I’ve mentioned in the past that I am working on a new novel. The last novel I wrote was completed my last year of high school, but obviously, editing needed to be done. I’ve worked on only minor projects since then. The first three novels I wrote took up a lot of my time; that’s not chump change, that’s precious seconds, minutes, hours of my time devoted to something. I knew that the next novel I did had to mean something, not just to me this time, but to other people.
A few months ago, my brother played me a song (I may have mentioned it) called “The Last Stand” by the Swiss rock band, Sabaton. It is a song about the 189 Papal Swiss Guards defending the retreat of Pope Clement VII in the 1527 Sack of Rome. 42 soldiers survived only because they went with the pope. The other 147 were all killed, but not before butchering close to a thousand enemy troops. Their brave leader was wounded, and begged to see his wife before he died. His men got him to the house where she was staying, but mercenaries followed them. His wife tried to protect him, but she was injured while his enemies hacked him to pieces before her eyes. I was moved when I looked up the whole history behind the event; what little we know. Documents were destroyed by the German and Spanish soldiers, and many relics taken. It was an utterly devastating event, that took the lives of thousands of Roman Catholic citizens.
Since I decided to do this, I have tried to find what little books I can about those Swiss Guard specifically. Not much. I had a doozy of a time trying to discover all their names. Luckily, I knew a cardinal, and sent him a letter, asking for help. He gave me viable leads, and I will use them to get the names of all the guards, as I would like to list them at the end of the book. I think it would be some justice to them to recognize what they did. They were brave men, who stood their ground against an overwhelming force. We remember Thermopylae because of what 300 men did. We recall the 194 rescued men of the Lost Battalion and their desperate attempts to get home. Why can’t we remember 189 men who fought and died on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica? I want to bring that back and tell a little known story about true honor and courage. Bravery is not men fighting a fight they know they can win. Bravery is fighting a fight you are certain to lose, but you do it anyway. Why? Because if you are fighting for a cause you believe in, then it’s the right thing to do.
And on that note, it’s been real!