HE'S FOUGHT FOR HIS LANDS, HIS MARRIAGE, AND HIS KING. THE FIGHT FOR HIS SOUL IS JUST BEGINNING.
"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that his cousin Konrad--his sworn enemy and abusive first husband of his beloved wife Adela--means that his marriage is no longer valid.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.
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.
Source: Complimentary hardcover copy from George Steger. My Thoughts: 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.