Publisher and Publication Date: iUniverse. December 16, 2016.
Genre: Historical fiction.
Source: Complimentary hardcover copy from George Steger. I was not required to leave a positive review.
The first book in The Sebastian Chronicles, Sebastian’s Way. At Amazon, the Kindle version is $3.99.
Website for George Steger
Colonel Steger had two long careers which contributed greatly to Sebastian’s story, a military one with many years abroad in Europe and Vietnam, from which much of the action and adventure emerged, and an academic one as a professor of history at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas, in which the compassionate, philosophical, and romantic side of Sebastian was evoked. He is now Professor Emeritus at Saint Mary and writes from his home in rural Kansas.
The time period for The Paladin is 8th and 9th centuries. This is considered the Dark Ages or Early Middle Ages.
Sebastian is a warrior fighting for Charlemagne, king of the Franks (768-814). When the story begins, Sebastian, and his beloved wife, Adela, are shocked to find out her previous husband, Konrad (thought dead) is alive. Their marriage is torn apart. Later, Sebastian is made one of the twelve paladins, “men who hold the king’s absolute trust and are thus asked to undertake the hardest and most dangerous missions for the realm.” Sebastian is asked to embark on a mission to the east: Constantinople, Jerusalem, and Baghdad. The journey is long and difficult. His son Milo accompanies him.
My favorite aspect about Sebastian is he is real. He is a character that is believable. He is a character I can see both positive and negative attributes. He is a man who is virile and warrior like; but he is also a man who wrestles with temptations and living a violent life. He has a big heart but keeps it tucked beneath his armor. In The Paladin, Sebastian has low points. His heart is crushed because he misses Adela. He has guilt over killing countless men during his battles. In the story, Sabastian will take a lone journey that will reveal visions and prophesy.
Additional reasons why I love The Paladin:
• A guided tour through the streets and important sites of Jerusalem. Included is an education on the culture and society of a Muslim controlled city. The living conditions and standard rules for the Jews and Christians are given.
• I love the character of Magdala. She is a young women who is a seer. She is gentle and calm. I feel she gave the story an additional aspect of mysticism but also grace and femininity. This is a counterbalance to the violence of battles.
• Sebastian had a journey that reminded me sharply of two moments in Jesus’s earthly life. I want to clarify, Sebastian is not a savior. He is a mortal and imperfect man.
• The story moves along at a good pace. I did not encounter stagnant places.
• The Paladin has appeal because it is a page turning adventure of the early Middle Ages that is brought to life through the personal life of Sebastian. He is heroic. But he is not a hero who is presented falsely. He is believable and yet memorable.