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New novel “The Sower of Black Field” by Katherine Koch is released, a work of historical fiction based on the true story of an American missionary’s harrowing experience in Nazi Germany

New novel "The Sower of Black Field" by Katherine Koch is released, a work of historical fiction based on the true story of an American missionary’s harrowing experience in Nazi Germany
“A compelling exploration of faith and resistance in the face of oppression.” - Kirkus Reviews

“The Sower of Black Field: Inspired by the True Story of an American in Nazi Germany” by Katherine Koch has been released worldwide. This 340-page historical fiction novel tells the fascinating true story of Father Viktor Koch, C.P., a missionary sent to establish a new branch of his religious order, the Passionists, in his ancestral homeland. Gaining citizenship in the Reich through unique circumstances, he weathers the war years in the Bavarian town of Schwarzenfeld. His ministry and American ideals change the local culture in profound ways.

When American liberators arrive in April 1945, they discover the remains of an SS atrocity on the town’s borders and assume that the population is responsible. The commander issues a devastating ultimatum: give 140 victims a proper burial within 24 hours or face execution for their murder. Fr. Viktor finds himself in the inconceivable position of defending his flock from his own countrymen, just as all sides are coming to terms with the crimes of the Nazi regime. He orchestrates the Herculean effort that saves the town without a bullet fired - and the only weapon he has is his faith.

This brilliant, deeply researched novel draws from numerous historical sources to tell the complex story of Fr. Koch, shining a light on not only this fascinating series of events, but also on the nuances, tragedies, and conflicting interests of life during wartime. While some scenes of the story are fictionalized, the author spent two decades gathering source material, including visits to the Passionist Historical Archives, the National Archives in Washington, D.C., and a trip to Schwarzenfeld to gather firsthand accounts from people who lived through the experience. 

Exploring the inner turmoil of a man caught between cultures, the tension of trying to save the villagers from American retribution, the difficulty of living a hopeful life under the Third Reich, and the faith that kept Fr. Koch going, the novel adds depth and context to a remarkable piece of WWII history. The story masterfully balances the personal lives of the characters with broader details about the region, the time period, and the war happening all around the people of Schwarzenfeld.

The book’s protagonist, Fr. Viktor Koch, is a distant relative of the author’s, and this familial connection is clear in the careful, patient handling of his life story. Inside this compelling narrative, readers will find triumph, tragedy, and an intimate look at the power of faith in handling conflict, and come away with an expanded understanding of not only World War II history, but of universal humanity as well.

The Sower of Black Field (ISBN: 9781961532533) can be purchased through retailers worldwide, including Barnes and Noble and Amazon. The paperback retails for $19.99, and the ebook retails for $5.99. Review copies and interviews are available upon request.

From the back cover:

Throughout the Third Reich, millions of Germans pledged allegiance to Adolf Hitler. In the Bavarian village of Schwarzenfeld, they followed an American citizen.

As he struggles to rekindle the faith of a guilt-ridden Wehrmacht veteran, a morose widow, and her grieving teenage son, Fr. Viktor Koch, C.P. is haunted by self-doubt. What is driving him to stay in the Third Reich? Is he following a higher plan, or the mystic compulsion of his German heritage? Exposed to American ideals, his parishioners grow restless under Nazi rule. Relying upon his ingenuity to keep them out of prison, Fr. Viktor solicits aid from an unlikely intercessor – the Nazi charity worker who confiscated his monastery for state purposes.

In April 1945, American liberators make a gruesome discovery: the SS have left a mass grave of concentration camp victims on Schwarzenfeld’s borders. Enraged by the sight, the infantry commander orders the townspeople to disinter 140 corpses, construct coffins despite material shortages, and hold a funeral ceremony – all in 24 hours. If they fail to fulfill this ultimatum, he vows to execute all German men in town.

Fr. Viktor has to pull off a miracle: he must convince his countrymen that his followers are not the enemy. Their humanity is intact. And most of all, they are innocent. 

About the author:

Katherine Koch is a Renaissance woman from San Antonio, Texas. By day, she is a marketing specialist, web developer, and graphic designer. By night, she is a historian and writer. She is captivated by stories of Passionist missionaries in her family, all of whom have a particular knack for tumbling into harm’s way during history’s most fascinating time periods. 

About MindStir Media:

MindStir Media LLC is an award-winning book publisher. To learn more about publishing a book with MindStir Media, visit or call 800-767-0531.

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