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Vienna Prelude

(Zion Covenant #1)

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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  8,753 ratings  ·  589 reviews
Predating the events of The Zion Chronicles Series, Vienna Prelude opens in pre-World War II Austria. Elisa Lindheim, a violinist with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, is of Jewish heritage but has adopted an Aryan stage name. Thus she is able to travel and play in Germany even though a 1935 law forbade Jewish musicians to do so. Her dear friend Leah, a cellist already intro ...more
Paperback, 461 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published May 1st 1989)
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Shannon Whorton I think it's fine for teens. There are no graphic descriptions and no bad or inappropriate language. I would be surprised to find a book by the Thoene…moreI think it's fine for teens. There are no graphic descriptions and no bad or inappropriate language. I would be surprised to find a book by the Thoenes that wasn't suitable for teen readers.(less)
Rowena Ivanhoe Vienna Prelude has 48 chapters and a short prologue.

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Average rating 4.32  · 
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Natalie Vellacott
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've just started into this series for the second time and found it just as readable as the first time around 5 years ago.

The story is spread across Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria and Poland during the reign of Nazi terror. I studied the in-depth history of the two world wars at school so found the book was well researched and remarkably accurate historically. The main characters are a Jewish family who become involved in smuggling documents and moving Jewish people out of the kill zone.

I wou
...more
Amy
Jan 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
"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.
...more
Julianne
Jul 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
laurenpie
Mar 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
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, I
...more
James Burns
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Luisa Knight
I appreciated the historical research and backdrop presented in this story and how it occasionally left the main characters to show a key scene in history with Churchill, Hitler and/or Franklin. Kudos for how well this was laid out.

The story itself was pretty good too, with a lot of plot and/or action happening. More of a "Hallmark Movie" feel to it, so possessing a somewhat predictable story-line with a leading female who's obviously gorgeous and a few love quadrangles thrown in, of course. Wha
...more
Carol
Nov 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
'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
Kasey Begg
Aug 07, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Kate Willis
Apr 17, 2017 marked it as unfinished
I hesitate to write reviews of books I have not finished, because you never know if the book really does turn out to be amazing without finishing it. So please be sure to read some positive reviews as well! This is just my personal opinion of the book.

(view spoiler)
...more
Kelsey Ellis
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!
Danielle Gonzalez
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is probably one of the best books I have read in a while. It is powerfully written and puts the reader right into the middle of the most terrifying period in Europe. It was hard to put this book down, and I was anxious to find out what would happen next. This is the first in the series, and while it ties up some loose ends, there are plenty left to leave me wanting to read the next book now!
Tirzah Eleora
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating more like a 3.5. Surprisingly good for a Christian romance novel. The historical aspects were well-researched and well-presented through the viewpoints of various characters. The writing is engaging in the sense that I always wanted to turn the page and the book is quite suspenseful at times. It had me on the edge of my seat towards the end.

The writing is NOT engaging in the character department. I couldn't sympathize or connect with any of them, which I blame on the author's unde
...more
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
...more
Alexandra
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
...more
Ruth Hill
Jul 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, historical
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. ...more
Sharon Huether
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
During the Hitler invasion of Austria. Elise a violinist with the Vienna Philharmonic, was thourly
Surprised when she received a rare violin from the concert master in his dying moments.
Her friend Leah knew all about the violin and the magic of it’s case .
Elise became part of the underground risking her life and the lives of her friends and family .
She is able to protect innocent children by what the violin case revealed.
Lisa Brown
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. ...more
Bailey Bristol
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Jennie
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Love, love, love this book. But WWII and what everyone went through is completely fascinating to me.
Hannah
I love a good historical novel the Thoenes are my favourite author. I love how they don't heroise either side that you get all perspectives that they don't tend to preach ...more
Michelle
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the first Christian books I ever read. Great story.
Hope
Mar 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: light-reading, wwii
Rich with historical details, this book is slow-going at times. In fact the authors took the first hundred pages to set the stage, but the pace picks up after that.

I don't mind some romance, but found it hard to like the female protagonist who steals the heart of every many she meets. Even when she finally chooses one of the men, their relationship is pretty rocky. Not my cup of tea.

Still, I learned a lot of WWII history and enjoyed "getting to know" several of the multi-layered characters: The
...more
Rebekah Rojas
May 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a very well written story and I can't wait to read the rest but I give it four stars because it's a bit graphic in some details that are unnecessary in my opinion. ...more
Chuck
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
An historical fictional account of the events leading up to and including the Anschluss in the earlier days of Nazi domination in Europe and the targeting of Jews. The characters are interesting, the unfolding of the story is engrossing, but the romance portions were just silly.
Zak K.
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book was really really really good. Every last bit of it was amazing, EXCEPT chapter two. I hated chapter two, but other than that the book was great.
Michelle Bruhn
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christian
I wanted to love this book. I ended up thinking it was decent.

Four friends recommended this series when I told them I wanted to try #HistoricalFiction. WWII is one of the few time-periods I’m kind of interested in and I’m a #musician, so it made sense. Sadly, though, I don’t think I can continue reading this series without falling back into a reading slump.

Got any recommendations for historical fiction that will hold the attention of someone who hates history as a subject?

THE ❤️:
I loved Elisa. S
...more
Luann
Mar 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Corinne Edwards
I first read this series of books twenty years ago (literally within a month of twenty years, I just looked it up!) and when I saw three of the middle books on the shelf at the thrift store, I snatched them up. Back then, I fell in love with this set of stories for their multidimensional characters, the thorough historical setting and for the romantic interplay between our main character, the German violinist Elisa and John, the American journalist. I also liked that faith is a part of the story ...more
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AP Language SHS: Historical fiction 3 5 Jan 05, 2018 04:07PM  
Term 2 Assignment 2 4 Jan 05, 2018 03:04PM  
Historical fiction 1 1 Jan 01, 2018 12:09PM  
The Harpies' Book...: Vienna Prelude, a foray into Christian historical romantic fiction. 1 4 Jan 04, 2016 02:46AM  

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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
...more

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)

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“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 . . . ” 9 likes
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