Many Catholics have heard of the great Battle of Lepanto, but how many know the story leading up to it? How many know the full story of the life of the great Don John of Austria? This book is a rich, wonderful novel, comparable to Dickens and Scott, but it is thoroughly Catholic. If you get to know the man, Don John of Austria, you will find it much easier to understand the movement of history in these pivotal times. As Plato said so long ago, a story has a way of sticking with you, of teaching you something more significant than just a collection of facts or dates. This story has the power to change hearts, to convert non-Catholics, and to strengthen Catholics. It is very well written and easy to read; it is refreshing and robust; it would make a great gift at any age.
Follow the exciting and blessed life, as told most excellently by Margaret Yeo, of Don John of Austria, a valiant warrior and hero of Christendom, as he embarks on his numberous and epic adventures all throughout sixteenth-century Europe. The life of Don John of Austria makes for the most astounding of stories. He was an unknown child of Charles V, himself one of the greatest figures in sixteenth-century Europe. Growing up as a peasant boy, he was eventually discovered to be the son of the Emperor, and taken to be page within a noble house. After the death of Charles V, he was placed under the care of his half-brother, King Phillip II. At twenty-one, he was put in command of the Spanish forces mobilized against the last Moorish rebellion in Southern Spain, which he crushed when other men had failed.
Having proven his worth as a leader of men, at twenty-four he was appointed by Pius V to command the forces of the Holy League by land and sea. It was the greatest force ever sent against Islam, and under the command of one so very young. He was victor at the Battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571, feast of Our Lady of Victories and future feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary. The result of so miraculous a victory was that Turkish morale was broken; so badly, indeed, that it would be another 100 years before the Ottoman Empire raised its ugly head one more time at the gates of Vienna. For now, though, he was the hero of all Christendom.
His praises were sung from Vienna to Cadiz and Tunis, from Scotland to Sicily. He captured Tunis, was destined by Pope Gregory XIII to be the founder of a Christian Empire in North Africa, to rescue Mary Queen of Scots from her English prison, to marry her and share with her the throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Sent by Phillip II to put down the revolt of William of Orange, he resolved instead, like his father, to leave the world and go to the Benedictine monastery at Montserrat. But rathet, his mission completed, he died when only thirty-one in a ruined hut in Flanders amid poverty and apparent failure. His soldiers said of his death, "he died not like a man, but like an angel he flew straight to God."
345 pp. Hardcover.