Friday, February 9, 2018

Blog Tour Guest Post + Giveaway: The Soldier's Return by Laura Libricz

Please join me in welcoming Laura Libricz to Let Them Read Books! Laura is touring the blogosphere with her new release, The Soldier's Return, book two in the Heaven's Pond trilogy. I'm pleased to have her here today with a guest post about the inspiration behind the story. Read on and enter to win the first two books in the trilogy!

The 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?

The Soldier’s Return is the second book in the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy.

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Inspiration behind the Heaven’s Pond trilogy
by Laura Libricz

On May 23, 1618, Protestant noblemen threw four Catholic lords out of a Prague Castle office window. The Catholic lords survived, supposedly having fallen into a dung heap. This year, four hundred years later, historians are celebrating the anniversary of that incident called the Defenestration of Prague, considered to be the beginning of the Thirty Years War. Deemed a war between the Catholics and the Protestants, all of those involved suffered torment and agony. One third of the German population succumbed during the war. They died either on the battle field, were murdered as innocents or perished from resulting diseases and hunger. 

For centuries, reformers had been known to protest the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church, their worldly rule and abuse of power and money. In the early 1400’s, the preacher Jan Hus from Prague spoke out openly against the church and its decadence. Bohemian aristocracy supported Hus, even after he was excommunicated. Although he had their support, he was executed in 1415, burned at the stake by the German king Sigismund. 

One hundred years later, Martin Luther set out to reform the Catholic Church as well. He was not intending to create a new one. The famed story reads that he nailed a document called the 95 Theses to the door of a church in Wittenberg in 1517. The main points of the Theses disputed and condemned the practice of the church selling indulgences to people in order to insure their souls’ entrance to heaven. This famous incident is credited to be the birth of Protestantism. Last year, 2017 marked the 500-year anniversary of that famous incident.
Still the issue was not resolved. One hundred years after Luther expanded the Protestant movement, political powers saw the strife between Catholics and Protestants as a great platform to further their own agendas. In reality, what ensued, the war we call the Thirty Years War, was less a religious war. It was a political struggle fuelled by greed and a need for power. The many facets are still being researched and analyzed today. For further reading please refer to my bibliography here: http://www.lauralibricz.com/bibliography-and-sources.html

There’s plenty of historical reference material. But novels set in Germany during the Thirty Years War, written in the English language, are hard to find. I wanted to read a novel that would really capture the mood of the era, look into the lives of the people involved, people like you and me. That’s what drove me to write the Heaven’s Pond trilogy.

The Master and the Maid is the first book in the series and begins the story in 1616. It’s about a young woman who loses her home, her job and her freedom. Katarina is a 24-year-old barmaid from Nuremberg. When her fiancĂ©e trades her to the patrician Sebald Tucher in order to pay his debts, she is forced to relocate to the Sichardtshof farm, the Tucher country domicile. She meets a crazed archer who foists the care of a mysterious newborn child on her, involving her in a family feud fueled by religious differences.

The Soldier’s Return is the second novel in the series. The year is 1626 and mercenary soldiers terrorize the countryside. The war has stormed through Franconia for the past eight years. Witch hunts are raging through the south of Germany as well as the war. Katarina, Sebald Tucher and the rest of their makeshift family at the farm are now ten years older and war weary. Can these unlikely companions fight together to survive? 

The third book, Ash and Rubble, is in the early revision stages. The year is 1632 and the Protestant city of Nuremberg is besieged by the estimated 150,000-man-strong Swedish army comprised of soldiers and camp followers, under the command of the Swedish king, Gustav II Adolf. The opposing Imperial forces, under the command of General Wallenstein, make camp nearby with similar numbers. A deadly standoff ensues. The child of the first two books, Isabeau, is now 16 and living in Nuremberg with Katarina and Sebald Tucher. Can they escape the besieged city? How can they even make the decision to stay or go? This is the series climax.

For further reading, please stop by my blog: www.lauralibricz.com

About the Author:

Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.

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.

For more information, please visit Laura Libricz’s website and blog. You can also connect with her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+YouTubeInstagramPinterestLinkedIn, and Goodreads.

The Soldier's Return is on a blog tour!

GIVEAWAY!

During the Blog Tour we are giving away a set of The Master and the Maid and The Soldier’s Return to one lucky winner! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 16th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & UK residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Soldier's Return Blog Tour

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