Hope of Ages Past ISBN: 9780999881101, an e-book 1st edition 2018 by Zeno Publishing written by Bruce Gardner.
The author has presented “An Epic Novel of Enduring Faith, Love, and the Thirty Years War” fought in Germany between the newly advancing members of the Lutheran faith and the proponents of the long-established Catholic church. The story’s protagonist, around whom part of the story centers is Peter Erhart as he follows a calling to the ministry rather than following his father’ desires to have him be an accountant. The young man first becomes an assistant Lutheran pastor and with training from his particularly gracious mentor a seemingly gifted orator gradually ascending in position. The second protagonist sharing the trials and tribulations of the horrendous conflict and resultant chaos is Anna Ritter, a peasant girl who falls hopelessly in love with Peter, although he is married to the lovely Ursula, the mother of his two small children. Most of the early action takes place in the wealthy trade center of Magdeburg and the surrounding area and gradually shifts to Leipzig. The tale is a brutal account of the destruction of Magdeburg and the results thereof as affecting all of its citizens and particularly Peter, Anna and their immediate families followed by their subsequent activities as they continue on to again meet in Leipzig.
Discussion: This is a book of historical fiction featuring fictitious protagonists but populated additionally by numerous historical figures. The whole has been rendered into a highly readable account of the actions of individuals under the most devastating circumstances. The prose appropriately and graphically descriptive, the characters easily acceptable and empathetic and the horrendous actions taken in the name of religious faith almost impossible to understand, as are some of the Godly reactions of ‘true believers’. For any person interested in this rarely described era, this is a scholarly book, written in an interestingly manner about a rarely illuminated era in history that is a MUST READ.
5* Must read historical novel.