Title: Vienna's Last Jihad
Author: C. Wayne Dawson
Publisher: Katy Crossing Press
Acquired Via: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Release Date: October 20, 2013
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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When I was given the opportunity to review Vienna's Last Jihad, I jumped on it because it is the kind of book that I miss reading. You see, I spent many years studying history, focusing on the conflict between Christianity and Islam, so finding a piece of historical fiction along the lines of my studies was very exciting. Since the majority of what I know about the conflicts between Europe and the Middle East comes from the Crusades, so the history surrounding the events of the story was mostly new to me.
Though Vienna's Last Jihad is set in the 1600s, it really reads like a modern book. Mathis Zieglar was like an acrobatic Chuck Norris who could leap, kick, spin, and jump his way out of everything. Okay, that's not completely it because it helped that he was fluent in Tartar. It helped that Mathis Zieglar was not a real person (as far as I could tell) because I'm a stickler for details when it comes to my historical figures. (Unless I'm reading about the Tudors, which this is not.) It's also important for you to note that this book reads more like fiction for historians than historical fiction, if that makes sense. That is not to say that book is bad at all.
If you're a fan of fiction from time periods that don't pop up very often in mainstream novels and/or books about the historical interaction of Christians and Muslims, I recommend Vienna's Last Jihad. Dawson wrote a very interesting novel about a military event that I hope you will enjoy as much as I have.
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About the Author
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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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.