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Vienna Prelude (Zion Covenant #1)

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4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  5,926 ratings  ·  423 reviews
No one is safe...

In 1936 Nazi darkness descends upon Europe. Every person is only one step away from being swept into the nightmarish tide of evil. Blond Elisa Lindheim, and violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, adopts an Aryan stage name for protection. But her closest friend, Leah, a talented Jewish cellist, is in perilous position.

There are those who choose
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Paperback, 461 pages
Published March 17th 2005 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published May 1st 1989)
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Community Reviews

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Amy
I am not going to write about all nine books in the Zion Covenant series (which I have read), but I enjoyed them immensely and learned a ton. They are historical fiction novels written by Christian authors. I learned an enormous amount about why Hitler managed to do what he did and got a much better feel for life during that time without being totally depressed by the raw language that some authors use.
Calle
"Vienna Prelude", set in Austria and Germany during 1936-1938, is marketed as a Christian novel and, since I'm not a Christian, I didn't know what I'd think about it but decided to give it a chance, because of the many glowing reviews. And yes, the novel clearly is Christian and contains discussions about God and faith, as well as good and evil, and even heaven and hell, but for the most part it doesn't come off as preachy and as a reader you can choose to agree with the religious aspects of it, ...more
Glory
I stepped out of our car at the rest stop on the long drive from Sacramento to LA. The music playing in front of the MacDonald’s was so light, so happy, focused on love and feelings. But suddenly it all seemed so frivolous. People milled in and out of the glass doors, wandered to and from their hot, sticky vehicles. They all seemed to blissfully unaware. Didn’t they understand the deeper things in life? Was it just all about themselves?

You see, I’d just read a stirring chapter in Vienna Prelude.
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Julianne
Here is another holocaust story, but from the viewpoint of pre-World War II. We already knew that Hitler was wicked and evil and conniving. This book shows us just exactly how wicked and how evil and how very conniving he was. It makes you want to shake the English and the Americans and say, "Pay attention!" They could have stopped him, they could have prevented all his take-overs, they could have shed light on his hatred. But they didn't. And thus, we have the sad and tragic happenings of the l ...more
Kasey Begg
This book can be slow at times, but I kept reading because there was always something about it that made you need to know what happened next. Since there are so many books about people's lives during World War II, it was nice to read something about how it was for people in the "prelude" before it started. This book uses real names and people involved in politics at the time and gives lots of information about the situation and feelings between European countries. The two main characters are an ...more
James Oliver Burns
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil - is for good men to do nothing. Edmond Burke

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold - is for people of Good conscience to remain silent. Edmond Burke


Set in 1936 Austria in Vienna, known for its people and their love of music and culture, and a large Jewish population as was true with most European countries during hitters rise to power. Hitlers army has just broken the Versailles treaty of 1918 by rearming and occupying the Rhineland and making
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Carol
'Vienna Prelude' by Bodie and Brock Thoene is a prequel of a six book series. The story concentrates on Jewish life in Germany and Austria during 1933 through 1936. I learned quite a bit about the reaction of the Austrian government to the takeover by Hitler. I didn’t know about the protest about the protest of the Austrians even though there was no hope of rescue from England and United States. I was very impressed by the words and actions of Churchill and Eden and some of the Austrian statesme ...more
laurenpie
Methodical, dry writing style; a stilted third-person narrative.

Had to force my way through this book. I usually enjoy historical novels, but not this one. When, oh when, will I ever run across a "Christian" novel worth reading? Oops! Nevermind! Please don't start recommending any to me! I'm going to give Gilbert Morris a try, but otherwise I'm giving up on the genre!

I'm tempted to say the author should have stuck to newspaper or periodical reporting, or perhaps non-fiction books. But honestly,
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Luann
Aug 16, 2011 Luann rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Luann by: Geri, Gina
It took me quite a while to get caught up with the characters and their stories, but once it happened, I was hooked! At that point, I didn't stop reading until I reached the end. There were times when I felt like I was there with the characters sharing what they experienced.

Now I see that this is just the first of NINE books! I'll be waiting until I have a large chunk of time, but I will definitely be reading more in this series.

