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(The Three Nations Trilogy #2)

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  270 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Sebastian is the story of a young man who has his leg amputated before World War I. When his father is drafted to the war it falls on to him to run the family grocery store in Vienna, to grow into his responsibilities, bear loss and uncertainty and hopefully find love.

Sebastian Schreiber, his extended family, their friends and the store employees experience the ‘golden day
Paperback, 206 pages
Published May 2013 by CreateSpace (first published April 30th 2013)
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4.40  · 
Rating details
 ·  270 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Perfect. Simply perfect.

I set myself a goodreads goal to read 52 books this year. I have just reached that goal with Sebastian. I could not have asked for a better companion to achieve this with.

Sebastian is set in Vienna in the early 1910's in the time of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Sebastian is the story of a young man who has to come to terms with the amputation of his leg just before World War I. When his father is drafted to fight he has to step up and manage the family grocery st
Olga Miret
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A chronicle of turbulent times and memorable characters.
Sebastian is a long novel that chronicles a complex period of Austrian history by following the life of a Jewish family living and working in Vienna. The difficulties of the family (poor Sebastian loses a leg at the very beginning of the book and this will change his whole life, his mother, grandmother and grandfather have health problems, his father disappears in the Great War…) reflect the turbulent historical period that Europe lives in
Cindy Smith
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story. Christoph has again shown his diligence in research. The historical facts are great. This story, second in the series, deals with another non-practicing Jewish family. It is heartbreaking when I realize how many give up on their beliefs and traditions for the sake of fitting in. Sebastian must undergo a leg amputation because of a rusty nail. He is insecure and does not like to cause problems and this results in gangrene setting into a wound. Later he loses more of his leg ...more
Simon Okill
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sebastian by Christoph Fischer is a brilliant testament to the author's talent. Although part two of a historical trilogy, this novel stands out as a standalone and is so easy to read due to the author's magical way with words.
Sebastian is the central character around whom the story of life in Vienna flows from pre Great War to the end of the hostilities. Sebastian is a normal teenage lad, but with a paranoid fear of hospitals and doctors. It is this fear that forces said doctors to amputate hi
Alan Wynzel
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Christoph Fischer continues to display his mastery of historical fiction displayed in The Luck of the Weissensteiners in this book, Sebastian, the second installment in his "Three Nations Trilogy". This novel traces the life of Sebastian, a teenaged boy who, shortly before the outbreak of WWI, has his leg amputated below the knee due to an untreated infection. As in the Weissensteiners, Sebastian and the other characters symbolize the different peoples and socio-political forces at play in their ...more
Jams Roses
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sebastian has a leg amputated right at the start of the book. It's hard to imagine losing a limb and to do so at such a young age is harsh, but Sebastian has no time to lick his wounds; the war drags his father away and leaves him with his fragile family and a store to run.
Sebastian's family is an odd bunch of characters that you can't help liking. The setting in Vienna at that time is very interesting and the characters that come into the family's life illustrate a multicultural society and the
May 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
clearly, christoph fischer is a great storyteller. as in "the weissensteiners", he has taken the reader through a family's experience of war, this time WWI. without being political, and without lengthy discussions of battlelines, the author has a gift for bringing the reader closer to a time now only accessible in books and no longer as memories told by grandparents. however it's the author's gift of great storytelling that the reader's takeaway is a feeling that this is a story being passed dow ...more
Aug 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: the Ebola-infected

I think I was misled by the average 4.71 rating! It's almost like I read a completely different book from the one the 5-star raters read. What's up with all those 5-star ratings?? I don't want to use the word "collusion," but jeez! I am so mystified.

The sense you get is that either: a) English is not the author's first language; or b) the author is writing in 1940 for a readership of 8-year olds.

There is a "Dick and Jane" woodenness to the writing, supplemented by awkward phrasings and homonym
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Historical Novel meets Literary Realism.

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.

Of course, just because the government declares a degree of "equality" of the races and religions, it doesn
Bernice Rocque
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The first sentence of SEBASTIAN stirred my curiosity, and like Alice, I found myself in another time and place. Transported to a hospital room in pre-WWI Vienna, I felt the gravity of the situation. Was this doctor really going to amputate part of Sebastian’s leg? Carried along from page to page, I worried alongside his mother, Vera, and wondered why his father, Franz, was not there.

