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In the heart of Mediterranean, between the biggest discos of Europe, ancient fortresses and innovative skyscrapers, there is a modern Casablanca, where international intrigues take place and life has no value: welcome to Malta. Elizabeth Mancini, Anglo-Italian activist and researcher, involved in the struggle for migrants’ rights, inexplicably vanishes at Malta airport, where she was arrived to write a new book about the Skulls of Malta, a debatable theme between history and myth.Her husband, Fabrizio Valori, ex-captain of Italian army, pilot and martial arts champion, begins to search for her, bumping (literally) into the local police. Valori is a man troubled by his war experience in Afghanistan, where he was seriously injured and where, some time before, he had rescue one of the heirs to the throne, active in operations area.With him there are Marco Psaila, Maltese writer and friend, and Qitta Al Bouzi, british policewoman, actually an MI6 agent: thanks to them, Fabrizio discovers that the Skulls of Malta are more than a legend or an historical fact, they are a code for a real pact with the devil leading to the Sword, a mysterious middle Eastern financial expert, with a blindfold on one eye, rich, popular, and with the shadow of Isis on his back.Through breath-taking chases, gunfire, street fights, sex, homicides, war memories and an incredible final scene with aerial and naval duels, Valori and the Sword will run to an inevitable showdown for a revenge sprouted in an Afghanistan night of many years before.The ‘Skulls of Malta’ has the breath of international thriller, the rhythm and the high tension of the big spy stories of the past and the obsessive attention to particulars (to describe the actions and the sensations of pilot Fabrizio Valor in a better way, the author took lessons of helicopter pilotage); the novel, which is the first chapter of an ideal series, includes a geopolitical descriptions of Malta that, combined with other elements of the narration, merges actuality and historical fascination.

Andrea Monticone (Turin, 1972) is a journalist and author of noir novels that have received significant recognition. His short stories have been published into Arabic too. Among his works are Un assist per morire (“An Assist to Die For”) (2nd place at the International Literary Award Festival Giallo Garda 2019), Carne mangia carne (“Flesh Eats Flesh”) (one of the seven works selected by ‘Guarda che storia!’, a Film Commission Torino Piemonte and the Turin International Book Fair’s project), and the international thriller I teschi di Malta (“The Skulls of Malta”).