The authors had the characters tell me what I should be learning
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Kristen
I read this series probably 15 years ago, and I remembered liking it. I did not remember that it was religious fiction, which is not my genre of choice generally. That said, I would classify this book primarily as historical fiction, with a gentle infusion of Christianity. It wasn't overwhelming, nor preachy, and it was skimmable when necessary. The rest of the story was interesting enough that I didn't mind.

The characters are very nicely drawn, and well fleshed out. They were believable for th
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Rachel
I think I gave it a fairly decent chance to captivate me. I waited, and read up to page 111 when I decided I was done with it. And the words are small font so 111 pages is a lot of words, more so than the average book.

You know, I have read tips on writing historical fiction, and one such tip is to make sure history isn't the main character. Keep it in the background. And now I see how it looks when that tip isn't regarded.

I read a lot about that period, the laws, the landscape, the people, nee
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Auntie J
Overall I really enjoyed this book. The historical facts are accurate, and incorporated into the story to give perspective.

Although this isn't really a romance novel, it does include romance elements. As with many (of the few) romances I've read the bone-headedness, misunderstandings, incorrect assumptions, of the would be lovers is frustrating at many places, is agonizing to the point where it's almost unbearable. That they just couldn't figure out they were both crazy about each other. I just
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Nancy Fisher
This book is a wonderful walk through the minds of people in the middle of the horrific and unbelievable events taking place in Nazi Germany and Hitler's planned take over of Austria. One truly gets a sense of why the Germans themselves could not have done anything for the Jewish amongst them in fear of their own lives. You feel the frustration that Murphy the reporter experiences during the Isolationism in the USA other and events in England all the while he is falling for the Judo-Christian bl ...more
Pamela
Sorry, but I won't read any more of this series. A lot of people love this, but it wasn't for me. It was overwritten to the point of ho-hum--put it on the nightstand to ensure falling asleep. The historical background was accurate but only served to lengthen a book that was unsatisfying in plot--with a few unrealistic coincidences. The basic premise of the book was good, but the main characters were perfectly plastic. For better writing and a much more gripping story, stick to SARAH'S KEY or som ...more
Dlora
Vienna Prelude is the story of Elisa Lindheim, a superb violinst in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, during the expansionist years of Nazi Germany. Elisa is part-Jew but with the blonde hair and blue eyes of her mother, she is safer than some using her forged Czech passport. The plot is richly convoluted with her love life and the tension of living in Vienna--not to mention her fears for her Jewish family living in Berlin. But more than the love story, I was more interested in the historical e ...more
Ruth Hill
This was the first thing I ever read by the Thoenes. I read the entire series, and I was totally blown away by it! The historical accuracy and the delightful characters got me more interested in WWII than I ever had been before. I love the fact that the Thoenes cover the war in a way that you often don't see. This is one of those books that has stuck with me over the years. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good historical read with a Christian touch.
Vicki Andrada
I love this entire series! There were several books in it so I'm going to just rate this one. I just love the Thoenes! It was the first series I read by them, although I'd later read others by them. They're so good with there historical detail; you can tell they thoroughly research before writing a novel!

It's not a book full of roses. You have to like reading about the world war II time period. This series will surely teach you a lot about what it was like before the war started, and what lead u
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Katherine Salinas
Being that this is an older book, I'm surprised it is so good and haven't really heard of it until now.
I should start by saying I rarely give a 5 star status to a book. This had many things going for it before I even started: highly recommended by someone I totally admire, trust and respect for her literary opinion, it set during WWII which is a favorite time period in which to read and the main character is a musician, of which I am also.
That said, this book blew me away. It was well written b
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Tiffany
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bailey Bristol
This is one of the most stirring WWII stories I have ever read. The characters are immediately engaging, and the circumstances at once original, alarming, and fulfilling. It's Book One of the Zion Covenant, and I am thrilled to see that I will be staying with these rich, desperately compelling characters through four more books in the series.
Kelsey
I loved this book. I loved how the history wrote itself among the lives of the characters. It is thrilling, fast paced, and full of grief and longing. Takes place in one of the most tragic times of history, in the most beautiful of places. As a musician, I loved how music was weaved in, and the specks of romance all along the pages. 5 STARS!
Ekaterina
An excellent piece of historical fiction. I absolutely loved it! I heard of this book on a blog, and the blogger talked about it so much that I had to read it. I actually loved it more after reading it, which doesn't happen to anyone. I was spellbound by the web the plot created. Beware of spoilers beyond this point.
I loved how I got to see the story from different character's view points. That definitely changed the story because you understood each of the character's view points yet you still
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Lisa
A story set in Vienna, Austria before the start of WW II, during Hitler's rise to power. It is full of great characters and wonderful history, and you get caught up in the story as the people of Austria see their world slowly dissolve into Hitler's ambition. I loved it, and can'twait to read the rest of the series.
Rachel
This is the tale of a Christian German violinist living in Vienna who finds her family torn apart by the rise of the Nazis in the years leading up to WWII. Her father is a German Jew who is a Christian and a war hero; her mother is a concert pianist from Vienna. Now Elisa is living and working in Vienna, safely (or so she thinks) sheltered from the trouble in Germany. This illusion is shattered when Hitler's Nazis increase pressure on the Austrian government and imprison her father before he can ...more
Amelia R
Wow, this was amazing!! One of, if not THE best historical fiction book I have ever read.

