The Trilogy –
Across the World
on the Wings of the
A family saga spanning three continents and five-hundred years.
All Three Books Together
Martin of Gfenn
Martin of Gfenn is the story of a young artist living in Zürich, Switzerland during the 13th century.
Martin of Gfenn is an award-winning work of historical fiction, the story of a young artist living in Zürich in the mid-thirteenth century. When he is nineteen, Martin contracts leprosy. He fights physical deterioration and social stigma to do what he believes he was meant to do – paint fresco. His short journey takes him from the streets of a swiftly growing Zürich to a to a small enclave of the Knights of Saint Lazarus, in the village of Gfenn.
I believe — and have been told by some of Martin of Gfenn’s readers — that people who enjoyed Ken Follett’s Pillars of the Earth will enjoy Martin of Gfenn.
Martin of Gfenn is an IndieBRAG Medallion honoree, named Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society Indie Reviews in 2015 , and was short-listed for the 2017 Chaucer Award by Chanticleer Reviews.
This novel is available in all online bookstores, available from Amazon as paperback and Kindle, You can also get one from contacting the author and at the Narrow Gauge Book Coop in Alamosa, CO.
Reviews of Martin of Gfenn
Historical Novel Society, Indie Review by Steve Donaghue, Editor’s Choice Award
In Martha Kennedy’s quiet, intensely moving novel Martin of Gfenn, the title character is given at a young age by his father to the Augustine Canons of St. Martin in thirteenth-century Zurich. The boy quickly demonstrates a talent for art, which the Augustinians encourage with formal training. At the threshold of his adult life, Martin contracts one of the scourges of the Middle Ages, leprosy (the disease is described with a rhetoric that borders on the poetic and a degree of detail that’s almost clinical), but he initially believes it will remain in remission. He achieves some public success as a painter in the following years, but eventually his symptoms return and accelerate; his life is derailed and he ends up at the Knights of St. Lazarus sanctuary in the village of Gfenn.
Kennedy invests this grim story with a great deal of pathos and a surprising amount of resigned optimism; her characters are richly textured, none more so than Martin himself, who gropes toward self-knowledge and a kind of acceptance even as his nightmarishly worsening physical condition makes it harder and harder for him to exercise his artistic talent. The research behind Martin of Gfenn, both sociological and biological, is evident, but the novel’s true genius lies in its insight into the fragile nature of hope itself. An outstanding work, highly recommended.
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