Today I am pleased to announce the publication of Christoph Fischer‘s book, The Black Eagle Inn, the third book in his Three Nations Trilogy. I reviewed the first book in the series, The Luck of the Weissensteiners, earlier this year. I’m currently reading the second book, Sebastian and plan to review it soon. He writes historical novels and provides a perspective unique to me and what I was taught in my history classes in the United States. I love stepping out of the box and discovering how other nations, religions, cultures, and individuals viewed the two World Wars of the Twentieth Century. His books provide a history lesson, but before the dip into simply a world history textbook, he adds the characters who lived through those wars.
Watch for another interview with Christoph on Author Wednesday, October 30.
Here’s what Christoph Fischer has to say about his new release, The Black Eagle Inn.
Why I wrote The Black Eagle Inn
Early feedback to my third book in the Three Nations Trilogy stated that it would probably be of most interest for people with a German heritage. As author I had to ask myself: Could this novel hold relevance and interest for other people and non-German readers? The answer is yes.
I was born in Germany twenty-five years after the end of the war. Our history lessons at school ended with the year 1945. One of the most urgent and important questions remained unanswered for me: How did a country with so much shame and horror in its past recover and move forward? How could it? I don’t think anything can ever make up for what has happened, and nobody can forgive or atone for the collective guilt. But can the new generation ever deservedly rid itself of the stigma the previous generation has brought to the country?
Apart from the actual family story in my book, I hope a great point of interest will be the way different characters carry on with their life and develop their philosophies, outlooks, and politics. De-nazification, restructuring of a political landscape, and implementation of new state leaders are issues the book touches upon. Only ten years after the end of the war, a wave of Italian and Turkish Immigrants filled the hole in the German employment market, but how did the nation respond to those foreigners (named Gastarbeiter)? Ten years after that, a new right wing party formed and threatened to tip the political balance and bring new shame to the nation.
The sixties brought the Bader Meinhoff Complex, student revolts, and many family conflicts instigated by the generation born after World War II. Many of them were disillusioned with politics and turned violent. It took a new generation of politicians to instigate a modernization of German society.
The year of my birth, Chancellor Willy Brand famously fell on his knees in Warsaw, humbly honouring a monument for the victims of Warsaw Uprising, an important symbolic gesture after previous governments tried too hastily to move on from the dark past. My book, The Black Eagle Inn, covers a lot of ground about post war Germany and should be interesting for those whose knowledge of Germany also ends with 1945. We know about the Nuremberg Trials and the Nazis on the run in South America, but what about the little man, guilty or not? What does he do with this broken country?
I grew up with the first generation of children of mixed marriages and Gastarbeiter families, and I experienced them being treated badly by some but also very welcoming by others. I grew up in times of a United Europe, exchange students, and pop music from Italy, France, Britain, and America. For me, other nations and cultures were never anything but an exciting cultural enrichment, and I adored the people in my generation who had a similar vision and worked hard to make such a mentality part of a modern Germany.
Of the three books in the Three Nations Trilogy, The Black Eagle Inn is the one that is closest to my own life experience, although I was born around the time the story ends. While all three books deal with family sagas vaguely similar to some of my ancestors, this story takes place in an environment and times that I know almost first hand. Yet, there were an awful lot of facts that I only learned about while researching the foundations for the book. I hope it helps to understand more about the path of the German people from its past to the current state.
The book is by no means a glorification of the German nation. As much as I love my place of origin I am happy where I live now. By having written a somewhat political book about post-war Germany, I hope to paint a more balanced and more complex picture about its past and its people. Like every country in the world Germany should remain a work in progress of continuous development and improvement.
Christoph’s Background: Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers, he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years, he moved on to the UK where he is still a resident today. The Luck of The Weissensteiners was published in November 2012; Sebastian in May 2013. The final book in the Three Nations Trilogy, The Black Eagle Inn was published in October 2013. He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalization.