Wednesday, July 29, 2009

First (and second) hardcopy book for review.

This is turning out to be a good day. I got my first hardcopy book in the mail for review today. The book is Curse of the Tahiera by Wendy Gillissen.

The jacket blurb:
A journey through haunted forests, through dreams and time.
A story of love, magic and the power of forgiveness.
Rom, a young Tzanatzi outcast and Yldich, a mysterious Einache shaman are on the trail of an ancient curse.
Will they save their people from destruction?
I've had e-books before, which I like (they don't take space on the shelf), but this feels "real". Mailbox Monday is going to be fun next week. I just couldn't wait that long to squeal in glee.

Edited to add:
Double reason to squeal: Defenders of the Faith, by James Reston Jr. just arrived as well (an hour or so later). This one will hold a special place as it was the first offer I got of a book to review. Not to mention that it simply looks interesting.

The jacket description:
A bestselling historian recounts sixteen years that shook the world— the epic clash between Europe and the Ottoman Turks that ended the Renaissance and brought Islam to the gates of Vienna

In the bestselling Warriors of God and Dogs of God, James Reston, Jr., limned two epochal conflicts between Islam and Christendom. Here he examines the ultimate battle in that centuries-long war, which found Europe at its most vulnerable and Islam on the attack. This drama was propelled by two astonishing young sovereigns: Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Turkish sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Though they represented two colliding worlds, they were remarkably similar. Each was a poet and cultured cosmopolitan; each was the most powerful man on his continent; each was called “Defender of the Faith”; and each faced strident religious rebellion in his domain. Charles was beset by the “heresy” of Martin Luther and his fervid adherents, even while tensions between him and the pope threatened to boil over, and the upstart French king Francis I harried Charles’s realm by land and sea. Suleyman was hardly more comfortable on his throne. He had earned his crown by avoiding the grim Ottoman tradition of royal fratricide. Shiites in the East were fighting off the Sunni Turks’ cruel repression of their “heresy.” The ferocity and skill of Suleyman’s Janissaries had expanded the Ottoman Empire to its greatest extent ever, but these slave soldiers became rebellious when foreign wars did not engage them.

With Europe newly hobbled and the Turks suffused with restless vigor, the stage was set for a drama that unfolded from Hungary to Rhodes and ultimately to Vienna itself, which both sides thought the Turks could win. If that happened, it was generally agreed that Europe would become Muslim as far west as the Rhine.

During these same years, Europe was roiled by constant internal tumult that saw, among other spectacles, the Diet of Worms, the Sack of Rome, and an actual wrestling match between the English and French monarchs in which Henry VIII’s pride was badly hurt. Would—could—this fractious continent be united to repulse a fearsome enemy?
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