Cassandra was the Trojan princess offered the ability to see the future by the god Apollo in exchange for agreeing to have sex with him. When she reneged on the promised sex, he added the curse that her prophecies – all accurate – would never be believed, condemning her to a life of frustration. Her agony is made all the greater by the fact that she lived through the Trojan War, and that all her desperate efforts to warn her loved ones and her city of impending disaster would be in vain.
The novel begins when Cassandra – here portrayed as a beautiful and profoundly sensitive young woman – is about to go into the homecoming dinner offered by Clytemnestra, the wife of King Agamemnon, who won Cassandra in the lottery of Trojan women after the fall of Troy. Her prophetic powers tell her that murder awaits both him and her at the hands of Clytemnestra and her lover. She has tried to warn Agamemnon, but of course was not believed. Unsure whether those who descend to the underworld (as she knows she very soon will do) retain any memory, she mentally reviews one last time the whole rich tapestry of the Trojan War as witnessed by her – the essence of the novel – before going to her fate with the firm step of a Trojan princess and of – in Homer’s words – “the most beautiful of Priam’s daughters.”
Thomas Ochiltree is an emerging historical novelist whose longstanding interest in the classics has led him to read three fourths of the surviving classical Greek and Latin literature in the original texts.
Death Waltz in Vienna is a brilliant and memorable first novel set in the capital of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire in the years prior to World War I, a tale of suspense and romance. Suspense because Army captain Ernst von Falkenburg has just one week to clear himself of charges of treason that will otherwise cost him his life; romance because of the relationship he develops in that time with a beautiful woman who not merely provides him with indispensable assistance – at the risk of her life – but who shows him for the first time that he is capable of love. The action moves across the whole panorama of early 20th century Vienna, taking the reader through elegant salons and low dives, Vienna’s most fashionable brothel and the imperial palace, and climaxes in a duel to the death and an epilogue set in Vienna’s Central Cemetery.
Thomas Ochiltree (pronounced OH-kul-tree) was born in New York but grew up in London and studied in the U.S. (Harvard Class of ’70). He is a retired Foreign Service Officer who served in Spain, Ukraine, Germany, Honduras, Mexico and Venezuela during his 22 years as a U.S. diplomat. Fluent in six languages including German, he has long been fascinated with the last years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and with its glittering capital Vienna – the background against which his novel Death Waltz in Vienna is set. In addition to devoting himself to his various literary interests he works part time on line as a translator, translating documents from German, French, Spanish and Italian into English.
Now he turns his deep knowledge of the world and the human condition into a brilliant and memorable first novel. Within one day of its publication, Death Waltz in Vienna was in the Top 100 War Novels on Amazon Kindle and reached the Top Ten of Hot New releases.