The dramatic story of Islam's counter-crusade against western Christendom, written
with vivid narrative power by the author of The Crusades.
Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, was one of the most powerful
figures in the 16th-century world. This vastly enjoyable account of his impact on
Christian Europe from 1520 to the 1560s shows him battering on the gates of Vienna,
engaged in running battles with the Hungarians and the Knights of St John and in
constant conflict with the navies of the Mediterranean powers.
The threat of Islam in the 16th century was not so different in people's imaginations
from the West's fear of the East today. To the Habsburg Emperor Charles V, and to
King Francis I of France, Suleiman -from his base in Constantinople - was a super-power
to be reckoned with. The epic sieges of Rhodes, Vienna and Malta are the big action
set-pieces of the book; the Janissaries of the Sultan hold centre stage.
When Suleiman died in 1566 the power of the Turks began to wane; with him the forces
of militant Islam had reached their high watermark.