed high above stone ramparts that appeared to line the length of the harbor. Nearly every building in sight was the color of sand, which contrasted sharply with the blue hue of the water that extended all the way to the horizon.

Guardian article
Graham Brown, Boyd Morrison, and a tall Polack in Sliema (June 2015)



Chapter 10 ― Corinthia Hotel St. George’s Bay is located in St. Julian’s, a seaside town a few miles northwest of the shopping mall. The view from Payne's suite was nearly as spectacular as the panorama from the pedestrian bridge in Sliema, but instead of the cityscape of Valetta, Payne and Jones were treated to the crystal blue water of the pool below and the turquoise water of the sea beyond as they ate their breakfast.

Corinthia Hotel 01
Corinthia Hotel St. George’s Bay (St. Julian’s, Malta)

Corinthia Hotel 02
Corinthia Hotel St. George’s Bay at twilight (St. Julian’s, Malta)


Chapter 12 Located directly across the water from Valletta, Birgu is a historic city on the south side of the Grand Harbour. Although it is the site of many tourist destinations, including the Inquisitor’s Palace and the Collegiate Church of Saint Lawrence, the waterfront is the main attraction.

Birgu 02
The Birgu waterfront at twilight


Birgu 03
Birgu Festival of Lights (Birgu, Malta)


Chapter 13 ― Before bumping into Payne and Jones, Jarkko visited the Malta Maritime Museum in search of clues about the treasure of the Knights Hospitallers, an organization that dates back to 1099 AD.


Maritime Museum 01
Outside the Malta Maritime Museum (Birgu, Malta)


Maritime Museum 02
Inside the Malta Maritime Museum (June 2015)



Chapter 16 ― The Upper Barrakka Gardens are located on the upper tier of the St. Peter & Paul Bastion. Originally used by the Order of Saint John for recreation, the gardens were opened to the public following the end of the French occupation of Malta in 1800 AD. (Whatever you do, don't ask Jarkko about the trees!)

Upper Barrakka Gardens 01
The Upper Barrakka Gardens (Valletta, Malta)


Upper Barrakka Gardens 03
Saluting Battery in the Upper Barrakka Gardens (Valletta, Malta)


Upper Barrakka Gardens 04
View of the bastions supporting the Upper Barrakka Gardens (Valletta, Malta)



Chapter 17 ― During my journey from the Upper Barrakka Gardens to the National Library of Malta, I bumped into Lara Croft on the streets of Valletta, so I decided to put her in the book as an inside joke.

Lara Croft
Two action heroes in sexy shorts (Ha!)



Chapter 17 (cont.)
― The National Library of Malta is located in Republic Square in the center of the city. Designed by Polish-Italian architect Stefano Attar in 1776 AD, the Bibliotheca (as it is often called) is an early example of neoclassical architecture in Malta. Noted for its symmetrical façade and its mix of Doric and Ionic columns, the library sits in the rear of a stone plaza that once housed the treasury of the Order of Saint John.

National Library of Malta 00
The National Library of Malta (Valletta, Malta)



Chapter 18 ― The arched ceiling of the main reading room soared more than thirty feet above Jones and ran as far as he could see—without any poles, columns, or visible supports to hold it up. That left nothing but wide-open space and the occasional table in a spectacular chamber that was lined from floor to ceiling on all four sides by wooden shelf after wooden shelf filled with ancient books.

National Library of Malta 04
The National Library of Malta (Valletta, Malta)


National Library of Malta 10
Holding an original copy of Les Propheties by Nostradamus



Chapter 23 Interpol headquarters is an impressive-looking fortress that overlooks the Rhone in Lyon, France. Somewhere inside this building is Nick Dial's "ding-a-ling".


Interpol 02
Front entrance to Interpol headquarters (Lyon, France)


Chapter 26 ― Jarkko docked his yacht in the Grand Harbor Marina in Birgu. Unfortunately, Volkov vandalized the boat while Payne, Jones, Jarkko, and Marissa dealt with the police at the National Library in Valletta.

Birgu 01
Grand Harbor Marina (Birgu, Malta)



Chapter 29 ― The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni is a Neolithic subterranean structure dating back to 3,300 BC. To put that in perspective, it’s roughly 800 years older than the Great Pyramid of Giza. Located underneath the town of Paola in the South Eastern Region of Malta, it was discovered in 1902 AD in the middle of a crowded neighborhood when workers cutting a cistern for a new housing development broke through its roof.

hypogeum
Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni (photo from Smithsonian Magazine)



Chapter 30 ― The Palace of the Grand Master is an impressive Gothic fortress on the island of Rhodes. It served as the home of the Knights Hospitallers before they eventually departed for Malta.

