The complete trilogy of A Song for Else available at a discounted price: $65 (pbk) $85 (hc)
A Song for Else is a trilogy set in the first half of 16th century in Germany—the period of the German Reformation. It is a story of one man’s love—love for a woman and love for God—as they contend with self-love in the heart of the protagonist, Lorenz List. The first volume, The Vow, follows Lorenz List as he rises, by the patronage of wealth, from peasant obscurity to become a young man of promise in the great city of Nürnberg. In Nürnberg Lorenz begins to move among an urbane and cultivated class of people far superior (he thinks) to the peasant folk from which he came. And there he finds an unexpected love (his Else) that could prove the ruin of all his hopes.
In the second volume, The Overthrow, Lorenz List seeks for a peace that eludes him—peace for a troubled conscience and an unfulfilled longing. In Frater Martin, a scholar of the small, insignificant university of Wittenberg in Saxony, Lorenz finds a mentor with a strange new teaching that speaks peace to him—or does it? For Lorenz soon discovers that this same teaching unsheathes a sword that strikes at the peace of the Church, state, and his own soul. The bloody Peasants' War of 1525 is the setting for Lorenz’s own interior struggle between his sense of duty and his love for Else. Will Lorenz find the peace and happiness that have so long eluded him?
The third volume, The Sundering, carries the story through the “middle age” of Luther’s reform, its institutionalization, and its contention with the newer and more radical revolutions that are its spawn. The heroism that marked the Reformation’s earlier period has been gentled. Luther’s once radical doctrine has been subordinated to the politics and passions of princes. Its old fervor, taken up by the new sects, is easily agitated into fanaticism. Through this world Lorenz and Else move in their own private quest for a joy that is almost in their grasp but ever elusive.
Review by Christopher Villiers, poet: Book Review: “A Song for Else” Trilogy by Christopher Zehnder – The Rhymester's Revels
Purchase individual volumes below:
Volume 1 | The Vow | 358 pages | $23.95 USD
Volume 2 | The Overthrow | 518 pages | $25.95 USD
Volume 3 | The Sundering | 560 pages | $26.95 USD
Total pages: 1436
A Song for Else is a splendid love story, a coming-of-age novel, and an intimate account of the Protestant Reformation in Germany from the inside. Zehnder deftly juxtaposes historical fact and fictional characters in the opening volume of his trilogy. — Mark Adderley, author of the McCracken Adventure Books and the Matter of Britain series
As Sigrid Undset’s historical novels transport the reader to medieval Norway, Zehnder’s A Song for Else plants one in a Germany on the cusp of reformation. This is historical fiction of the best sort: the kind that not only brings you into the past but allows you to experience the past as the characters would have. The past is not a desiccated stage for action, but a living environment, one we are drawn into through the hopes, fears, and challenges of the characters themselves. —Fr. Raymund Snyder, O.P.
Like The Betrothed, A Song for Else is intimately personal and yet an epic of Christendom. Zehnder's powerful style and vivid imagination bring the reader to root for the nobility and weep over the baseness of an earnest young man's passions, while discovering through youthful eyes the spiritual core and memorable characters that made medieval Germany center stage for one the greatest revolutions in history. —Andrew T. Seeley, Ph.D, Tutor, Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula, California