As the novel unfolds and expands, we experience everyday life in this era. Vienna, in the years just before the Gr
Linda Watkins
May 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I received a free ARC of this book, in exchange for my fair and honest review.

"Sebastian" is the story of a man and his family, non-practicing Jews with a busy grocery shop in Vienna during WW1. I loved the way Mr. Fischer depicted his characters with all their flaws and weaknesses, both physical and mental. Yet, despite their limitations and conflicts, most of these complex human beings dig down deep and stay strong when tragedy strikes.

This is a great family saga with an interesting and enligh
John Dolan
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Having read and enjoyed 'Black Eagle Inn', I was keen to explore another volume of Christoph Fischer's trilogy. 'Sebastian' did not disappoint.

Set mainly in Vienna - with some sections located in a devastated Galicia - this family saga takes place during World War I. Fischer brings history alive in this finely written novel.

We are party to the trials and tribulations of the Schreibers and Halaszes, the first a Jewish family, the second a refugee family following the Russian invasion of Galicia.
Sheryl Seal
I understand this is the second book in a trilogy and was happy that I could step right into this book with no problems. I became quickly invested in the characters.
You have to love the main character! Sebastian as like any normal kid, tries hard to hide his infected leg and because of this it needs to be amputated...Twice. With war looming in Vienna He manages, with the help of his loving grandfather Oscar, who tutors him and pushes him to become a man and to eventually see his self worth.

Katy O'Dowd
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sebastian, the second book in The Three Nations Trilogy, is set in the enlightened city of Vienna just before the outbreak of and during the First World War.

The Luck of the Weissensteiners was equally well written, but Sebastian is more of a character-driven read. And what characters they are!

From the adolescent Sebastian who is typical of his age (and therefore fully believeable that he would not go to his mother after being infected by a rusty nail until it was far too late) who suffers the ca
Sophie Davis
May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sebastian takes place in pre-WWI era Vienna. As the title suggests it is the tale of how a boy named Sebastian deals with the loss of his leg after an infection gets out of hand. But really Sebastian is about so much more than that. With a cast of well-developed characters, some of whom are extremely flawed, the story is incredibly engaging. In the beginning you learn about about Sebastian and the Schreiber family through Vera, the matriarch. Not only does she suffer from a weak constitution and ...more
Wanda Hartzenberg
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sebastian is a character driven story of a non practising Jewish boy who looses his leg before WWI!
This loss impacts him personally and also ensures that he is not drafted for the war. His mother Vera, a woman
who coddles her son and with a nervous disposition gets involved with a group of Jewish woman!

Thus far the story seems clear does it not? A boy-man with a leg lost a non-practising Jewish mother meeting up with kindred spirits... But your wrong. In essesance this book is about prophecies
Apr 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Christoph Fischer’s Sebastian is a very enjoyable read. I had already read something by this author, The Luck of the Weissensteiners, and really enjoyed that so when this one came out I was ready for it. It did not disappoint. Although the story follows a teenage boy into young adulthood it is not just his story, rather it is one of relationships and the transience of ones involvement in them, and all things. The backdrop of a Baltic war is never far from the forefront although this story line d ...more
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I Became a huge fan of this author after “The Luck of The Weissensteiners” and couldn’t wait to jump into Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy). I was at first surprised that this book goes back to WWI, (Luck of the Weissensteiners takes place around WWII). However, themes tie the books together, namely the consequences of war, the effect of a single decision or event on the entire life of an individual and a family. Fischer’s characters continue to amaze me. They are so true and complex that wh ...more
William O'Brien
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ache with empathy

I was given a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Sebastian (The Three Nations Trilogy 2)

Another amazing and heartfelt story form the author after The Luck of the Weissensteiners (The Three Nations Trilogy) (Volume 1). It is an emotionally-charged historical read that develops through war, loss and love.

