"He's alive." With these two words, the world as Sebastian knows it will never be the same. The news that his cousin Konrad—his sworn enemy and abusive first husband of his beloved wife Adela—means that his marriage is no longer valid. Even the high king Charlemagne cannot challenge the decision of a powerful emerging Church. Sebastian can do nothing but watch as the love of his life enters a convent.
This epic tale of love and honor sweeps the reader back into the fascinating 9th century world of the incomparable Charlemagne. No mere military account of conquests and battles, this is a rich, well-rounded period drama and an authentic recreation of the early medieval world. Book I of this three-volume series was highly recommended by the Historical Novel Society. The second novel does not disappoint, as the hero is sent from the king’s Rhineland court to three preeminent capitals of the 9th-century medieval world: Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Baghdad. Through his courage under pressure, original ideas, and steadfast service to the king Sebastian has become one of Charlemagne’s twelve paladins, a high honor, but the cost is also high. He loses his beloved wife and family, becomes entangled with other beautiful women, and is submerged into a foreign world of intrigue and betrayal. Becoming a paladin changes Sebastian from a young man of faith and character into a hard-bitten warrior in a ruthless world. Thus the latter part of the novel presents a swirling adventure but also a parable of the ruin and redemption of a professional soldier.
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 cost. As Charlemagne’s vassals grapple for power, there are some who will do anything to se 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.