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Won By the Sword : a tale of the Thirty Years' War   By: (1832-1902)

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Won By the Sword is an enthralling historical fiction novel written by George Alfred Henty. The story takes place during the tumultuous period of the Thirty Years' War, immersing readers in a captivating narrative that combines historical accuracy with exciting adventure.

Set against the backdrop of 17th-century Europe, the book follows the journey of Cyril Leigh, a young Englishman who sets out to join the Swedish army. Through his eyes, readers are transported to various battlefields, witness political intrigues, and experience the horrors of war. Henty masterfully weaves together both personal stories and larger historical events, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the era.

One of the notable aspects of the novel is how well-researched it is. Henty expertly integrates historical figures, events, and battles into the storyline, creating a rich and immersive atmosphere. Whether it be the Battle of Breitenfeld or the Siege of Magdeburg, the author's attention to detail adds depth and authenticity to the narrative.

Furthermore, the characters in Won By the Sword are well-developed and relatable. Cyril Leigh, the protagonist, undergoes a transformative journey from a wide-eyed young man to a seasoned soldier. His growth is evident throughout the story, making him a compelling and admirable character. The supporting cast, including fellow soldiers and historical figures, also add depth to the narrative, each with their own unique personalities and motivations.

The pacing of the story is another commendable aspect of this novel. Henty skillfully balances action-packed battle scenes with moments of reflection and character development. This ensures that readers remain engaged and invested in the story throughout, never feeling overwhelmed or bored.

While the novel primarily focuses on the military aspect of the war, Henty also explores the political and religious conflicts that shaped this period. He addresses the complex web of alliances and power struggles between various European nations, as well as the tensions arising from different religious ideologies. This adds another layer of depth to the narrative and provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of the historical context.

Overall, Won By the Sword is a captivating historical fiction novel that successfully transports readers to the chaos and brutality of the Thirty Years' War. George Alfred Henty's meticulous research, well-developed characters, and masterful storytelling make this book a must-read for fans of historical fiction and anyone interested in this tumultuous period of European history.

First Page:



By G.A. Henty



In my preface to the Lion of the North I expressed a hope that I might some day be able to continue the history of the Thirty Years' War. The deaths of Gustavus and his great rival Wallenstein and the crushing defeat of the Swedes and their allies at the battle of Nordlingen brought the first period of that war to a close. Hostilities, indeed, never ceased, but the Swedes no longer played the leading part on the Protestant side that they had hitherto occupied. Oxenstiern, the great chancellor of Sweden, saw that the only hope of eventual success lay in engaging France in the struggle, and he and the Duke of Weimar went to Paris and pointed out to Richelieu that unless France intervened, Austria must become the master of all Germany, and as the ally of Spain would have it in her power to completely dominate France. Richelieu perceived the opportunity, made a treaty with the Swedes and Weimar, and engaged to grant large subsidies to the former, and to send an army to cooperate with the latter. Then began the second period of this long and terrible struggle, France now taking the place that Sweden had hitherto occupied, and bearing the brunt of the conflict. She emerged triumphant with her territories largely increased, while Austria was crushed and humiliated, and Spain was dethroned from her position as the dominating power of Europe... Continue reading book >>

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