Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The “blood tribute” is a most cruel practice of the Turkish rulers during the several hundred years of their occupation of the Balkans. It means taking young boys away from their parents and rearing them as the sultan’s obedient servants, called janissaries. One of the boys, taken from a Serbian village called Sokolovici in Bosnia in 1516 when he is only ten years old, will later become Mehmed Pasha Sokolli and rise to the office of the grand vizier, the highest position a non-Turk can reach in the Ottoman Empire. In memory of his childhood, he decides to build a bridge across the Drina River by the town of Viegrad, the last place where he saw his mother when he was taken away and where he feels a sharp pain in his breast as the last memory of his home.
The building of the bridge begins in 1566. The first builder, Abidaga, is famous for his efficiency and the strict, at times cruel, methods of accomplishing his tasks. The bridge is built by slave labor conscripted from the nearby Serbian villages. The peasants resent having to work as slaves, and they see in the building of the bridge a sinister symbol of Turkish might. For that reason, they sabotage the bridge’s progress, often destroying at night what is built during the day. To frighten the distrusting and rebellious populace into submission and obedience, Abidaga catches one of them, Radisav, and has him impaled on the site of the bridge. The excruciatingly painful process of his death lasts...
(The entire section is 965 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of The Bridge on the Drina Summary. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!