Monday, January 13, 2014

Sebastian's Way: The Pathfinder by George Steger

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Read: January 10, 2014

In a dark age of unending war and violence, one young warrior opposes a mighty king to forge a new path to peace... During the savage Frankish-Saxon wars, the moving force of his age, Karl der Grosse, King Charlemagne, fights and rules like the pagan enemies he seeks to conquer. But in the long shadow of war and genocide, a spark of enlightenment grows, and the king turns to learned men to help him lead his empire to prosperity. One of these men is the unlikely young warrior Sebastian. Raised in an isolated fortress on the wild Saxon border, Sebastian balances his time in the training yard with hours teaching himself to read, seeking answers to the great mysteries of life during an age when such pastimes were scorned by fighting men. Sebastian’s unique combination of skills endears him to Charlemagne and to the ladies of the king’s court, though the only woman to hold his heart is forbidden to him. As the king determines to surround himself with men who can both fight and think beyond the fighting, Sebastian becomes one of the privileged few to hold the king’s ear. But the favor of the king does not come without a cost. As Charlemagne’s vassals grapple for power, there are some who will do anything to see Sebastian fall from grace, including his ruthless cousin Konrad, whose hatred and jealousy threaten to destroy everything Sebastian holds dear. And as Sebastian increasingly finds himself at odds with the king’s brutal methods of domination and vengeance, his ingrained sense of honor and integrity lead him to the edge of treason, perilously pitting himself against the most powerful man of his age. This fast-paced adventure story brings Charlemagne’s realm to life as the vicious Christian-pagan wars of the eighth century decide the fate of Europe. Filled with action, intrigue, and romance, Sebastian’s Way is a riveting and colorful recreation of the world of Europe’s greatest medieval monarch.

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Charlemagne in stained glass.
Image by Fab5669
"Quamvis enim melius sit benefacere quam nosse, prius tamen est nosse quam facere." 

When translated, it means right action is better than knowledge; but in order to do what is right, we must know what is right. A comment on strength and how it is both balanced and justified by wisdom, this intriguingly provocative idea is attributed to the legendary Charlemagne and, rather appropriately, serves as the central theme of George Steger's eighth century epic, Sebastian's Way. 

Looking back on the novel, I can honestly say I was surprised at how easy it was to get into. Being largely unfamiliar with the Frankish-Saxon wars, I was initially intimidated by the story's subject matter, but was pleasantly surprised at Steger's deft explanation of medieval politics and straightforward approach to the complex intricacies Middle Age warfare.

I was further impressed with the diversity of Steger's cast and how he used characters of various backgrounds to create a comprehensive portrait of medieval society. I expected a military fiction, but what I found was a well-rounded, action-packed period drama. 

A compelling and imaginative fiction, Sebastian's Way is a realistic, romantic, and engrossing tale of valor, morality, and honor. 

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"Who has told you that you may refuse to to fight for your king? How dare you send me such a message? I am your king. You have a command in my cavalry. If I say you will fight, you will fight"
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Check out all the stop's on George Steger's Sebastian's Way Virtual book tour

Monday, January 13
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Tuesday, January 14
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, January 15
Review at Impressions in Ink
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, January 16
Giveaway at Layers of Thought
Tuesday, January 21
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Wednesday, January 22
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Thursday, January 23
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book
Friday, January 24
Giveaway at Bibliophilic Book Blog
Monday, January 27
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Tuesday, January 28
Review at The Musings of a Book Junkie
Wednesday, January 29
Interview & Giveaway at The Most Happy Reader
Friday, January 31
Review at Book Nerd
Monday, February 3
Review at Closed the Cover
Tuesday, February 4
Guest Post at HF Connection
Wednesday, February 5
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Thursday, February 6
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Friday, February 7
Review at Sir Read-a-Lot
Review & Giveaway at Reading the Ages
Review & Giveaway at Cynthia Robertson Blog

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