The Soldier’s Return
(Book #2 Heaven’s Pond Trilogy)
By Laura Libricz
year is 1626. A senseless war rips through parts of Germany. Ongoing animosity
between the Catholics and the Protestants has turned into an excuse to destroy
much of the landscape situated between France, Italy and Denmark. But religion
only plays a minor role in this lucrative business of war.
The young dutchman, Pieter van Diemen, returns to Amsterdam in chains after a
period of imprisonment in the Spice Islands. He manages to escape but must
leave Amsterdam in a hurry. Soldiers are in demand in Germany and he decides to
travel with a regiment until he can desert. His hope of survival is to reach
Sichardtshof, the farm in Franconia, Germany; the farm he left ten years ago.
His desire to seek refuge with them lies in his fond memories of the maid Katarina
and her master, the humanist patrician Herr Tucher. But ten years is a long
time and the farm has changed. Franconia is not only torn by war but falling
victim to a church-driven witch hunt. The Jesuit priest, Ralf, has his sights
set on Sichardtshof as well. Ralf believes that ridding the area of evil will
be his saving grace. Can Pieter, Katarina and Herr Tucher unite to fight
against a senseless war out of control?
What did I think of the book?
When Laura Libricz
approached me and asked if I would like to read an ARC of The Soldier’s Return
~ Book #2 of Heaven's Pond Trilogy, I jumped at the chance. I so enjoyed book
#1 that I could not wait to head back to this fascinating time in German
The period that Ms. Libricz writes about is one not often seen in historical
fiction but it was a very compelling and bloodthirsty era, and The Soldier's
Return reflects this. This book is not for the faint-hearted, there are
multiple rapes and savage torture, which some readers may find upsetting, but
it added to the realism of the time.
As before, I loved the portrayal of Katarina. She suffers the most horrendous
abuse, not only by the hands of soldiers but also by the man who professes to
love her. When she needs him the most, he isn't there.
Once again we meet the vile priest, Ralf. He is just as disgustingly evil as he
was in the first book. He looks for evil and is determined to find it, even if
that means forcing confessions from the innocent. His actions are deplorable. I
do not think I have ever hated an antagonist, quite so much.
The writing, as expected, was elegant and engaging. The story itself had a good
pace to it, and it kept me turning those pages. I am eagerly waiting for the
conclusion of this trilogy.
Links for Purchase
About the author
She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn't writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.
Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven's Pond Trilogy. The Soldier's Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.