Above the Walls


Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
473 Pages
Reviewed on 02/09/2019
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Author Biography

As an Emmy-winning radio and TV broadcaster for football, baseball and basketball, Steve Physioc has been telling stories for 40 years. After a trip to Italy with his wife, Stace, he was inspired to tell a different kind of story — his novels, The Walls of Lucca and Above the Walls. He and Stace live in Kansas City and love to visit and spend time with their children, Ryan and Kevin, and three grandchildren.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Above The Walls is a dramatic work of historical fiction penned by author Steve Physioc, and is the sequel to the novel The Walls Of Lucca. Following a secret affair that preceded the events of the Second World War, the fascist politician Alfredo Obizzi is now developing his powers in 1938, ready for the shift that is yet to come. Obizzi is embittered by his experience at the Martellino vineyard, and ready to exact revenge on the family dynasty which own it. Meanwhile, the young generation of the families there are discovering new things for themselves, as childhood friends DeAngelo and Lily grow into a war-torn world that encourages them to cling together.

Having read The Walls Of Lucca last year, it was a delight to step back into the Martellino vineyard and to author Steve Physioc’s unique blend of romantic drama and harrowingly austere pre-war conditions. The research into the lives of 1930s Italian people is stellar, bringing to life both the intricate processes of vineyard living and the wider arc of political oppression in the growing climate of fascism. DeAngelo and Lily are innocents in a world they didn’t ask for, and their tender story plays out well alongside matriarch Susanna’s more complex and dark affair with Obizzi. Viciously drawn but without resorting to cartoons or stereotypes, Obizzi is a powerful villain who makes a chilling impact on the plot overall, and that’s before the real war draws in. Above The Walls will appeal to all readers looking for realistic and emotive historical drama.

Divine Zape

Above the Walls, the sequel to The Walls of Lucca, by Steve Physioc is a beautiful blend of romance and historical events against the backdrop of an Italy ravaged by war. Alfredo Obizzi is a fascist politician and a very dangerous man, the kind not to cross. While WWII looms ahead, he sees an opportunity to exact revenge on those who have crossed him in the past and at the top of the list is the matriarch of the Martellino vineyard, Susanna Martellino, with whom he has had an affair. The vineyard is about to witness the most painful bloodshed in its history but can anything stop the ire of the fascist Obizzi and his desire for revenge?

Above the Walls begins with the conflict and the reader gets a clear idea of the political setting and Hitler's agenda. The reader is introduced to the theme of racial discrimination which is at the very heart of the Holocaust. The writing is powerful and I enjoyed the way the author navigates the bonds of family and explores relationships. The subplot is used to create suspense, exploring the relationship between DeAngelo and Lily who have been best friends for a long time. Readers will want to know what happens to their relationship. Author Steve Physioc gives the narrative deep psychological and emotional depths, plunging readers into the very hearts of the characters. Above the Walls is a skillfully written novel with an irresistible appeal to fans of historical novels with strong political themes.

Romuald Dzemo

Above the Walls: The Sequel to The Walls of Lucca by Steve Physioc is a historical novel with a compelling setting against the backdrop of Italy during WWII. A fascist politician, Alfredo Obizzi, has finally found a means to exact revenge on his enemies and those at the top of the list are Susanna Martellino, who runs the Martellino vineyard and who had an affair with him in the past, and Isabella who has provided continual counsel and played a very important part in the running of the vineyard. Coupled with the atrocities of the war, the vineyard witnesses much bloodshed. Can there be any place for forgiveness?

I loved the drama and the way the author explores the characters. Alfredo Obizzi is a well-developed character, a man consumed by the desire for revenge and who happens to have a lot of power in his hands. The reader is intrigued and becomes keen on watching this villain and what he is up to. Steve Physioc introduces the theme of romance, exploring the relationship between DeAngelo and Lily, and this beefs up the plot, creating suspense and an additional level of entertainment.

Relevant references are made to the historical elements like Hitler and his plan to exterminate the Jews. The political atmosphere is beautifully captured in this narrative, and readers find themselves navigating a world that is threatened by war. The writing in Above the Walls is excellent, punctuated by realistic dialogues. I also loved the way the author explores life in the vineyard. This is a great historical novel, a tale filled with history and appealing characters. The author creates characters who reflect the ideologies and the culture of the period and place in which the story takes place. Great plot points, strong conflict, and enough drama to keep the pages turning.