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History's Most Terrifying Religious Dystopia!

The Nightmare Kingdom

Rob Bauer

Teenager Sofie Gresbeck never dreamed she would have to prevent the Second Coming of Christ.

In 1534 the Prophet transforms Münster into the New Jerusalem to prepare the way for Christ’s return. The people of Münster, Sofie included, must take up the sword and exterminate the ungodly before time comes to an end.

When forced marriage of God’s Elect becomes the law, Sofie must choose between the man she loves and a lifetime with one of the Prophet’s lackeys, whom she loathes. But if she chooses love, Sofie forfeits her ability to protect her younger sister Hilde when Hilde unwillingly becomes one of the Prophet’s fifteen wives.

At the same time, the Holy Roman Emperor’s army besieges Münster, ordered to annihilate the city for its rebellion. When the Fire of the Lord promised by the Prophet fails to rain from the sky, Sofie realizes that saving her family requires saving the city of Münster, too.

This is the story of one of history’s most terrifying and chilling religious dystopias.

Book Excerpt or Article

In the patchy sunlight of the overcast dawn, Sofie Gresbeck stared across the smoldering, charred fields. The gray-black smoke billowing heavenward in the distance was Sofie’s only reminder that her home village had ever existed. Nearby, the Wipper River flowed placidly, its waters no longer stained crimson.

With her free left hand, Sofie pulled her ragged, dirty linen shirtsleeve over her mouth and nose. On the field before her, blackened corpses lay amongst the ashes of what had been, just two days ago, a beautiful wheat field. Even today, the day after the great battle, the reek and overpowering stench of burnt human flesh filled her nostrils. She tasted the smell when she swallowed. Sofie fought down the urge to vomit even as she felt the dizziness claw at her mind. The nausea was so overpowering, she thought she saw the skeletons of those slaughtered yesterday come back to life. For a moment, their soot-encrusted, bony limbs seemed to dance and sway among the gray ashes and stubble of the wheat field.

With her right hand, Sofie squeezed her little sister’s hand tighter while she fought down the dizziness. Sofie was eleven, but Hilde was just five years old, and she’d cried ever since they’d arrived at the scene of the battle. Sofie had, too, for a while, but now the sobs were just sniffles. Because she was older, she wanted to look strong for her sister. Hilde’s fingers trembled in hers. How long ago they’d locked hands together in silence, Sofie couldn’t remember anymore.

Suddenly, Hilde pulled free. She turned to Sofie and their Uncle Heinrich and said, “We’ve got to look for papa.”

“No, little one,” Heinrich responded quietly. “I don’t believe you will find him.” He stooped over and pulled Hilde back to him. Although he stood behind her, Heinrich put his hands upon Hilde’s tiny shoulders, in case she tried to run. Sofie saw that her uncle’s hands shook, and he had a nervous twitch in his right arm.

Then Sofie looked at Uncle Heinrich’s face. He was about as old as her own father, thirty or so, with light brown hair and deep brown eyes. Unlike her father’s face, which was rough and worn from working outside on his farm, Uncle Heinrich’s had fewer lines and creases. She hadn’t seen him cry today. But she’d never seen him be this quiet, either.

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A former college history professor, Rob Bauer now brings his knowledge to his historical novels. His books strike a balance of creative storytelling and meticulous historical accuracy. You can download his first novel for free at . One of his books, The Buffalo Soldier, features his own original research about 1890s Montana.

Rob also writes a history blog on his website, , where he reviews historical fiction books and blogs about the historical influence of things as diverse as Martin Luther King, Jr. and fascism.

In addition to his historical novels, Rob is also a huge baseball fan and has written four nonfiction books on baseball history. In 2019 he gave a presentation at the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

When not writing, Rob lives at the beach with his wonderful dog Cora and tries to maintain the fiction that he’s a runner. To that end, he swears he’ll finish a marathon someday.

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