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The Black Eagle Inn (The Three Nations Trilogy Book 3) Kindle Edition
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This is imaginatively achieved by the nice blend of characters that stagnate refusing to grow in spite of life offering them great opportunities to do so as well as characters that grow, either by experience or example. The subtleties and blunt ways of attacking each other as members of a dysfunctional family are clever and easy to visualize.
The wide diversity infused in the small town setting through the historical periods is ingeniously woven by allowing some characters to grow through experiences in other cities or countries as well as by the international influence of the `foreign' elements, through visitors to the BLACK EAGLE INN or the flow of immigration through the various changes in Europe before during and after WWII, and well into the Cold War.
As the book covers a large time period it addresses historical attitudes to prejudice of all kinds, from the Jews, to women's rights as well as prejudice to Muslims with its strongest note to homophobia.
My favorite character was Markus; as a reader he took me in a journey of understanding success and failure. The possibility of redemption when feelings run deep and there is the presence of love and forgiveness. I also found the development of the character's journey trying to accept his truth, while battling the religious beliefs that made his very nature a sin a very believable one. It was very interesting to have a story that combined how society sees homosexuality through various time periods as well as how Markus learns to balance and accept who he is.
Emotions; positive and negative run deep at THE BLACK EAGLE INN. Rivalries make sense and the Karmic wallop to those who deeply deserve it made for a most enjoyable ending. I am a big Fan of Christoph Fischer and now that he has so nicely wrapped his Three Nation Trilogy and entered the realms of modern times, I am most curious as to what he will write next. BRAVO and well done!
The back story starts at the beginning of the century, even before the Great War. Anna Stockmann, nee Hinterberger, one of the central figures in this novel, grows up to be a very unusual girl--she has a firm grasp of business and a Machiavellian mind, that allows her to outmaneuver her siblings, even her older brother, when the time came to inherit. To my mind, her story is one of the most interest in seeing how people change through their lives. I would even go so far as to say that her life is an allegory of the old Germany, it mirrors it so closely.
While Anna has ho children of her own, some of her siblings procreate prodigiously, and from those offspring, a new generation of the family, who will play an important role in bringing this story to a conclusion, appears.
Just naming all of the characters would take much of the place for which this review allows. Suffice it to say, this book is a family epic. And when I say "epic," I really mean it. We tend to think of kings and queens, noblemen and their flock, as required to create that "epic" feel to the story. What Christoph Fischer has done is truly remarkable: he took a regular German family and gave us a book with enough plotting, machinations, politics, and intrigue to rival any of the books that concern royalty and then some. Betrayals and ambitions, loyalties and self interests are all mixed together in a constantly changing scene of the narrative without letting go.
However, and as "Howevers" go, this is a big one: This is a book about Germany and her people. While I see Anna as an allegory for the country, her family is the representation of the German people: they can be industrious, which goes without saying; selfish and selfless, self absorbed and carrying, pious and liberal, absorbed in politics and neutral, scheming and naïve. As generations change in the family, we can also trace the changes in the German people. The later parts that of the book that describe Maria's (Anna's niece) marriage and its consequences and Marcus's (Anna's nephew) finally starting to accept himself as a homosexual really underline the changes that the after-war Germany went through and the struggles the country had to face before becoming the modern Germany we know today.
What makes this book unique, is the time period in which the book is set. Most historical novels deal with the "juicier" timelines that involve wars and upheavals, unrest and suffering. While this novel has that as well, of main interest are the other parts that concern the pre- and post-war Germany, and its gradual, grudging transformation through the generations of people who lived through it and built that country.
"The Black Eagle Inn (The Three Nations Trilogy)" by Christoph Fischer is a really great historical novel in best traditions of James A. Michener and Errol Lincoln Uys, that delivers a historical narrative through character exploration; a fascinating journey into a less-explored territory. Highly recommended.