Books such as this opus are not only appealing celebrations of Maltese architectural delights but they also serve as a useful catalogue documenting a certain moment in history. A few decades from now readers may well be frowning at what may have changed unfavourably by then or maybe, pray God not, lost.

Seeing however the manner with which the built environment across the country is developing conservationists can only be fearful. A seemingly unstoppable determination to stoke urban sprawl in all directions is forever obliterating the legibility of most towns and villages, filling their historic nodes with disproportionate storeys-high of soulless apartment blocks, blotting out age-old vistas and church dominated panoramas. Only our walled cities are so far relatively safe, the very battlements built to resist attack serve now as buffer zones against the onslaught beyond.