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Before the Fortress Falls Kindle Edition
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When rumors reach Vienna that an attack by the Ottoman army is imminent, Wilhelm von Schor, one of the emperor’s courtiers, prepares to evacuate his family—including his sister, Katja. But Katja’s reluctance to leave the city and the people she loves so well grows the farther the family carriage gets from her childhood home. When she learns that another brother, Xavier, is returning to Vienna with his musketeers, she decides to remain behind and face the shadow of war.
Katja soon reunites with Xavier and also with Toby, a dear friend from childhood. As Katja and Toby renew their friendship, an element of attraction builds on the comradery of their youth, and they quickly realize they have found something worth fighting for: love. But all too soon, the Ottomans encircle the city, blanketing its inhabitants in fear. Katja, Toby, and Xavier must each fulfill their new roles if they are to survive. In the overcrowded hospitals, below ground in the countermines, and on the ramparts defending the city walls, the three must fight for love, family, faith, and the survival of their city and everyone inside.
—Historical Novel Society, Editors' Choice Selection
"I applaud A. L. Sowards' Before the Fortress Falls. I have never before read a book that captivated me so completely. I fell into the story and was lost until the end of the book. The plot was so well developed, as were the characters. I could definitely relate to Katja and her strong, independent will. She loves fiercely and wants her family together. The way the author wrote different sections of the book which pertain to the main characters was brilliant, giving great care and attention to the main characters who are all fighting for the same thing . . . freedom and the ability to live as they wish. It is rare that a book holds my attention as well as Before the Fortress Falls did. A. L. Sowards is an incredible author and I truly look forward to reading more of their work. This was a fantastic story, steeped in history; full of strength, determination, and the human spirit and love. Not only love for one's family, but a stronger love for one's country, family, friends, and people. I highly recommend Before the Fortress Falls. It is an exceptional book."
"Before the Fortress Falls has become one of my all-time favorite novels. I felt as though I was there during the siege of Vienna in 1683 as I lived the story through the main characters, Katja, Xavier, and Wilhelm. I grew to love Katja, the rich young woman who makes a choice that changes her life forever. As the story unfolds, her eyes and heart are opened to what matters most in life: true love. I worried about Xavier as he fought to defend the city and whether he would survive. And I could hardly put the book down until I learned if Wilhelm's diplomatic mission was successful or not. This amazing story will whisk you away and stay with you long after you finish reading it."
—Kathi Oram Peterson, author of Treacherous Legacy (2021) and Danger Unknown (2022)
"Before the Fortress Falls is great historical fiction - interesting characters operating under great duress during one of the most pivotal battles in world history. Built on a foundation of meticulous research, the writing is authentic to the Battle of Vienna but with the added dimension of viewing it through the lives of both soldiers and civilians whose very lives were on the line. I particularly enjoyed the resolution at the end of the story where the great were humbled and the humble achieved greatness."
—Jerry Borrowman, award-winning author of twenty works of historical fiction and non-fiction.
"Everything I love in a book—thrilling battle scenes, serious emotional appeal, a unique setting and people, and even a little romance. This book really tugged at my heart, making me feel the fear, the anxiety, the hopelessness and triumph through each battle scene and conflict. I was right there with the characters, worrying each day that today would be the last day of freedom, praying that their allies would show up to deliver them from annihilation and slavery. Loved this book. The ending really packed an emotional punch that made the harrowing conflict worth it. If you want to learn about a new piece of history you've probably never read about before, this book should be put on your must-read list."
—Charissa Stastny, author of The Ruled out Romances Series and Of Stone and Sky (2021)
- ASIN : B09GLG2CX6
- Publisher : Covenant Communications (April 1, 2022)
- Publication date : April 1, 2022
- Language : English
- File size : 2263 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 379 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #891,104 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on April 4, 2022
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Katja's life dramatically changes as she sews sandbags and later nurses wounded and broken soldiers, along with the sick who remain in Vienna. She works tirelessly to aid the sisters and doctor while the battle rages all around her. Meanwhile, Xavier leads his men in battle day after day to keep the Turks from gaining ground, while Toby, a master craftsman, becomes a counterminer to thwart the Ottoman army from tunneling through his city. And it is within the confines of Vienna, against all odds of survival, that a tender and fragil love will blossom between Toby and Katja.
From what is happening in Europe, to the battle scenes, to the activity of the counterminers, to the makeshift hospital, everything is done in such an authentic manner in this book. I can’t say enough about the characters too, especially Wilhelm, Xavier, Katja, Toby and Ahmed, just to name a few. They are so genuine and so well written, it enabled me to see the war through their eyes, to feel their frustration, rage and fear. The scenes are raw and emotional and I have to admit I cried at least twice. I usually have a favorite character in most of the books I read and after serious consideration I have to pick Xavier. A beautiful brother and friend, a fierce and loyal soldier, stalwart to the end. If you love historical fiction, Before the Fortress Falls is a book I highly recommend. You will not be disappointed!
I want to thank NetGalley and Covenant Communications for an ARC of Before the Fortress Falls by A.L. Sowards. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Before the Fortress Falls takes place during a siege of Vienna in 1683. The Ottoman empire waged war to gain control of the city. The manner of warfare is very interesting. Today, bombs are launched from a distance whereas, in the 17th century, it was hand-to-hand combat.
The story focuses on three siblings who all play pivotal and different roles in defending the city. Wilhelm is a diplomat who is working behind the scenes and securing help, Katja is a young woman who helps in various ways, including taking care of the wounded, and Xavier is a warrior working with the musketeers.
The story also has two other characters with a POV, Toby who is a counterminer, and Ahmed who is with the Ottoman empire. The five characters create a complete picture of the war and the events surrounding it. Toby is also a love interest for Katja.
This book is well-written and the pacing is wonderful. It is one story that captures you from the beginning and holds your interest throughout the whole story. It is a story of hope in the midst of war and adversity. It does contain violence that is non-graphic. I highly recommend this book.
I thoroughly recommend this book and author.
I’ll shout it from the rooftops! Read. This. Book. It’s one of those stories that you didn’t know you needed in your life. It will make you laugh and it will make you cry. It will break your heart and put you back together, but it is so worth it. There is so much feeling in this book and the stories told within will stay with me for a long time.
This novel is about the Siege of Vienna. There is a lot of historical detail in the pages. Some may find the level of detail about battles to be too extensive, but I found it interesting. My favorite parts though were about Katja. I loved her joy in music and her possessiveness of her father's violin.
The novel is told in several viewpoints to give different aspects of the siege: Katja, her twin Xavier, her older brother Wilhelm and Turkish soldier Ahmed.