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Fire in the Steppe Hardcover – May 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 717 pages
  • Publisher: Copernicus Society of America / Hippocrene Books; 1st edition (May 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0781800250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0781800259
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

First published in 1887, this lengthy saga completes Sienkiewicz's populist trilogy (after With Fire and Sword and The Deluge ), which Kuniczak's convincing translation brings to life for the contemporary reader. The Polish people's struggle against Cossacks, Tartars and Turks in the 1670s prefigures modern Poland's quest for nationhood in this installment of the rousing epic of love, war, adventure and madness. Basia, the gutsy, bright, determined heroine, who chases bandits on horseback, riding a man's saddle, almost steals the show from her Hamlet-like husband, Col. Pan Vol od yov ski. A master of robust, old-fashioned realism, Sienkiewicz mixes fictional characters, like his boisterous villain, the shrewd old knight Pan Zagloba, with historical figures like Jan Sobieski, the careworn Grand Hetman of Poland, nemesis of the Turks and savior of Christendom at Vienna. Sienkiewicz's fierce, larger-than-life characters unself-consciously stride across the stage of history. His portrayal of the Polish Commonwealth averting anarchy and pulling together holds a timeless message of hope.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

This novel's superb characters, plot, and themes combine for a rousing conclusion to the "Trilogy" series ( With Fire and Sword , LJ 3/15/91; The Deluge , LJ 12/91). Volodyovski, the "little knight" who courageously soldiered his way through the previous volumes, first in Skshetuski's shadow and then Kmita's, here rides forth as Poland's greatest hero. No other character in the "Trilogy" is so universal in his appeal, and Fire in the Steppe is his story. Like Volodyovski himself, this work champions romance through his enduring love for Basia, the impish soldier/princess. Then together these lovers command the martial stage, standing against the Turks' surging might and the Tartar Horde, standing firm on the rock of Kamyenetz in defense of Poland, church, and God. Great literature stands on such enduring themes, and in this inspiring work, Sienkiewicz taps the essence not only of a nation but of all people. In future years, his achievement and that of translator Kuniczak will never be denied. Highly recommended.
- Paul E. Hutchison, Bellefonte, Pa.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 21 customer reviews
Each of the three are highly educated and enjoy reading.
dlhazelton@ttns.net
His afterword succeeds in tying together the loose ends in a way that strengthens the impact of the story.
D. Mulhollen
When I started reading this book I had a difficult time putting it down.
Adam

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book can only have its strongest impact if you've read the first two books of the Trilogy first. I can't say more about the shock of the ending without giving the plot away entirely, but, having all of the strengths of the first two novels -- historical accuracy, epic story-telling style, characters who, fictional or historical, are alike human and complex, deep sense of the vagaries of religious belief, the occasional touch of humor and love-stories on the Great Romance scale -- it is really this one, where the diminutive Pan Michal finally finds love and Poland finds its long home, that truly rocks the reader's soul.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Without reciting the book cover, this book and the trilogy it came from is one of the finest pieces of literature ever created. It is easy to quickly consume and dispose of a Steven King novel or any in the popular genre, but the skillful crafting or characters and fascinating plot in Sienkiewicz trilogy deserves the respect and admiration of any one who claims to love literature.
I suggest it strongly. Reading it was a life changing experience for me. Consistent with the theme, it truly "uplifts the hearts." Of the Polish nation and now with the masterful translation by Kuniczak, a young man in the United States too!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Giovanni Maria Mastai-Ferretti on December 9, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am not Polish or of Polish descent nor does one have to be to read and enjoy these masterpieces.
I could not put down any of the books in this series. The heroes, the villians and the women were enthralling. I particularly enjoyed the Catholic Christian aspect of the books and the importance of the spiritual to the soldiers involved. I would most highly recommend Sienkiewicz to any person who loves adventure, fidelity and God.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By dlhazelton@ttns.net on December 13, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book in softback, based on the cover and the reviews from Mitchner and Author (also, wrote Quo Vadis) sharing the 'Peace Prize' for his efforts. The Polish surnames were difficult causing me to keep a pencil and pad nearby for the first 100 pages. Once I had these memorized, though, I was free to read and enjoy. I found the story absolutely captivating. Based on the first of four or five invasions across Poland between 1630 and 1685, this is a tale on strong ethics, willingness to die for betrothed, village, country or God, this story brought up such strong emotions within me, I doubt I'll ever again tell a 'so-called' Polish joke. Without the Polish will, most of western europe would have come under flame had the these hordes from the east been stopped. However, being such an advocate of the book, as you see here, didn't translate to three friends who read, or attempted to read it. With almost 1,200 pages (paperback) of tight print, two finished it, one saying it was very good, the other average. Personally, I don't think they got by the polish surnames, though, but won't fess up to this. Each of the three are highly educated and enjoy reading. Another possibility, the size of the book might be too daunting to begin, unless on vacation. Later, I read the two following sequels, with equal enjoyment. Know what they did to their enemy's, after coming home to find town and family butchered? I won't ruin it for you, but I'll say this, there are a few people in the world who deserve this type of slow death, for example, Hitler, Stalin, .... Enjoy
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Like the other two books in the trilogy, this is a sweeping epic. The characters (many of them drawn from Polish legend) are extremely compelling and despite it's 1000 plus pages, the book reads like the wind. You are thrown from one adventure to the next. A must read for anyone who likes swashbuckling, war, history or lovestories. It's all in there. I definitely recommend reading the earlier books in the series. However, the book stands on its own.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By The Pete VINE VOICE on September 16, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Having just finished this final book of the Trilogy, I feel like I'm saying goodbye to close friends I have lived with, fought alongside, and laughed with for years. I suppose that statement, all by itself, is testament enough to Sienkiewicz's skill as a writer.

Although I loved this book very much, I must be objective in reviewing it. Truth is, Sienkiewicz's plot deployment was a little scattered this time out. The first part of the book is political, then there's a romance, then a short section depicting life at a Polish outpost (which dragged a bit and at times almost descended to burlesque), then there's the adventure of Basia's flight, and finally a battle against the Turks. Each section is very well done, of course, but there's no character, tone, or narrative thread tying it all together. It ends up being rather disjointed, so I have to give it 4 stars rather than the 5 stars I want to.

All that aside, the writing here is unbelievably masterful. The battle against the Turks stands toe to toe with Homer's Iliad in it's grandeur and power. And the end of the book was a shattering surprise (no spoilers, don't worry), and I was deeply affected by it. The translator's afterword has a few sentences about Pan Zagloba that made me feel like I swallowed a rock. I'm a 38 year old man not given to sentimental outbursts, but I totally lost it at the end of this story.

I started reading "With Fire and Sword" for the first time almost ten years ago, and I would love to keep reading about these characters for another 3,000 pages. Luckily, I have all these books in hardcover so I can rejoin these wonderful characters whenever I like until I'm so old my eyes stop working. Well done, Henryk, and kudos to the translator for bringing this literary masterpiece into the English language.
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