This first book of this four-part series not only passed the 100 page litmus test for engaging my interest but had me from the very first chapter. Walter Soellner has nicely captured the social and geographical history of the pre-WWI era. In it, he delivers an historically accurate and exciting vision of what it must have been like for two young Bavarian friends of the time embarking on a grand adventure. This is a page-turner never tempted to linger too long in any one spot, It sweeps the reader along from the Forbidden City of Peking to the far-flung ports of call across a globe still considered vast and filled with exotic possibilities. The characters, their loves and losses reminded me of how big the world seems and how limitless its possibilities are in the minds of the young. If you enjoy well grounded historical fiction and colorful characters, Kalvarianhof is a good romp. I can't wait for the next installment!
Deborah Hudson, HP Archivist, and award winning Published Historian
If you like adventure stories featuring life-long buddies, this is a good one. It grabs you on the first page when you find them fighting for their lives in the outbreak of the Boxer Rebellion outside the Forbidden City. World-changing events swirl around them as they escape China on a gun-boat bound for Germany via world-wide, strategically-placed German colonies. That's just a start, as this saga continues for many years. Real history, told from the perspective of a European narrator, oozes from every page as it surrounds these very likeable guys and their adventures.
Julie Jacobs, Director of Juvenile Reading Programs, Santa Clara C.
I couldn't wait to turn the next page. It held my interest to the very end. Viewing pre-WWI Europe through the eyes of the two major characters-- a Jew and a Christian-- is a unique approach.
Dr. Kenneth Reid, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatric Social Work, published author of three books
"KALVARIANHOF, The Perilous Journey" introduces a new voice into the field of historical fiction. With a background in the fine arts, Walter Soellner is able to let his voice flow onto the pages, as if from the artist's brush, to create this most colourful tale. The reader is quickly involved in the lives of two friends, one being a Christian and the other a Jew, coming from different cultures and living at the turn of the Nineteenth Century. Filled with intrigue, the perils of war and an historical view of that era, the author uses his voice to depict the bravery,courage and struggle to fulfill one's goals and stay true to one's principles. Very enjoyable reading with a good grasp of the history of that era!!
Gilda N. Forrester, Educational Consultant, American Musical Theater