To Save an Empire - a Novel of Ottoman History


In 1877, when Russia attacks the Ottoman Empire, Sultan Abdülhamit 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, Abdülhamit’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.

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs - Review

"With the Balkans and ethnic tensions once again back in international headlines, alongside the reliable newsmakers that are Russia and Turkey and their influence in the contemporary Middle East, there’s hardly a more appropriate time to brush up on the events and actors responsible for shaping the region as we know it. In his newly released novel, To Save an Empire, Allan R. Gall does just that. Gall narrates an impressively researched tale of the waning Ottoman Empire set in the late 19th century. Following the fateful tale of the last truly ensconced Ottoman sultan, Abdülhamit II, the novel weaves through stories of palace intrigue, great power struggles and romance. As the reformist Ottoman statesman, Mithat Pasha, sets his eyes on remaking the empire into something more in the image of a European parliament and re-orienting the loyalties of the ruled, Sultan Abdülhamit sees in him an existential threat to his authority. All the while, Abdülhamit’s domain threatens to sink in a sea of external challenges. Already crippled by debt, the Russian Empire and European powers are at the ready to encroach upon territories of the teetering “sick man of Europe.” The eventual outbreak of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78 results in an influx of thousands upon thousands of Muslim refugees into Ottoman lands.

The dramatized narrative provides a window also into the marriage of Sultan Abdülhamit to his Belgian wife, Flora. Of Christian heritage, her story is intertwined with that of the many war-displaced Muslims whom she commits to assisting, while at the same time providing a glimpse into the complex interplay of various religious and ethnic groupings in late Ottoman Anatolia.

A story of struggle, love, jealousy, fear and loss, Gall’s grasp of the era’s zeitgeist combined with his masterful narrative style makes for a historical retelling as enlightening as it is enthralling."

- Amin Gharad

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More To Save an Empire Reviews

"[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 subplot that follows Adulhamit's wife, Flora, a Belgian-born Christian who... converts to the Muslim faith... poignantly illustrates the complexity of the empire's religious fissures.  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's not fiction.  A war, international intrigue among empires, and the personal tragedies and triumphs of the mighty and the meek.  Some readers will be reminded of the history they know, as I was, and others will find a world they never knew.  Both will find a compelling story." - Bulent Atalay, physicist and author of Math and the Mona Lisa and Leonardo's Universe

Bosphorus Review of Books

Of Mouse and Magic


Manny is the smallest of six mice born in his parents' nest in the woodpile. His mother worries that he might not make it. But life has much in store for him.

Manny dreams of being Zeus, Lord of Lightning, Titan of Thunder, with magical powers he can use to make life safe for all mice. But Manny is just an ordinary mouse.

Or is he?

Enter the woodpile near Farmer Frank's house and meet Manny and his family and friends. Manny's world is cozy and loving, but also filled with the dangers of farm cats, dogs with bad breath, foxes, and - worst of all - hawks, who can snatch you from your family in an instant. But as Manny discovers, friendships can come from unlikely places.

Follow Manny through danger, survival, love, and loss as his adventures and dreams take him far from his home, only to return to the warmth of family and friends (old and new). You, too, may believe in the tales Of Mouse And Magic.

Of Mouse and Magic

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Of Mouse and Magic Reviews

“This book is not only great for children but for parents and grandparents also. Recommended for your child's home library.”  Miss Lynn's Books-n-More

“A delightful treat for children and young teens, who will wonder about the lives of the small animals in every woodpile, backyard and field long after the last chapter has been read. A movie in waiting.” Anne Welles, Teacher and Filmmaker

Of Mouse and Magic helps those young and old to root for the little guy. This book is definitely one I will be sharing with others.” Cyrus Webb, Host of Conversations Live

“Deft, witty writing. Loving, lovable characters.” Kristin Sirotkin, Author: The Dulciumer

“Very well written and a good story.” Cary Frostick, Librarian, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA

“This is the chapter book to read aloud with your children or grandchildren. Let them take parts -- the animal dialog is so much fun that you'll all have a wonderful time.” Princeton Grandmother

“The characters are lovable and the story line is funny, suspenseful, energetic, and just plain fun to read!” Vincent

“The author takes us on a journey of life and its (and our) complexities, dangers, joys, and dreams. This is a lovingly written and, in my opinion, very special book.” Steve

“A charming and charmed tale. Although the protagonist is male, the female characters are powerful; even your teenage daughter will not want to put the book down.” Maddie

“A masterful allegory that is wise, funny and full of sharp insights to the human condition. Any adult/ child pair will love this book, laugh as they read, and learn many different lessons.” Cathy

“A delightful and sometimes dangerous journey. That’s what I liked most about this tale. Friendships with those that have the potential to frighten you are possible – and they may need your friendship and help as much as you do. An opportunity to discuss the more difficult of life lessons.” Loki

“This book will become a classic.” Gary

“It really was a magical book.” Patrick

“…frankly, am in love with it.” Joan

“I love it!” Sandy

About Allan R. Gall

Allan R. Gall lived in Turkey for eight years as a Peace Corps English teacher, as a grants administrator for the Ford Foundation, and as a Fulbright-Hays research fellow. He has a Ph.D. in Near East Studies from the University of Michigan, and his dissertation examined the themes of Aziz Nesin’s prodigious literary output. He translated Aziz Nesin’s play, Çiçu, for Ibrahim the Mad and Other Plays, An Anthology of Modern Turkish Drama, edited by Talat S. Halman and Jayne L. Warner (Syracuse University Press, 2008).

He authored Of Mouse and Magic (Two Harbors Press, 2011), a growing up novel for 7-12 year-old readers. “This book is not only great for children but for parents and grandparents also. Recommended for your child’s home library,” “This book is definitely one I will be sharing with others,” Cyrus Webb, Host of Conversations Live. “Very well written and a good story,” Cary Frostic, Librarian, Falls Church, Virginia. Listed among the 2011 Top Books Designed for Our Youth on

Allan grew up on a farm in South Dakota, taught high school English, and lived in The Yemen Arab Republic for three years as Director of the Peace Corps. He has been Director of Evaluation and Director of Operations for the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement, the refugee policy expert on the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, and the Deputy Inspector General and the Inspector General for the Peace Corps. He dabbles in carpentry, cooking, and yard work; plays tennis and spends time with his grandsons. He enjoys historical novels, Doc Martin, plays, and performances by the National Symphony Orchestra. 

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Author Allan R. Gall