Published by Osprey Publishing ISBN: 1-84176-214-8
Soft cover 68 pages
The recent release by Osprey in their "Warrior" series was one highly anticipated by myself as it deals with the beginning of the Order of St John, of which I am a member of the modern day incarnation - St John Ambulance Brigade (or as it's now known here in Australia - St John Ambulance Australia).
The book covers the first 200 years of the Knights Hospitallers, having been set up by Raymond Du Puy in the early 1100s to protect pilgrims visiting the Holy Land. This period covers the Hospitallers activities in the Holy Land up to just before they occupied Rhodes in 1306. It deals with various aspects of the life of the Hospitallers including: origins and the militarisation of the Order, recruitment, organisation and structure, motivation and morale, costume, weapons and harness, training, stratedy and tactics, support services and everyday life.
Using paintings, frescos, armour, modern day photos and other relics, David Nicole builds up a through study of the early Hospitallers - how they lived and fought. Accompanied by the wonderful colour illustrations of Christa Hook which cover the arms and armour of the Hospitallers, this adds up to a most enjoyable book. The only drawback to the book in my opinion is that they don't dwell much on the hospital side of the Hospitallers, but concentrate more on the military side. This is a bit regrettable as one of the prime functions of the Order was to look after "their Lords the Sick" - however this is understandable.
I would recommend this book to any modeller wishing to model the Hospitallers (see figure review) or just would like to learn more about the origins of the Order of St John.