Hope of Ages Past
An Epic Novel of Enduring Faith, Love, and the Thirty Years War

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AD 1618 — Post-Reformation Central Europe is on the verge of a cataclysmic new religious conflict—the Thirty Years War—that will ultimately lead to the deaths of eight million and the dramatic alteration of European civilization.

When Peter Erhart, a young German Lutheran, comes to the aid of a frightened Catholic boy named Hans Mannheim on the day of the war’s outbreak in Prague, he embarks on a life journey that will severely test his courage, humanity, and faith. A decade later, Peter, now married and pastoring in Magdeburg, Germany, sees this test begin in earnest when powerful rivals threaten his career and the war engulfs the city.

As the Catholic imperial army approaches, Peter encounters Anna Ritter, a peasant girl of uncommon beauty and wit who has secretly adored him for years. Each must fight bravely for survival of their families and friends when local villains invade countryside cottages and the army, led by an awe-inspiring Black Knight, besieges the city.

“Peter stood with his pistol in one hand and a small Bible in the other, barely able to make out the Black Knight staring at him through the swirling smoke. Appearing to nod in recognition, the knight closed his helmet visor, wheeled his horse around, and began to approach, slowly at first, then picking up speed to a full-out charge. Peter froze, unable to lift his pistol. The Black Knight kept coming, his saber raised. Peter could do nothing but stand and accept whatever the dark, mighty warrior wished to dole out. Only three feet away, the knight’s horse halted and reared . . .”

 

At the pinnacle of their trial, unthinkable tragedy unites Peter and Anna and links their fates with Hans, now a grown man with a reputation to prove. Will faith and forgiveness prevail over despair and death when the three face together their ultimate test in the siege’s horrific aftermath? 

Recalling one of the last times and places in history when religion and state were inseparable, where warrior kings and ambitious nobles personally led their armies in battle, and fully armored knights fought to preserve the honor of their dying tradition, Hope of Ages Past captures the reality of 17th Century religious war in a compelling story of faith and love—a story that, once begun, will be hard for the reader to put down.

 

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“Gardner gives us historical authenticity rich with detail, empathetic and complex characters, and an uplifting theme of compassion that imbues this story with deep humanity.”

           —Barbara Kyle, author of The Traitor’s Daughter


Eye for Glory
A Novel of the American Civil War

 
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Coming Fall 2019

David, Catherine, and Emma Hodge, raised on a wealthy South Carolina plantation, become split apart by strong family and political dynamics at the civil war’s outbreak in Charleston.  David, unlike his younger cousins a born-again evangelical with anti-slavery sentiments acquired during his studies at a northern university, chooses the unthinkable—opting to leave the family and fight for the Union army under the command of Abel Bowman, an ardent disciple of the famous abolitionist John Brown.  Emma, meanwhile, falls into a relationship with one of the plantation slave-boys. Ostracized by her parents and sister, she flees North with a secret girlfriend.  Catherine, a staunch Confederate, remains in the South, eventually moving to Georgia and tending wounded Union solders at the notorious Andersenville prison camp in Georgia. Each sibling is wracked by strong feelings of betrayal by the others, and struggles not to let those feelings destroy their happier childhood memories and strong bonds of family love and faith.  When they are finally reunited through an amazing sequence of frightful events at war’s end, will their old prejudices and fears prevent survival and reconciliation, or will something else—totally unexpected—intervene to help? To find out, stay tuned for the release of Eye for Glory in fall 2019!