Didn’t We Just Write This?

Daily Prompt Coming To a Bookshelf Near You Write a summary of the book you’ve always wanted to write for the back cover of its dust jacket.

Yes we did. On April 25, barely a week ago. If you’d like to read that one, here it is.

SO…since I’m engaged at the moment in all that kind of stuff for the Schneebelis, here’s the synopsis for that books. A point: I’ve discovered that there is a lot of debate about what a synopsis is. To resolve that debate, here’s what I’ve determined after reading all kinds of very strong opinions on this topic. Some are for the jacket of a book and they’re supposed to create interest and suspense. Some are supposed to summarize the story for someone who wants to know the whole tale before they decide to ask for a manuscript. I have written the second kind because I’m a lot closer to submitting a manuscript to someone than I am to a book jacket.


THE BROTHERS PATH is a work of historical fiction set near Zürich, Switzerland, between 1524 and 1532, during the religious upheaval and political power struggles we know as the Protestant Reformation. It is 68,000 words.

Religious dissent comes from all directions in 16th century Zürich. THE BROTHERS PATH looks at the real-life changes the Protestant Reformation brings to one Swiss family. It chronicles the experiences of the six Snow brothers, Heinrich, Hannes, Peter, Conrad, Thomann and Andreas, from Apple Tree Village in the southeastern corner of Canton Zürich. Each brother navigates his own path through, around or directly into the dramatic changes. As family members interact, beliefs and convictions come into conflict beginning in the first chapter when the question of infant baptism starts a family argument.

Through the next eight tumultuous and bloody years, Heinrich, the oldest brother, keeps the mill running and fears for the future of his brothers and his children. Hannes, the second son, given by his parents to the church when he was a child, falls in love and leaves the church so he can marry; Peter, the third son, trades the gorgeous trappings of military leadership for the robes of a Dominican; Conrad, the fourth son, finds he cannot ignore the violent changes all around him when all he holds dear is taken from him; Thomann, the fifth brother, an Anabaptist, is forced to flee Switzerland for sanctuary in Strasbourg, and Andreas, the youngest, is disappointed in love with disastrous results. The novel climaxes on October 11, 1531, when Hannes is killed at the Second War of Kappel, a brief, ill-fated war between Zürich’s army of 2000 men and the forces of the Inner (Catholic) cantons aided by their Habsburg allies totaling 7000 troops. The battle is also the climax of historical events in the Zürich Reformation as the leader, Huldrych Zwingli, is killed on that day. After the war, life returns to normal for the surviving brothers.

The plot of THE BROTHERS PATH is determined by historical events and includes some of the principal actors in the religious revolution, including Huldrych Zwingli, Leo Jud, Felix Manz and Pilgram Marpeck. The novel centers on the clashes between the Catholics, Evangelicals and Anabaptists as new visions of the relation of God to man transform Europe.

Themes in THE BROTHERS PATH include family relationships, romantic love, faith and despair. Two hundred years after the events recounted in THE BROTHERS PATH, many thousands of immigrants left Switzerland and the upper Rhine region and came to America looking for safety and freedom they had not been able to find at home. If the novel teaches a “lesson” it would be a reminder why immigrants to America were so adamant about separating church and state.


5 thoughts on “Didn’t We Just Write This?

  1. I read on another contribution about writing it a week ago, but I really don’t remember. It seems I had never written anything for this one that first of all arrived in 2012, but perhaps I am mistaken. Anyhow with my wild imagination I did something else I suppose. I think you know more about the origins of the Swiss religion that Mr. Swiss or I do. We were a bloodthirsty lot weren’t we.

  2. I’m impressed at the complexity of your story. Just keeping track of the characters in time and space is a massive project.

    I wish a few more people remembered why this country exists, why the freedoms they so casually toss away are the only things worth fighting for. But hey, I’m old and apparently don’t understand what’s important.

    • I had to make a chart on a big piece of paper to keep track of them, but once I had that, it wasn’t so difficult to keep them moving through time together. I dunno; whenever I think we’re worse than we used to be I think of Joe McCarthy and all that… Ignorance is timeless.

      • Anne Golon used a big map of the world and color-coded push pins to make sure the same character didn’t show up in two cities at the same time. There ought to be an app for that, Probably there is, if you are into apps which I am not.

        Just because Tail-gunner Joe is dead and gone doesn’t mean we can’t and won’t resurrect his clone. Ignorance IS timeless and meanness has never lost its currency.

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