This is a tale of two men who raised themselves above the narrow conventions of their times, one a great king, the other a simple Frankish warrior who taught himself to read. The king was Karl der Grosse, later to be known as Charlemagne. War was what sustained the High King Karl. He remained mighty and glorified as long as he could win victories, fighting and ruling largely like his pagan enemies. Gradually he began to change, moved by uncommon men around him who were able to show him a different way. It was his genius to recognize them.
One of those men was Sebastian, the bastard child of Ermengard, the wife of a famous count at Charlemagne’s court, and Attalus, a renowned but landless “Horse Master,” or constable. Sebastian was raised in relative isolation on the wild Saxon border by a lucky combination of enlightened people: his imperious mother, a blind sage, and a pair of very unorthodox clergymen, all of whom taught him to seek his own way and be strong enough to bear the consequences.
Sebastian succeeds in becoming a skilled and formidable fighter, but Heimdal, the blind man, and the two counter-cultural priests inspire him to become a scholar as well, a status avoided by most of Charlemagne’s rough-edged warriors.
Sebastian’s determination and unconventional character win him the king’s love, but an ingrained sense of integrity leads him to oppose Charlemagne’s brutal methods of vengeance against his enemies the Saxons. Standing on the perilous edge of treason, Sebastian’s fate is further imperiled by his brutish cousin Konrad, whose hatred threatens to destroy Sebastian and his family.
The story’s young hero is not immune to the attractions and temptations of the fairer sex. At the court of the king, he is stunned and enchanted in turn by the bold charms of the voluptuous Adelaide and the cool beauty of the regal Adela. Later, he succumbs to the allure and availability of a village girl, Gersvind, with tragic consequences.
The story follows closely the chronicle of Charlemagne’s 30-year war against his foes, the pagan Saxons, led by Widukind, Prince of the Saxons, a wily blond giant of legendary fame and ferocity. This fast-paced adventure story brings to life Charlemagne’s realm at a time when the vicious Christian-pagan wars of the 8th century would decide the fate of Europe. Full of action and romance, it is a realistic and colorful recreation of the world of Europe’s greatest medieval monarch.
Sebastian’s Way, Book I of The Sebastian Chronicles, tells the tale of a young man who sought to be different in a world in which being right when those in authority are wrong could be dangerous as well as ruinous. It is the story of two men, Charlemagne, “The Thunderer”, who fights and rules like the pagan enemies he seeks to conquer, and a young warrior who challenges the king to forge a new path to peace. Though action and adventure abound, it is a colorful medieval stew, rich with the authentic stock of the times: savage warriors, salty peasants, courageous, ground-breaking clergy, and plenty of memorable maidens for those who like a good romance.
The Paladin, Book II of The Sebastian Chronicles, takes the hero far afield from the Court of Charlemagne and its Rhineland background. Through his courage on the battlefield, original ideas, and steadfast service to the king Sebastian has been given the honor of becoming one of Charlemagne’s twelve paladins, men who hold the king’s absolute trust and are thus asked to undertake the hardest and most dangerous missions for the realm.
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 also high. He loses his wife and family and is submerged into a world of intrigue and violence. Eventually he is asked by the king to undertake a long and arduous trip to three preeminent capitals of the 9th century medieval world: Constantinople, Jerusalem and Baghdad. In each city he faces highly complicated tasks with only a slender chance of success.
Becoming a paladin and pursuing the complex and dangerous business of one of the most powerful rulers of the day changes Sebastian from the young man of faith and character he once was into a hard-bitten warrior in a violent world whose losses and trials lead him to fear for the loss of his soul. Thus the latter part of the book also becomes a parable of the ruin and redemption of a professional soldier.
A native of Louisiana, George Steger followed a Deep South tradition and entered the Army after graduation from college. His service began in the famed 101st Airborne Division and eventually included battalion command in Vietnam and four European tours as an intelligence officer and Russian foreign area specialist, working on both sides of the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
After retirement, Colonel Steger traded sword for plowshare in a second career as Professor of History and International Affairs at the University of Saint Mary in Leavenworth, Kansas. He is now Professor Emeritus at Saint Mary and engaged in a third career as a writer. He is the author of The Sebastian Chronicles, a three-volume series of historical novels set in the 8th and 9th centuries during the reign of Charlemagne. Two books in the series are published: Sebastian’s Way: The Pathfinder, and Sebastian’s Way: The Paladin. The third volume, Sebastian’s Way: The Torchbearer is in the works, and a prequel, The Horse Master, is planned.
All of the novels are tales of adventure, duty, honor, and love in what is generally regarded as Europe’s so-called "Dark Ages". The author is at pains however to depict accurately life in the Early Middle Ages and demonstrate how much was accomplished during those seminal times to prepare the ground for Europe’s later global preeminence. The stories came from Steger’s experiences in both war and peace--from fourteen years in Germany and Eastern Europe, and from his love of teaching medieval and other European history courses at the university.
After a long and happy marriage to his college sweetheart, George lost his beloved wife Mary Jo to breast cancer. He remains very close to their five grown and gifted children and now lives and writes from his home in rural Kansas.
"We are proud to announce that, SEBASTIAN'S WAY: THE PATHFINDER by George Steger is a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree. This tells a reader that this book is well worth their time and money!"
"As a lover of historical novels I found George Steger’s "Sebastian’s Way" fascinating and literally was kidnapped by his well-written and intriguing story. I give it five stars because of how I was quickly and completely caught up in his dynamically flowing story of a young idealist in the time of Charlemagne. This is a story of fierce forest battles with pagan warriors, of young passionate love and Sebastian’s fidelity to his Liege Charlemagne, of heartbreaking defeat and hope rekindled.
As with every good story I didn’t want it to end, but looking again at the front cover I read under the title, “The Sebastian Chronicles: Book One.” Now with the gift of anticipation I eagerly await returning to the tale of this absorbing character, Sebastian, in Steger’s sweeping saga."
"The violent 8th-century world of Charlemagne is brought vividly to life in the first volume of George Steger’s “Sebastian Chronicles,” which star a young warrior named Sebastian from the far distant Saxon border. Sebastian encounters the many conflicting elements of the king’s court and army with an inquiring mind (his striving after philosophical knowledge at least outweighs his martial training, and that aspect of his world is very well portrayed).
The young man’s rise at court attracts him both friends and enemies (the enemies better-drawn than the friends, as is a pattern in the book and not an unpleasant one), and the narrative is constructed with such ease and style that readers will feel not only as though they know Sebastian well, but also as though they have spent time in the Middle Ages. If subsequent volumes in the series are this good, they are to be eagerly anticipated.