Rhodes - Palace
Palace of the Grand Master (Rhodes, Greece)



Chapter 31 ― Fort St. Angelo is a bastioned fort in Birgu, Malta, located at the center of the Grand Harbour. It is best known for its role as the headquarters for the Order of Saint John’s during the Great Siege of Malta of 1565.

Fort Saint Angelo 1
Three authors sailing past Fort St. Angelo in a dgħajsa (a Maltese gondola)



Chapter 36 ― Jarkko (jokingly) wanted to slay an albino tiger in a Viking blood ceremony, but the Oracle (not pictured) intervened before the tiger had a chance to maul several major characters and ruin my book.

Albino tiger
No tigers were harmed during the writing of this novel



Chapter 39 ― After the fall of Malta in 1798 AD, Emperor Paul I of Russia was elected as the de facto Grand Master of the Knights Hospitallers, but he was assassinated in 1801 AD.

Paul 1 - Russia
Paul I of Russia (notice the Maltese cross)



Chapter 44 ― When Ivan Volkov needed information about Paul I, he went to the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is the second-largest art museum in the world (behind only the Louvre in Paris) and was founded by Catherine the Great, who happened to be the mother of the former grand master.

State Hermitage Museum
State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia



Chapter 49 ― Founded in Valletta in 1839 AD, St. Paul's Pro-Cathedral was one of three cathedrals of the Anglican Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe, but since the church wasn’t the main cathedral of the diocese, it was stuck with the designation “pro-cathedral” in spite of its size and grandeur. Considered a local landmark, its spire stands nearly two hundred feet tall and was constructed with Maltese limestone in a neo-classical style.

St. Paul's Pro-Cathedral
St. Paul's Pro-Cathedral in Valletta, Malta



Chapter 51 ― Many of the tunnel systems underneath the streets of Valletta are infested with tree roots. Here is a mixture of ancient stone walls, thirsty roots, and modern infrastructure.

Cables and roots
Tunnel system underneath the streets of Valletta, Malta



Chapter 57 ― On a hill to their west was Uspenski Cathedral, a spectacular red-bricked church with thirteen green-and-gold onion domes, representing Christ and the twelve apostles. Modeled after a sixteenth-century church in Moscow, its bricks came from the Bomarsund fortress in Aland, Finland, which had been destroyed during the Crimean War in 1854. Regardless of its beauty, the largest Russian Orthodox church in western Europe somehow filled them with dread, as if Volkov himself was peering down at them.

Uspenski Cathedral 04
Uspenski Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland



Chapter 58 ― Spread across six islands, Suomenlinna is a massive sea fortress built by the Swedish crown in 1748 AD, back when Finland was still a part of the Swedish kingdom. Its original goal was to protect Helsinki from Russian expansionism, but it fell to them in 1808 AD, paving the way for Russia’s occupation of Finland the following year. Isolated from Helsinki proper, Payne hoped that the island stronghold would protect innocents and help Jarkko defeat Volkov and his men, finally claiming a Finnish victory against Russian forces.

Suomenlinna 1
Aerial photo of Suomenlinna

Suomenlinna 2
Approaching Island 1 (Kustaanmiekka) by boat

Suomenlinna 3
Old cannons line the shores of Suomenlinna



Chapter 61 ― Measuring 134 feet in length and 26 feet in height, the Finnish sub Vesikko sits on concrete blocks at the bottom of a hill on the edge of the water. Out of service since 1946, the submarine was about to see its first action in decades as Payne approached it from the water.

Vessiko submarine
The Russian henchmen tried to hide behind the Vessiko



Chapter 62 ― As his boat reached the quay in front of the King’s Gate, Volkov realized his odds of success were slim, so he took matters into his own hands and slaughtered his own men.

King's Gate 1.jpg
Aerial photo of the King's Gate


Chapter 63 ― Associated with the Order of Saint John since the sixteenth century, the eight-pointed cross was formed by four V-shapes, each joining the others at its vertex while the two tips spread outward in a symmetrical fashion. The eight points of the four arms represented the eight original langues of the Knights Hospitallers while also symbolizing the eight obligations of the knights: to live in truth; to have faith; to repent of one’s sins; to be humble; to love justice; to be merciful; to be sincere and wholehearted; and to endure persecution.

Maltese Cross 1
Maltese cross



Chapter 63 (cont.) ― After surrendering to the French, Grand Master Hompesch was despised by most of the knights and was ridiculed far and wide for his inactivity during the invasion, but he never said a word about his secret plans because he didn’t think that it was in the best interest of the Order.

Ferdinand von Hompesch
Grand Master Ferdinand von Hompesch


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