- Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd (2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1847671225
- ISBN-13: 978-1847671226
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,028,570 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Siege Paperback – 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Written in 1970 and first published as "The Castle," THE SIEGE tells the story of a fifteenth century invasion of Albania by the Ottoman Turks under the leadership of Ugurlu Tursun Pasha. At the Albanian border, the Pasha is confronted by a citadel that he must take to begin his conquest of this Eastern fringe of Europe. The fortress appears to be protected by George Castrioti, a real historical figure known as Skanderbeg who died in 1468 but is often credited as having stemmed the advance of the Ottoman Turks into Western Europe.
Skanderbeg is an important figure in Kadare's book, but we never see or meet him. Instead, the author has chosen to tell his story almost exclusively from the Turkish side, making the citadel as impenetrable and unknown to the reader as it appears to the Pasha and Skanderbeg as ghostly a force for the reader as the Ottoman army perceives him to be.Read more ›
The siege is mainly told from the Ottoman perspective, as we are taken into the Pasha's tent for discussions of strategy, wander around the camp with the hapless scribe/historian sent to chronicle the impending great victory, and listen to the monologues of the quartermaster who has to keep the siege logistically afloat. There are also occasional brief interludes written from the perspective of the Christian defenders trying to conserve their water until the arrival of the rainy season that would effectively save them.
The mechanics and psychology of the siege are wonderfully brought to life, as the Ottomans struggle to bring their superior manpower and technology to bear in an effective manner. In that sense, it's a gripping, effective, and often bloody, work of historical fiction which will appeal to fans of that genre. At the same time, the story appears to function as allegory for the plight of Soviet-dominated Albania during the Cold War. The Ottoman army -- cowering under an absolute ruler abetted by a pervasive secret police, riven by internal factions (warlords, mystics, technocrats, etc.Read more ›
This may be the most overtly politicized Kadare that I have read. It was first written in Albania at the height of Hoxsa's regime, and then subsequently rewritten and rereleased in Paris. This translation is of the later French version. Kadare's messages are playfully ambiguous; the entire heroic drama of the Albanian stand plays out in the shadow of what we know to be the ultimate Turkish conquest, and Kadare reminds the reader continually during the book that it is only a question of whether this army or the next brings the fortress down.
A wonderful book, and as good a fictional version of the Ottoman period in the Balkans as The Bridge on the Drina (Phoenix Fiction Series).
I read the French edition on which this English translation is based. An unsigned introduction sets Kadare's historical context as the 1960 Albanian-Soviet conflict, during which the Warsaw Pact nations enforced an economic blockade of Albania. It's unclear to what extent this historical reference was a cover story to disguise Kadare's intended criticism of the regime in Albania, and to what extent it was a sincere inspiration. The book was published in Albania in 1970 and the French edition first published in 1979, so Kadare may have been feeling some need to keep up pretenses if the Albanian government really was his target. OTOH, favoring the sincere interpretation is that this story is set in the era of Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg, who resisted the Turks for 25 years, and who remains the Albanian national hero; the country didn't fall to the sultanate until after his death.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A history of the Turkish conquest in the Balkans. Excellent description of the tactics and geography of Turkish conquest. Little known in America.Published 7 months ago by Peter J. Piaseckyj
This novel by the Albanian author Ismail Kadare is set during the 15th century when Albania was being attacked by the Ottoman Turks, and the heroic Albanian leader Skanderbeg was... Read morePublished 11 months ago by ADAM
The book is well written but is more of an allegory. For those seeking more historical "correctness", "The Great Siege of Malta"
would be a better bet
He liked it, his kind of book. I don't know much about the contents just that it seemed like he liked it.Published on May 14, 2013 by Retired Librarian
This title was originally named "The castle", the English translation named it "The Siege" and the French "Les Tambours de la Pluie". Read morePublished on March 29, 2013 by Anibal Madeira
Intriguing journey becomes a siege of ideas, theories and philosophical dilemmas. Unfortunately and ultimately there is no heart and it slowly proceeds to a withered end.Published on February 17, 2013 by PaulHath
This book is quite interesting to read if you have an interest in the war of Scanderbeg against the Ottoman empire (very powerful at that time) and warfare in general. Read morePublished on August 28, 2011 by George Alexander
As a teenager and young adult, I was fascinated by the country of Albania. Here was a European country that appeared to be something like North Korea with its' sealed borders,... Read morePublished on July 14, 2011 by Randy Keehn