In 1918 young Zacharias Nielsen boards a ship in Copenhagen to join the Red Guards in the Finnish Civil War. Encouraged by an idolised teacher with communist leanings, he follows the call for help from his Nordic Comrades, despite his privileged background. His best friend, Ansgar, has opposing political ideals to Zacharias but, for his own personal reasons, finds himself soon stuck in the Scandinavian North with Zacharias and Raisa, a Finnish nurse who helps them in their new life. Through the years that follow the brotherly war the trio see the political landscape in Finland and Europe change as Communists and Fascists try to make their mark and attempt to change the world order. Our heroes must find their own personal and ideological place in these turbulent times as friendship, honour, idealism and love triangles bring out some personal truths. The book spans almost thirty years of history and the various Finnish conflicts: Civil War, Winter War, Continuation War and the Lapland War. Watch the political and personal self discovery of characters in search of their own revolution.
Amazon Vine Voice Review: “Christoph Fischer is a skilled and accomplished story teller. He maintains a cracking pace. He has clearly researched his subject matter well. It is admirable how Fischer gets to grips with a complex set of political intrigues but yet keeps it simple and never descends into turgidity.
My interest was driven by the Finnish Civil War of circa 1917. I was impressed the novel also covers the Winter War, the Continuation War and touches on the interests of Denmark and Estonia viz a vis Stalinist Russia and Nazi Germany.
The political intrigues and the characters different ideological viewpoints are well-handled.
I am not a great fan of “love interest” situations and the character Raisa almost fell into the danger of being somewhat two-dimensional, slightly redeemed as the book went on.
The relationship between main protagonists Zacharias and Ansgar is portrayed beautifully. Ansgar’s tale is a particular horror story all the more for it being one true of Nazi occupied Denmark and its collaborators.
The depiction of the ideologist Holgar Beck is also poignant.
Excellent read, cracking pace.