In 1877, when Russia attacks the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Abd lhamit II must fight a devastating war to preserve his ethnically diverse territories that stretch across three continents. At home, he feels threatened from within by Mithat Pasha, a respected reformer, who has popular support for a constitution that would curb the sultan's authority and give the people a voice in their government. Aware of these challenges, Abd lhamit's Belgian wife, Flora Cordier, hopes to remain his confidante and helpmate as he decides how to govern: the iron-fisted rule of his ancestors, the democracy proposed by Mithat, or the diplomacy that exposes his weakened military power. No matter his choice, he is responsible for the suffering of his people.
To Save an Empire explores the impact of religious and ethnic conflict in the Ottoman Empire of the late 19th century on the lives of ordinary people--Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Refugees flee atrocities that incite revenge, but also arouse charity and love. A story of love found and lost, of war and its consequences. Today's Balkans and Middle East emerge from the era's political forces of terrorism, imperialism, nationalism, and religion. It is a modern story.
" Gall]...artfully brings to life the political intrigues of an empire sliding into irrelevance. The Ottoman Empire emerges as a kind of protagonist all its own, eager to become strengthened by its embrace of modernity and the West, but also anxious about surrendering its cultural and religious identity. ... A magnificently researched tale of a troubled empire that's also dramatically captivating." -- Kirkus reviews
"Fiction as only history can tell it, all the more moving because we know it is not fiction. ...a compelling story." -- Bulent Atalay, physicist and author of Math and the Mona Lisa and Leonardo's Universe