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Book Review of “Vienna’s Last Jihad”

By Thomas M. Mitchell, PhD, LTC, USAR (Retired Colonel)

Vienna’s Last Jihad, set in 1683 war-torn Vienna, is the story of a young man’s devotion to his country, his family, and his fiancée. Doctor Mathis Zieglar loses his position at the University of Vienna, run by Jesuit priests, over questions of academic freedom.

Dr. Mathis Zieglar

Vienna is under siege by the Ottoman Turkish Empire and their allies, the Tartars. Fluent in both the Turkish and Tartar languages, Mathis is immediately offered a job as an interpreter in the army. He accepts the position against the wishes of his fiancée, Magda. He is forced by the Tartars to spy against Vienna in order to save Magda, both their families, their village, and Christendom from the Turks.

Vienna’s Last Jihad is a superbly researched historical novel that transports the reader into the time and culture of the epic struggle of Vienna and her allies against the Muslim invaders. Vivid descriptions of the military tactics used by the attacking Turks and Tartars, and the strategies of the allied armies defending Vienna are key to the authenticity of this novel and will appeal to anyone who enjoys military adventure.

War is always brutal, and Vienna’s Last Jihad spares nothing in describing the lengths both sides go to in order to prevail. Spies and double agents, betrayal and treachery, are just the beginning of Mathis’ problems. Sometimes he doesn’t know whom he is fighting. “I would rather fight the Turks man to man than face the Jesuits,” his commanding officer tells him. Everywhere he turns, a disturbing new revelation stands between Mathis and Magda, and the survival of Vienna. Can he save his beloved city and those he loves, or must he sacrifice one to save the other? I enjoyed this book and found myself thoroughly immersed in it not only for its twists of plot, but also for its historical and military exactness.

Thomas M. Mitchell, PhD, LTC, USAR (Retired Colonel)