Brothers Path by Martha Kennedy: TourPublisher: Free Magic Show Productions (July 4, 2016)
Category: Historical Fiction
Tour Dates: Oct/Nov, 2016
Available in: Print & ebook,
By award winning author, Martha Kennedy. The world-shattering tumult of the Protestant Reformation enters the Schneebeli household when Rudolf Schneebeli is born two months early and dies a few minutes later without being baptized. Named for the well trodden track linking the Schneebeli farmhouse to the old Lunkhofen castle, The Brothers Path is set in a Swiss village near Zürich, between 1524 and 1531. It chronicles the lives of the six Schneebeli brothers, Heinrich, Hannes, Peter, Conrad, Thomann and Andreas. Each brother navigates his own path through, around or directly into the deadly drama of the Protestant reformation. Two hundred years after the events recounted in The Brothers’ Path, thousands of immigrants, mostly Mennonites and Amish, left Switzerland for America looking for safety and freedom they could not find at home. If the novel teaches a “lesson” it would be a reminder why immigrants to America were adamant about separating church and state.
Praise for Brothers Path by Martha Kennedy“A remarkable historical novel that follows the lives of a group of brothers in Reformation Switzerland as they struggle with their various beliefs while winning and losing family battles. I have read a previous book by this author, Martin of Gfenn, and am preparing to read her Savior. I am not usually a fan of histories, especially those dealing with crises of faith, but this author has found the secret of bringing these times and people alive. I enjoy her writing, and am humbled by learning what religion has wrought in this world for many times before our own.”-Amazon Reviewer
“I thoroughly enjoyed 'The Brothers Path'. Written about a pivotal time in our religious history, this was an interesting look at a large family who each had different opinions of the new Protestant thoughts presented to the population. Being a free thinker was quite new and families stretched as a result. This is a well written look at a very unique historical time in our history.”-R. Hueftle, Amazon Reviewer
“This beautifully and sensitively written book is the third of author Martha Kennedy's historical novels set near Zurich, Switzerland. The story, which takes place in the 1520s, chronicles the lives, loves, and passions of the six Schneebeli brothers, whose changing and differing religious beliefs clash as the Protestant Reformation, promoted in the Swiss cantons by Ulrich Zwingli, sweeps through their lives. The book begins with the premature birth of baby Rudolf Schneebeli into the Catholic Schneebeli family, and his death minutes later before he can be baptized. The fact that a beloved child must be buried, unbaptised, in unsanctified ground, begins the book and serves as a catalyst for remarkable changes within the family as some brothers are inspired to follow Zwingli's new religion while others hold their Catholicism dear. The issue reverberates throughout the book to the last sentence, highlighting the complexities in people's lives brought on by religious change. Kennedy not only provides a picture of what the Reformation must have been like on a personal level, but her rendering of what the daily life of the Schneebeli family was probably like rounded out a very satisfying read.”-SusannahReads, Amazon Reviewer
Excerpt 4/Martha Kennedy/The Brothers Path
Chapter 16, Andreas, January 1527
The long disputations had turned to exile, exile to incarceration. The incarceration had turned not to liberty, but to a street riot. Felix Manz had been taken from his cell in the Hexenturm, a prison in one of the towers on Zürich’s wall, to meet Zwingli, Jud and the magistrates one more time.
“Will you now forsake your foolishness and obey the law?” asked Zwingli.
“Whose law? The law of the City of Zürich? Or God’s law?” Manz asked. “When man’s law conflicts with God’s law, I follow God’s law. I will not renounce the true Christian baptism in good conscience and confessed faith, in union with God, the rightness of which you yourself have testified, Brother Zwingli. Children who have not yet come to understand the knowledge of good and evil, and have not eaten of the tree of knowledge, they are surely saved by the suffering of Christ unless it can be proved that Christ did not suffer for children. From Scripture we have concluded that infant baptism is a senseless, blasphemous abomination contrary to all Scripture. You have not disproved that yet, Brother Zwingli. Your response has only been to imprison and exile us. That is no argument. You will not silence me by putting me to death.”
Thomann whispered to Andreas, “Manz will be killed.”
“I am very sorry for you, Brother Felix,” said Zwingli as the guards pulled Manz forward and tied him up.
Manz was taken from the Rathaus. Crowds of Zürchers, those in support of Manz and his followers and those against him, surrounded Manz and his jailers, pressing against each other, shoving their way along the street beside the Limmat River.