The superb detailed writing proves Fischer is a truly talented writer. Based in the earlier part of the twentieth century, the gripping and realistic creation
Brian Bigelow
May 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a really exceptional account of this kids life that is set just before the start of WWI. I really empathize with him and what he goes through. It's difficult for me to imagine going through life missing a leg but it does keep him from getting caught up the meat grinder of trench warfare that is soon to come. This is one book I would recommend to anyone that likes to read historical fiction. I had previously read, "The Luck of the Weissensteiners," and this story is definitely showing the ...more
Elaine White
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J.B. McCauley
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Set during the Great War and the dying embers of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Sebastien is the tale of an eminently unlucky man. Fischer paints the picture of a lapsed Jewish family in Vienna who seem rather distant from the struggling Jewish clans of outlying districts of the Empire.

The father and grandfather are mildly successful businessmen and despite having to work hard to maintain a vibrant shop in the competing tapestry of Vienna, do not appear to want for much. Until that is. Sebastien h
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous wrap of drama, history, romance, relationships, family, and overcoming the odds to find happiness. Sebastian loses his leg when very young. How this affects his growing up, his schooling, and most importantly of all, his view of himself as a man and his relationships with women is deftly dealt with by a writer who knows how to unravel a character layer by layer until we know them as well as anyone in our own family.
But it's hard to do justice to the sheer scale of this novel - spanni
Claire Taylor
Jun 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Christoph Fischer
The Three Nations Trilogy #2

I fully enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, but the author has taken this book to a completely new level and I was gripped instantly. The character development is so strong, they all had a place in my heart throughout the book. Incredibly well written, the story flows so smoothly and I never felt lost or wondered what was going on, I just went with it. The historical aspect was always loitering in the background, but was subtle that it di
Jun 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Sebastian: Christoph Fischer

Courage is defined as the “ the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain without fear. But, it can mean even more. Once that initial fear or obstacle is defined and the person overcomes that hindrance, drawback or impediment, something has to take over to keep them going. Handicaps are defined as conditions that restrict a person’s ability to function physically, mentally or socially. If convinced by others that you are incapabl
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

In all honesty, I would give this four and 1/2 stars as it was extremely difficult for me to get into the novel. I was not truly invested in the characters until a bit over half-way through the book. Once I got there I could not put it down and ended up regretting that there wasn't more. I do not believe that my problems with the book were anything but the fact that this is not the typical genre that I read... it is very well written
May 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
The story follows the life of Sebastian Schreiber in Vienna, Austria. He is the son of a grocery store owner and having had his leg amputated as a teenager, has to take over the responsibilities of the store and family when his father is drafted for World War I. Though kind and intelligent, Sebastian feels that as a cripple, he will never find true love. Through pre war to post war he and his family experience love, loss and triumph, making life long friends along the way.

At first i found the bo
Bonnie Bernard
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sebastian is book two in The Three Nations trilogy, but a reader could pick up this one has a completely different cast of characters and in fact is set during WW1...before the first book, which is set during WW2.

Sebastian is the "crippled" son of a frail and fearful mother, Vera. His grandparents are sickly and broken. His dad is the strong one of the family, at least until he gets sent off to war. In my opinion, Sebastian is the strongest and most emotionally healthy members of his
Jada Ryker
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Sebastian, by Christoph Fischer, is the sweeping second installment of the Three Nations Trilogy. Amazingly, it is even more compelling than the first volume, The Luck of the Weissensteiners.

The setting of Sebastian is Vienna, shortly before The Great War. When the doctor, who had served in the field during the Balkan War, declares part of Sebastian Schreiber's leg must be amputated, it's a blow to the intelligent sixteen-year-old boy. A subsequent amputation results in the loss of more of his l
Alan Hardy
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This great saga begins in pre-1914 Vienna and carries on through to the end of the First World War. The author deftly and expertly introduces us to the Schreiber family, of Jewish origin: Vera and Franz, Sebastian their son, Franz's parents, and a string of maids-cum-housekeepers whose histories interact with those of the family members. Sebastian's leg has to be amputated due to an infection, an incident naturally that affects his whole future, as well as of course the development of the story. ...more
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Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a smal ...more

Other books in the series

The Three Nations Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Luck of the Weissensteiners
  • The Black Eagle Inn
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