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Sebastian’s Way:

The Paladin

by


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Book Series The Sebastian Chronicles
Genres Historical Fiction
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Synopsis

Book II of the Sebastian trilogy, like Book I, is far from just a military account of the wars of the Charlemagne era. To be sure it is a tale of valor, set in the “Dark Ages” world of the 8th century. But the tale is told within a context of morality and honor – and of love. It even becomes a full-fledged epic drama as forbidden romance swelters throughout the plot. Two romantic interests from Book I, the transcendent Adela and the irresistible Adelaide, continue to be bound intimately to Sebastian. They are joined by Queen Fastrada, Charlemagne’s second wife, who plays a dangerous game with our hero. As for villains, Konrad, Sebastian’s cousin and demonic nemesis, reappears, after everyone thought him dead. Thus the Church declares Adela’s marriage to Sebastian to be invalid. Meanwhile, Sebastian is awarded the title of count and becomes one of Charlemagne’s twelve paladins, men who hold the king’s absolute trust. The first part of the book describes how Sebastian came to be chosen as a paladin. It is a high honor but the cost is equally high. Adela enters a convent and Sebastian assuages his sorrow in relentless combat service for the king. In the second part of the novel the king sends Sebastian on an adventure that brings him to three of the most important cities of the world. We meet again with his stouthearted band of companions from Book I, Liudolf, Archambald, Bernard, the peasants Bardulf and Drogo, as well as his eldest son Milo. Together they pursue the king’s highly complex foreign policy objectives in the court of Irene, reigning monarch of the Byzantine Empire, at the throne of Elias, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and in the illustrious city of the most powerful ruler of the day, Harun al Rashid, Caliph of Baghdad. It is a journey of five years, fraught with tension, peril, and challenge. Fortunately, Sebastian is joined by two new counselors who give him at least a chance to succeed: Isaac, a legendary Jewish international trader, and Magdala, a mystic healer and holy woman of Jerusalem. But years of constant violence, intrigue, and betrayal have changed Sebastian from the young man of faith and character he once was into a hard-bitten, burned-out warrior whose exploits and trials have left a trail of blood and regret, causing Sebastian to fear for the loss of his soul. The latter part of the book thus becomes a parable of the ruin and redemption of a professional soldier as well as a hopeful quest to ‘catch the conscience of the king.’

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