Brash and brilliant, twenty year old Mathis Zieglar, Professor of Languages, faces an agonizing choice: should he fight the Turks who take his family hostage and move to destroy Vienna? Or should he betray his army to save his kin? Vienna’s Last Jihad is an historical novel set against the 1683 siege of Vienna.
Europe is balanced on a knife’s edge while Mathis, the man who holds its fate in his hands, struggles against powerful enemies: Father Sistini, a Jesuit who brands him a heretic and drags Mathis’ fiancée off to the Inquisition; a xenophobic city mob, who wants him dead for protecting a Hungarian soldier; but most dangerous of all, Captain Tyrek, a Muslim chieftain who will kill Mathis’ family unless he spies against his own army. One by one, Tyrek’s agents murder Mathis’ closest associates in an attempt to isolate him. As 138,000 Turks grind down Vienna’s 11,000 defenders with no relief in sight, Mathis’ only chance to save family and country is to use his wits, the ability to speak Tartar and the knack he learned as a child to leap, whirl, and strike.
The 17th Century’s Blackest Villain.
By C. Wayne Dawson
In July of 1683, 138,000 Ottoman Turks surrounded Vienna, the principal city of the Holy Roman Empire, and threatened to annihilate it. The only thing standing between the inhabitants and slaughter was a thin line of 11,000 defenders.
Within weeks, the besieging army killed half of the local troops. Kara (“Black”) Mustafa, Grand Vizier of the Ottomans, had led the Muslim army to the brink of victory and Vienna to the edge of extinction.
The city had not adequate time to prepare for the assault because the Ottomans and the Holy Roman Empire had a peace treaty that was supposed to last another year. But Mustafa had deceived the Ottoman Sultan with false claims and induced him to declare war. In more ways than one, Mustafa was the “blackest” villain of the 17th century.
“Black” Mustafa, may have earned his nick name for one of several reasons. Historians say it may have referred to his evil character, tarnished by the vices of deception, drinking and intolerance for the mildest dissent. He certainly went over to the dark side when his army conquered the Crimean city of Human in 1674. Because the people refused to surrender, he ordered the survivors flayed alive like wild game, their hides stuffed and sent to the Sultan as trophies. Others say “Black” referred to his complexion, singed permanently by a fire.
Whichever explanation is truest, Mustafa’s assault on Vienna created one of its darkest moments. As Mustafa’s army advanced on the city, history records: “When the Turks stormed Hainburg in 1683, the defeat was astonishing. It was also massive. Fewer than 100 people survived; about 8,000 were killed.
“Composer Franz Joseph Haydn's grandfather was said to be one of the survivors. Local legend has it that he, like other survivors, climbed inside a chimney and hid until the massacre was over.”
Weeks later, Mustafa’s army besieged Perchtoldsdorf and promised clemency to those who surrendered. When the population obliged, 4,000 of them were slaughtered.
In just two months, Mustafa’s rampage depopulated eastern Austria, resulting in the disappearance of 100,000 people. Those escaping death were dragged off into slavery.
Read more about the “black” villain, Kara Mustafa, and the results of his plan to conquer Central Europe in the historical novel, Vienna’s Last Jihad. www.cwaynedawson.com.
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