Thomann saw Zwingli’s men going through the crowd, seeking information. Fear could turn the faithful faithless, and so it was happening this day, this moment. Many Brethren turned informers, pointing out their brothers and sisters, hoping from this to save their own lives. The dark extreme of faith’s ecstasy was dread’s misery. “What doth it booteth a man to gain his life but lose his soul?” in this desperate moment.
“Andreas, let’s get out of here,” said Thomann. “This...”
“Look around you! We will be trapped by those we thought were friends.” Thomann was grateful to be on the fringes of the crowd. He grabbed his brother’s arm. “Run, Andreas! RUN!”
Without thinking, Andreas ran, his feet slipping on the icy cobblestones.
“We must separate, brother. Meet me in the Ketzistürli.”
Each turned into a different narrow lane, both aiming for the gate on the other side of the river, the gate that led left to The Brothers and to their home.
Away from the Grossmünster, the streets were nearly empty. Behind them, now far away, the people of Zürich stood beside the river and yelled, “Baptize him!” forcing Zürich to write history in the river with Felix Manz’ life.
Andreas and Thomann reached the gate at the same time, much to Thomann's relief. “Come, brother,” his breath white in the January air. “Zürich is no place to wait.”
“I am not coming with you. My place is here, with the others. If I run, I have no faith. I am no better than the informers in the crowd.”
“What? It is nothing like informing to get away, to save our lives, to preserve the Good News. What good are you dead or locked up in the Hexenturm? How will the truth endure if all who know it are silenced?”
“There’s something in that. But how do you know you are not just saving your hide under a pretty rationale?”
“I will not even answer that, Andreas. Come. Katarina will be waiting for you, worried for you.”
Andreas shook his head. “I must go back, Thomann. It is in my soul, my conscience, to join them and take whatever comes to them, to stand up for the truth.”
“Andreas, you’re about to be a father!”
With all his heart Andreas wanted to cry out, “It is not my child!” but he kept his peace. Only he knew what had happened and how that child had come to be. Katrina’s single flash of spurious passion when she had returned suddenly from her father’s house did not convince Andreas of anything other than her selfishness.
“I will see you later, brother,” said Andreas, taking Thomann in his arms and then pushing him away to look at him. “I will see you at home.” Andreas turned and ran, the nails in his hard boots scraping the icy stones. Thomann listened as his brother’s footfalls were muffled by distance, then turned. Searching his heart and his conscience, he found nothing, no message from God urging him to return with Andreas. Tears streamed down his face. Snow crunched beneath his boots as he trod along The Brothers, knowing he would never see Andreas again.
Andreas ran back across the river, down the street, and pushed his way through the crowd in time to see Manz in a boat in the middle of the river. A long stick was placed between Manz’ hands and legs all tied together, as farmers might carry a pig to market. Brethren stood on the shore, arms wrapped round each other, “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me…” Even as they prayed, magistrates eyed them, waiting to gather them together and take them to the Hexenturm. Before Manz was shoved off the boat, he prayed, “Into your hands, God, I commend my spirit!” When Manz’ head disappeared beneath the surface of the Limmat, Zwingli called to the crowd, “Who seeks baptism with Felix Manz?” A few of the Brethren in Christ stepped forward, Andreas among them.About Martha Kennedy
Award winning author, Martha Kennedy has published three works of historical fiction. Her first novel, Martin of Gfenn, which tells the story of a young fresco painter living in 13th century Zürich, was awarded the Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society Indie Review and the BRAG Medallion from IndieBRAG in 2015. Her second novel, Savior, also an BRAG Medallion Honoree (2016), tells the story of a young man in the 13th century who fights depression by going on Crusade. Her newest novel, The Brothers Path, a loose sequel to Savior, looks at the same family three hundred years later as they find their way through the Protestant Reformation. Kennedy has also published many short-stories and articles in a variety of publications from the Denver Post to the Business Communications Quarterly. Kennedy was born in Denver, Colorado and earned her undergraduate degree in American Literature from University of Colorado, Boulder and her graduate degree in American Literature from the University of Denver. She has taught college and university writing at all levels, business communication, literature and English as a Second Language. For many years she lived in the San Diego area, most recently in Descanso, a small town in the Cuyamaca Mountains. She has recently returned to Colorado to live in Monte Vista in the San Luis Valley.
To learn more about Kennedy's award-winning novels, Martin of Gfenn and Savior, check out her Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/martha_ann_kennedy
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