Vienna’s Last Jihad, by C. Wayne Dawson, is a military action novel that takes on educating readers about the 1683 conflict in Vienna with invading Turks, which many don’t know ended up being a large turning point in history. However, it seems that there isn’t a wealth of information out there about the topic for the mainstream public and so it was a great choice for Dawson to form a novel around.
The foundation of his book delves into how Vienna’s 11,000 defenders defeated 138,000 Turks, utilizing a Professor of Languages, named Mathis Zieglar. A scholar, Mathis uses his intellect, his ability to speak Tartar, and his fighting skills, to make decisions to save those he loves as well as his country from the Turkish Empire.
It’s evident that Dawson did an enormous amount of research on the subject (and you’ll find resources in the back of his book that supports that theory) and he really focuses on the events leading up to the final conflict. It might be somewhat difficult to read through some parts due to your violence meter, but I find that in almost every military historical I read that’s written by a man. I’m not being sexist, it’s just what I’ve encountered to date! The male authors I’ve read in this genre seem to air on the side of historical accuracy and detailed fight scenes, events, weapons, and clothing as opposed to having the novel be a more character driven fantasy. There isn’t anything wrong with that, but I do feel as a reviewer I need to point it out because I am helping readers buy books that fit what they want to read. It most certainly will appeal to historians and military enthusiasts, but I believe that it could also be used in universities and colleges in their teaching about the Ottoman Empire and the past conflicts between various religions throughout history.
The excitement in the novel comes from protagonist Mathis moving through one adventure and situation to the next dangerous one. He wants to save his fiance from the Inquisition, his country from the Turks, and his family. He’s heroic and loyal and this shines through.
It’s not one of those books that moves me to tears or makes me shout from the mountains, but it does feel like a book I might have read for one of my college classes during the pursuit of my bachelor degree in history. It’s a historical that has action, adventure, detail, and authenticity. It’s an educated read as opposed to a novel you’d pick up on a Friday night when you just need to get lost in a story.
Come back tomorrow for my interesting interview with C. Wayne Dawson.
Publication Date: October 20, 2013
Katy Crossing Press
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.
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Author C. Wayne Dawson, Biography~
C. Wayne Dawson writes for The Williamson County Sun, and has written for History Magazine, Focus On Georgetown, The Georgetown Advocate, and SAFVIC Law Enforcement Newsletter. In 2012, he founded Central Texas Authors, an author’s marketing collective.
He was an Adjunct Professor of History for ten years at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California, where he created the Chautauqua program. There, he enlisted scholars, government officials and activists to discuss and debate social policy before the student body and the media.
In 2009, the students of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society honored him with the Glaux Mentor Teacher Award for bringing the Chautauqua program to Mt. SAC.
He currently lives in Georgetown, TX with his wife and two dogs.
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