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Clash of Cultures: Christian Knights Defend Western Civilization Against the Moslem Tide
Author: Ernle Bradford
Pubpsher: Open Road Media
The indispensable account of the Ottoman Empire’s Siege of Malta from the author of Hannibal and Gibraltar. In the first half of the sixteenth century, the Ottoman Empire was thought to be invincible. Suleiman the Magnificent, the Ottoman sultan, had expanded his empire from western Asia to southeastern Europe and North Africa. To secure control of the Mediterranean between these territories and launch an offensive into western Europe, Suleiman needed the small but strategically crucial island of Malta. But Suleiman’s attempt to take the island from the Holy Roman Empire’s Knights of St. John would emerge as one of the most famous and brutal military defeats in history. Forty-two years earlier, Suleiman had been victorious against the Knights of St. John when he drove them out of their island fortress at Rhodes. Believing he would repeat this victory, the sultan sent an armada to Malta. When they captured Fort St. Elmo, the Ottoman forces ruthlessly took no prisoners. The Roman grand master La Vallette responded by having his Ottoman captives beheaded. Then the battle for Malta began in earnest: no quarter asked, none given. Ernle Bradford’s compelling and thoroughly researched account of the Great Siege of Malta recalls not just an epic battle, but a clash of civilizations unlike anything since the time of Alexander the Great. It is “a superior, readable treatment of an important but little-discussed epic from the Renaissance past . . . An astonishing tale” (Kirkus Reviews).
Release on 2013-06-18 | by Nora Sojourner Chalfont
An Adventure Story & Allegory
Author: Nora Sojourner Chalfont
Pubpsher: Xlibris Corporation
St. Elmo's Fire is a maritime phenomenon where natural electrical discharge, primarily from lightning, causes a ship's mast to glow. Its aura can be seen for miles, and it has been believed to be either an evil omen or a sign of protection and good luck at sea. Beginning in the Port of New York in fall, 1834, St. Elmo's Fire is a fast-paced story of adventure and misadventure. Twenty-year-old Donecha (DONecka) Van Fossen, bookish son of Irish-Dutch immigrant parents, manages to escape their dreary life and follow his dream of becoming a seaman. After his family's tenement is burned to the ground, Donecha is taken aboard the sailing ship Il Paradiso as tutor to the captain's son, eleven-year-old Lyle, who has been held captive at sea for most of his young life. Finding out why and by whom is the central mystery. As the bond between Donecha and Lyle grows, they discover that the true mission of Il Paradiso is twofold: to rescue Liana, Lyle's hidden sister, from the clutches of Mediterranean relatives who would seize both children and appropriate their rightful inheritance, and also to find their mysterious mother, who appears to Lyle as the "glow in the sky". Moving from the Port of New York across the Atlantic to various Mediterranean ports, and back, the travelers return shortly before the Great Fire of New York leveled most of lower Manhattan in December, 1835. Well into the nineteenth century, the stormy Atlantic was still open range for privateers, latter day pirates. Dramatic encounters and narrow escapes throughout the journey build suspense. The rescue effort involves intrigues, pursuits, betrayals, as well as merriment, humor and a touch of romance. In the end Il Paradiso succeeds where Il Purgatorio and Il Inferno have failed. In addition to Donecha and Lyle, other major characters include Mr. Crawdon, landlord, shipowner and father to Lyle; Slogo, the ship's galley cook; Lyle's sister, Liana; and Lyle's pet monkey, the Little Marqus. Characters are merry and scary, wry and sly. Linked into plot and character development are recurrent motifs of fires, secret passages, lively turnabouts of streotypes and the escapades of Lyle's clever little monkey. In the end, the wily Mr. Crawdon and the unlikely Slogo turn out to be the saviors of them all. Numerous character and plot shifts draw the reader to a surprising conclusion. St. Elmo's Fire is a family-oriented story, between 35,000 and 36,000 words, divided into 26 short chapters, It is suitable for family reading and late elementary or middle school readers, both boys and girls, or as a chapter book. The characters and situations are credible in context and historical and geographical detail is generally accurate. The story would be well illustrated with lively drawings, say pen and gouache. Cinematic potential.