As the Thirty Years War rages across central Europe, the Protestant denizens of Magdeburg
are holding out against the armies of the Catholic Emperor Ferdinand.
Sweeping in its scope and ambition, Heather Richardson's debut novel tells the intertwining
and conflicting stories of the Henning family, their friends, their associates and their
Whilst the family printing business is prospering, Christa Henning is troubled. Her
brother Dieter is more restless than usual and her friend Gertrude has been rushed into
a loveless marriage. She also has the care of her strange little sister, Elsbeth.
As the endless war of religion tightens its grip remorselessly around the city, old
loyalties and old certainties are placed into question and, following the sacking of
the town, Christa finds her life shattered beyond recognition. From the chaos and deadly
enmity of sectarian strife, she slowly rebuilds a life in the city she loves.
Vibrant and convincingly told, Magdeburg is a gripping novel striking its contemporary
resonances and its ability to portray complex truths about belief, family, belonging and
Heather Richardson was born in Northern Ireland in 1964. She moved to England when she was eighteen, and after university worked in a range of jobs, from bus driver in Leicester to marketing executive at a private hospital in Harley Street. In 1993 she finally went home to Belfast. Her short fiction and poetry have been published in magazines and anthologies in the UK and Ireland. She teaches creative writing for the Open University.