The Historical Fiction Company’s 2021 Book of the Year – The moving story of two young heart surgeons determined to save children’s lives.
“I am as full of sorrows as the sea of sands,” he told Venna. “And the only thing which would help is a time machine or finding a wrinkle in time so I could stop the first domino from falling and knocking the stars that govern us into the wrong constellations.”
A gifted young surgeon. One of the twentieth century’s boldest inventions. And the unconquerable, fragile, and amazing human heart.
As one of two dozen teams worldwide performing congenital heart surgeries in the middle 1950s, Alec Serafeim and his best friend, Pete O’Neill, excel in an unforgiving field where the line between life and death is eyelash thin. But while Pete is satisfied with all they have accomplished, Alec aches to do more. Desperate to save more children, he is also determined to be remembered for something other than his mental breakdown ten years earlier.
Alec’s opportunity arrives via a chance to join the race to perform Australia’s first open-heart surgery using total cardiopulmonary bypass. Swept up in the competition, with a heart-lung machine cobbled together in the hospital basement, Alec charges ahead with surgery on a gravely ill child despite Pete’s objections.
But the heart, for all its strength, is a fragile organ. And when events conspire to shatter Alec’s heart, he is left stumbling in darkness. With sick children’s lives hanging in the balance, as well as his future as a surgeon, Alec must find his way back to the light and learn to cope with his fallibility—if he hopes to finish what he started.
“The main/viewpoint character, Alec Serafeim, is sort of a mixture of Maverick from TOP GUN, Atticus Finch from TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, and Hawkeye Pierce from MASH. ” – Goodreads Reviewer (used with permission).
The Historical Fiction Company’s 2021 Book of the Year and Gold Medal Category Winner – Post-World War II Historical Fiction
This novel both literally and emotionally moves the heart, pumping words in a fluid motion like a pulsating heart-lung machine. … A beautiful introspection into the heroes who fought to bring advancements to cardiology during a time when life hung in the balance for so many children.
A 5-Star Recommended Read – The Coffee Pot Book Club
Be transported back to 1950s Australia in The Stars That Govern Us, where heart surgeons are competing against nature, disease, and each other, to perform the country’s first successful open heart surgery using cardio-pulmonary bypass. …. Highly recommended for fans of medical fiction, the history of medicine, or those looking for something different in their historical fiction.
Finalist – 2021 Wishing Shelf Book Award
5-Star Rating – 18/18 reader-reviewers said they would read another book by the author.
“A character-led historical novel, intelligently written and with plenty of pace. A FINALIST and highly recommended!”
What reader reviewers for the Wishing Shelf Award had to say:
“You don’t find historical novels much different than this. I suspect anybody who enjoys a character-led story and/or medical novels, will find this a compelling read.” Male reader, aged 36.
“The two central characters, Pete and Alec, shine all the way until the last page of the book. I didn’t know much about heart surgery and how it developed, but I do now. This an utterly compelling read, perfect for readers who enjoy learning whilst being entertained.” Female reader, aged 63.
“It just shows, even a surgeon isn’t perfect. This is a gripping story of two men trying to be first in a very different sort of race. The writing style is simple with plenty of pace, and the research seems top notch. A thoroughly enjoyable story.” Male reader, aged 26.
“I would happily read another book by this author. And another. And another!” Female reader, aged 71.