Tuesday, October 15, 2013

"The Black Eagle Inn (The Three Nations Trilogy, Book 3)" by Christoph Fischer

The Black Eagle Inn
(The Three Nations Trilogy, Book 3)
by Christoph Fischer

This is the third in my special feature on The Three Nations Trilogy, celebrating the release of the last book in the series, The Black Eagle Inn. Make sure you enter the giveaway below for your chance to win a copy of this book. You can also check out my blog post on the first book in the series, The Luck of the Weissensteiners, and my blog post on the second book, Sebastian.

How does a Nation recover from its collective shame, how does it rebuild itself into a modern state and deal with its horrendous past and the difficult path ahead? Restructuring of the political landscape & the influence of religion are strong themes in this historical family saga & post war drama set in Germany 1940 - 1976.
The Black Eagle Inn is an old established restaurant and part of a family farm business in the sleepy Bavarian countryside outside of Heimkirchen. Childless Anna Stockmann has fought hard to make it her own and keep it running through WWII. The family is divided by rivalry between family members since her own youth but at the heart of this story one of Anna’s nephews, Markus, owns her heart and another nephew, Lukas, owns her ear, while her husband Herbert is still missing-in-action.
Religion dictates life in Heimkirchen's enclosed Catholic community that was almost unaffected by the fighting in the war. Anna’s brother Hans-Ulrich is involved in the church as well as in post war party politics. He finds that the new generation, his own off spring, are not functioning as well as the older one would like. Bitter conflicts arise in the new forming Germany and the family members all need to decide how to respond to the challenges ahead.
This is war fiction without immediate war, it is literary history about Germany after the Nazi rule with gay, racial, religious and feminist themes, describing the way one family experiences the forward move of a shamed Nation.
Fischer tells a great family saga with war in the far background and weaves the political and religious into the personal with belated or indirect impact of war on people.

During the early stages of the new war, a time when victory was certain and - in the view of everyone in Heimkirchen - completely inevitable, the baby Maria Hinterberger was born; it was a Saturday evening in September 1940 and absolutely nothing seemed to be able to stop Hitler and the German nation.
The small Bavarian town – like the rest of the country – had already been thoroughly ‘cleansed’ of the very few Jews, Communists and other ‘subversive’ elements that had found their way to this little backward and hidden corner of the world. There was no one left for the enthusiastic supporters of the Fuhrer to focus their hatred on but the Russians, the French and the British.
German troops had made remarkable progress everywhere in Europe and despite what the deeply religious Hinterberger family and some other citizens of Heimkirchen secretly thought of Hitler and his hateful politics, the military success promised a great future for the nation and left the people on the streets with wonderful feelings of optimism and curiosity.
All the posters sent there from Berlin, warning of Communists and Jews, seemed totally out of place and unnecessary. The city was in total harmony with their leadership - at least that was how the population of Heimkirchen would appear to any outsider passing through the town. On this beautiful early autumn day it was easy to forget about the war.
Being the fifth child Maria caused her mother Magdalena comparatively little pain in the way of labour. The first signs of an impending delivery had – rather conveniently - started moments before lunch was being served, leaving just enough time to feed the other four children and send for the midwife before things became more complicated.
Magdalena was a beautiful woman, whose body seemed to have suffered little damage from giving birth four times already. Born herself at the beginning of the Great War Magdalena had learned to keep quiet and not to bother her own worried mother with any demands of her own.
The latest addition to the family arrived with what felt like consideration for the pregnant woman’s other duties. Magdalena could not have chosen a better moment for this birth had she been asked to and this gift for convenience and timing made the new child utterly likeable, albeit easily forgettable in the context of the bigger and more dramatic picture.
She had inherited her mother’s long and thin nose, her green eyes and dark blonde hair, she was of average size and weight for a new born and had few remarkable physical features and to a mother of five it came as a relief to have at least one child that was so easy to handle.
From the smooth way that Maria had come to her today Magdalena already sensed that this child was special and would not cause her as much grief as her siblings had. Little did Magdalena know how wrong she was.
Magdalena had never really wanted to have that many children. Uneducated and na├»ve she truly believed for far too long that who had children and who didn’t was the Lord’s will regardless of their night time activities in the bedroom. Her husband, Hans-Ulrich, told her on their wedding night that every married couple had to perform this act daily, so it would not be the couple’s lower urges that dictated reproduction but the Good Lord himself. He himself had only heard this from a friend at school, and Magdalena believed him, just as he had believed his classmate.

An epic masterpiece, Black Eagle Inn, by the very talented Christoph Fischer has concluded his brilliant trilogy with this his best yet. From the gripping first traumatic pages through to the surprising end this read does not disappoint. The characters are compelling and we can't help falling in love with Maria and her family, flawed and imperfect as they all are, they are who we are, who we love, who we struggle within our daily lives, who support us and help us have a sense of worth, they are the best and worst of the human condition expressed through gripping dialogues and historical scenes. Black Eagle Inn burns its image into the heart and mind of the reader, and lingers on for days after the last page is closed. Highly recommend and will definitely read again.

About the Author
Christoph Fischer was born in Germany 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 is still resident today.
The Luck of the Weissensteiners, the first book in The Three Nations Trilogy, is Christoph's first published work. Sebastian, the second book in the series, was released in May 2013. The last book in trilogy, The Black Eagle Inn, has just been released.
Christoph is also a reviewer of independent books and on his recommendation pages on this site he features interviews and reviews of the books that have most captured his attention and appreciation by genre.

Christoph has kindly donated an ebook copy of The Black Eagle Inn for our giveaway. Please show your appreciation by entering below.