Book and film reviews

The adventurous life of Adam Dreyling

“The Master of the Seventh Seal” - just a historical novel or more?

 Published in Grail World 58/2010

World history consists of an interplay of many forces, and it is not uncommon for apparent trivialities to be of paramount importance.

This was also the case in the well-known naval battle between the great Spanish Armada and the English fleet in 1588. The English victory in this battle prevented the invasion of the British Isles, thwarted their violent recatholization and opened the way for England to later become the most important sea power.

A Spanish victory would also have been a victory for the Counter-Reformation, which might have ushered in the collapse of the entire Reformation.

The English recipe for success in the armed conflicts were fast, agile ships that could outmaneuver the large Spanish galleons, and: long-range guns.

The ships were designed by the ingenious master shipbuilder Matthew Baker and the cannons poured ... a Tyrolean, Adam Dreyling.

Whose adventurous life is in the unusually exciting fictional historical novel "The Master of the Seventh Seal" from Johannes K. Seyener and Tungsten to moonfield described. But the story of the Tyrolean, which was recently thematized in the ZDF documentary "The Empire Strikes Back", offers more than just fiction ...

Tyrol as a Habsburg "high-tech country"

In the 16th century, Tyrol was an important economic center of the Habsburg Empire. The mines near Schwaz produced copper and silver, and the best of all cannon founders worked in Innsbruck, who produced bronze cannons of outstanding quality using a secret process.

Exactly the cannons England needed for its fleet!

At that time, cannon casting was an art whose secrets every foundry master carefully guarded. Some of the subtleties of this art have therefore not been handed down and have been lost. For example, ZDF wanted a bell foundry in Innsbruck to refill a cannon based on models from the 16th century for its documentary ... but the casting failed! It is easy to imagine how valuable the knowledge of a master in bronze gun casting was back then ...

Adam Dreyling's way from Schwaz to England

In the mentioned novel around Adam Dreyling First, a serious accident in the Schwaz mines is described, which triggers a revolt. The historical model for this was probably the great miners' revolt of 1525.
Adam Dreyling, in the novel the miners' spokesman, who represents their legitimate concerns, has to leave Schwaz after the revolt. He goes to Innsbruck to learn the trade from his uncle, a master of cannon casting. In doing so, he succeeds in fathoming the secrets of the world-famous Löffler foundry, the "seven seals" of the art of arms.

When his uncle refuses to give him the master craftsman's certificate and so he cannot run his own workshop, he makes a decision DreylingTo leave Innsbruck. An adventurous escape takes him to England, where he meets the shipbuilder Matthew Baker enters the service of the Queen and becomes the kingdom's first master foundryman. He is able to cast the cannons just in time, without which victory over the Spanish Armada would not have been possible.

After the big win, however, will Dreyling - he shares this fate with many others - only with ingratitude ...

More than just a novel worth reading

The 1,100-page historical novel "The Master of the Seventh Seal" is highly recommended as a captivating holiday reading. It is exciting, but also describes a historically important period in a gripping way. The underlying facts of the novel are so well documented that it can be assumed that all significant events are actually described historically correctly.

The descriptions of mining, foundry, shipbuilding as well as the social and political conditions that prevailed at the beginning of modern times in Tyrol, Venice, England and Poland appear particularly rich in facts.

Anyone looking for an entertaining approach to the events of this time should familiarize themselves with the strange history of the Adam Dreyling deal in more depth.

(1) Echo-Spezial No. 5, July 2002, Echo-Verlag, Innsbruck.
(2) Johannes K. Soyener / Wolfram zu Mondfeld, "The Master of the Seventh Seal", Bastei-Lübbe, Bergisch Gladbach, 1994.
(3) ZDF Expedition "Das Empire schlägt zurück," film broadcast July 26, 2002.