Right from the start, I was swept up in this intriguing tale of Austria before the Nazi invasion. The characters were very deep, the plot was thick, and everything was so real, and so vivid, I swear, I could feel the rain pelting my face, hear Hitler's screams, and the crashing of jackboots on the cobblestones.

With the characters, I soared to the highest reaches of hope, I was cast into the deepest pit of de
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Claire
Loved this book, and the entire series. Highly readable, with well drawn characters and excellent insight into the years leading up to WW II in Austria, Poland, and Germany.

I have read a lot of Holocaust Fiction and stories of the dark days before and during the war. My favorite thing about these books is that a reader without a lot of knowledge of the actual events will learn many things it is important for us to know about this period without even realizing it as they are drawn along by the i
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Angela Ingalls
I really enjoy reading these books. They are historical fiction set at a time when Hitler has just come to power.
Jennie
Love, love, love this book. But WWII and what everyone went through is completely fascinating to me.
Sandra
I have such a love-hate relationship with war books. I like books that have great character development, but that kind of war book always break my heart because they bring out the affect war has on all of the people involved or not involved in the war. That being said, I always dread just a bit getting into a book like this one, but from the beginning I couldn't put it down. I liked the Thoenes writing style. The worst part about it is I am pretty much drawn in and there are 6 more books! Oh wel ...more
Melissa Lesner
The Zion Covenant Series is one of the best historical fiction series I have ever read. I liked it so much that My husband and I read it together along with The Zion Chronicles, The Zion Legacy and A.D. Chronicles. The characters in the books follow into the next series. Excellent read! But if you are one of those people who like a book to end happily ever after, you may not want to read the Zion Covenant because these books deal with the atrocities done to the Jews during WWII. Some of them you ...more
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BODIE AND BROCK THOENE (pronounced Tay-nee) have written over 45 works of historical fiction. These best sellers have sold more than 10 million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards.

Bodie began her writing career as a teen journalist for her local newspaper. Eventually her byline appeared in prestigious periodicals such as U.S. News and World Report, The American West, and The Saturday E
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More about Bodie Thoene...

Other Books in the Series

Zion Covenant (9 books)
  • Prague Counterpoint (Zion Covenant, #2)
  • Munich Signature (Zion Covenant, #3)
  • Jerusalem Interlude (Zion Covenant, #4)
  • Danzig Passage (Zion Covenant, #5)
  • Warsaw Requiem (Zion Covenant, #6)
  • London Refrain (Zion Covenant, #7)
  • Paris Encore (Zion Covenant, #8)
  • Dunkirk Crescendo (Zion Covenant, #9)
Munich Signature (Zion Covenant, #3) Prague Counterpoint (Zion Covenant, #2) Jerusalem Interlude (Zion Covenant, #4) Danzig Passage (Zion Covenant, #5) The Gates of Zion (Zion Chronicles #1)

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“The seasons sang to him - like ageless hymns with whisperings he could feel, but not fully understand.” 9 likes
“This is me, God! Elisa. I once saw you in all the world. But the world is dark now, Lord. Full. Full of darkness. Close your eyes for a moment, God, and let me sing to you. Let me remember that you are here. Here in the notes. Smiling down as I play for you. Just this moment, God, let me sing to you. And maybe in the song, I will forget whether I am singing to you, or you are singing to me . . . ” 8 likes
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