Here are some of the highlights from the reviews:
Vienna, the beginning of the 20th century, just before WWI. What wouldn’t I give to visit that place to see for myself the so-called “Golden Age” of the center of European science and philosophy, arguably the most liberal place in Europe, where the seeds of the modern ideas of ethnic and religious equality first sprouted and were actually implemented.
The book edges on “Literary Realism.” No character or idea is romanticized and characters are humanly fallible people who are trying to act in their self-interest, be it foolishly sometimes. While I was reading this book, I could not stop making parallels with “War and Peace.” “Sebastian” is, in my opinion, a book about how a war changes people and the society. There’s a tiny bit of a “conclusion” of sorts at the end of the book, in a dialog between Sebastian and one of his friends (no spoilers):
“Many men who are returning from the war have changed and they come home to even more changed women. There comes a time when one needs to let go of the past and live in the present.”
A very good read from a fast-emerging name in historical novels. Recommended
so it’s with irony that we note his disability.
This author’s talent is the way he gets in those characters’ heads and invites us in too. We’re treated to all those feelings – the good, the bad, and the constantly changing. I love that.
There is also a history lesson going on here, so if you need to brush up on that without getting bogged down by dry dates and facts that have no humanity attached to them – I recommend this book. Very much. Suitable for mature teens – up.
Of course, when book three comes out, I’ll grab it immediately.
Fischer’s characters are very well rounded.
I was also very impressed with the amount and type of information in the book. Fischer does a magnificent job of showing the tensions between the Jewish and gentile communities. He delves into what happens to the common people during war. In this book you do not see the typical heroes, you see very little of the soldiers, and you hear what is happening politically only as a citizen who was not involved would. This was fascinating, as most of what I knew prior to reading Sebastian was political… not how the regular people would have seen things and the impact on them. I would love to get my hands on Fischer’s research in order to go more in depth on a few questions that I have.
I believe that anyone who likes history and/or enjoys the study of human nature will greatly appreciate this book.
Fischer does an excellent job of capturing the feel of Vienna during such a turbulent time in history. You feel the pain and suffering of the men, women, and children as war tears families apart and hunger and poverty replace the many comforts people had become accustomed to.
A blend of history, romance, and hardships that show the political, cultural, and religious issues of the time, Sebastian is a do-not-miss saga. If you are a lover of historical fiction, this is definitely one you want to checkout!