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Winds of Dalmatia [Kindle Edition]

Tanja Tuma
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The Winds of Dalmatia is Tanja Tuma’s brilliant, epic, intriguing, and well-crafted novel dedicated to those who’ve followed the headlines from the Bosnian war yet may not fully comprehend the terrible individual suffering that transpired in the lives of its victims.

It’s the first book of Tuma’s Balkan trilogy. Fans should note that the second book will travel north to Istria and Slovenia, and in the third, east to Serbia, Kosovo, and Macedonia.

The plot of Winds of Dalmatia is sweeping, grand, romantic, and beautiful.

Maria Perić has gone through her personal hell during the Balkan war and survived. Now in her sixties, she leads a comfortable life managing a hotel on a quiet island, and raising her beloved Paula. Her past is as shady as the source of her wealth. When Paula falls ill with leukemia, there’s only one way to save her — Maria must tell the truth, and Paula must face the Serbian war criminal awaiting his verdict from the International Criminal Tribunal at the Hague Hilton.

In her spare time, Maria escapes reality by researching the history of her homeland Dalmatia. Her historical saga begins with a Greek colony in the Sixth Century B.C. on the isle of Korčula, followed by a chapter on the Roman times, the era of the Emperor Diocletian, born in Dalmatia.

Her research moves to Dubrovnik, as the mighty Republic of Ragusa blooms in the Fourteenth Century, challenging the Venetians in the Adriatic. The Fifteenth Century witnesses the Ottoman Empire bring Islam to the hinterland of Dalmatia. Readers will thrill to the intrigues of a harem where a young rebellious wife and a eunuch long for freedom and love.

As World War I demands more soldiers, a mother decides to commit her beloved son to the safety of the Blaca monastery on the island of Brač, which saves him from the front. Yet the mother still loses him, and her wrath is terrible.

These escapist tales never fail to entertain, but cannot distract Maria and Paula from their appointment with destiny. And as all of the action wraps up, the main characters live on, ready for the second and the third parts of Tuma’s Balkan troika.

The moral dilemmas, as well as the twists and turns of the novel, will keep readers on the edge of their seats. The basic theme Tuma sets forth is that of individuals living in challenging times of conflicts and wars, and how they cope with their own personal values, love, and loved ones. Villains may sometimes do that which is right, pure, and noble, while good people are forced into committing crimes. Tuma’s characters are deep, interesting, and complex. Her book is dramatic, appealing, and filled with characters that are flawed yet always full of surprises. Sometimes it’s impossible not to hate them, while other times the reader will be driven to stand up and cheer for them.

The Winds of Dalmatia will grip the readers, and take them into a passionate, first-hand journey of the various cultures of the former Yugoslavia. The novel craftily skirts by the troubling war violence as it conveys the internal conflicts of various characters dealing with it in different historical periods. The clashes of three religions and cultures — Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Islam — as well as World War I, World War II, and the 1990s war in the Balkans, provide the backdrop for love stories in which normal people are trying to come to terms with the tumult of conflicts and wars around them, longing for freedom, love, and peace.


Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

“This sweeping historical fiction, the first in a projected trilogy, covers 10 centuries in the history of Dalmatia, in the former Yugoslavia. The framing device of the novel is the life of Maria Peric, a 66-year-old historian and hotel owner on the peaceful Croatian island of Pag, in the Adriatic Sea. She’s the doting grandmother of Paula, a young girl suffering from leukemia, and to distract her, she tells stories about the history of Dalmatia and the Balkans. Maria has her own traumatic history: “Like thousands of Croatians, Bosnians and Serbians from former Yugoslavia, I am one of the victims of that bloody Balkan war ravaging the heart of Europe in the nineties.” But in the book’s ensuing chapters, Maria tells Paula stories from the past, starting with the ancient Greeks of the 6th B.C. and moving on to the Roman emperor Diocletian (“still the most important politician of all times coming from our shores”) and to the 14th-century empire of Ragusa, which controlled the world’s trade routes and grappled with the mighty Venetian Republic. The narrative moves on to the Ottoman Empire and eventually to the fall of modern 20th-century Yugoslavia. By pausing the narrative and using fiction to illuminate daily life in each era, Tuma’s dramatization is reminiscent of Rebecca West and James Michener. The momentum of all that history brings the book to the trial of a Yugoslavian war criminal at The Hague, forming the backdrop for a jarring transition to the book’s second half, which abandons history and deals with the modern-day politics and daily lives of a disparate group of survivors of the recent Balkan wars. Tuma’s human insights and her considerable scene-painting abilities shed great amounts of light on a region often overlooked in historical fiction. Subsequent volumes should help sharpen the focus on the modern era. The tumultuous history of the crisis-torn Balkans rendered in a gripping panoramic novel.”

About the Author

Tanja Tuma was born in ex-Yugoslavia, behind the Iron Curtain. When the curtain fell, she found herself a citizen of the European Union, based in Slovenia. In college, she studied French, English, and German literature, which propelled her writing and editing career forward. Knowing the ex-Yugoslavian languages, Tanja understands the lands and the peoples she is writing about. After all, she has lived in and travelled around ex-Yugoslavia for half of her life. Tuma has worked in the publishing and bookselling world, which eventually lead to the founding of her own successful company. Once active as a publisher, she reconciled with the motto "live now, write later". In her career Tanja has worked in various areas of publishing, and had the privilege to learn a lot about the international publishing world. When their kids became independent, Tanja and her husband escaped to the solitude of Slovenian woods, where she writes about wild Mediterranean adventures.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1394 KB
  • Print Length: 517 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1483969223
  • Publisher: Tanja Tuma; 1 edition (June 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D5CURM6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,073 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please hurry with parts 2 & 3! July 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is a throughly researched and smartly crafted great novel. The first half brings James Mitchener's Poland to mind, as it dives well into the the past, all the way to 6th Century BC, and then to some better and some lesser known periods of Dalmatian history which had been an important theatre not only in ancient Greek and Roman eras, but also in the epoch of the Venetian dominance of the Mediterranean and then the time of Ottoman rule in the vast hinterlands that is the Balkans.
Yet Tuma really comes into her own when she starts into present day story that stretches over the second half and - apart from the leading characters of grandma and her granddaughter to whom the historic tales were being told in order to entertain during her fight with leukemia - a rich ensemble of new characters enter the picture. At first it is a little too much take in, but soon it becomes clear that Tuma has planned the plot really cleverly, and keeps surprising the reader in every chapter.
Intimate stories are skillfully interwoven with the historic background, and it does not shy from horrors of the wars in Yugoslavia during the 1990's. Tuma portrays several generations and thus manages to convey a really thorough account of the dramatic events that tore apart Yugoslavia and caused immense suffering to millions. She follows these events all through to the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague, where she examines the conscience of one of the notorious wartime leaders.
The best, though, is the fact that the end is not the end, as Tuma announces that the Dalmatian stories were only part one of a trilogy in which several of the characters will reappear. I really look forward to it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By juju
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Winds of Dalmatia chronicles the diverse and complex history of the land we call the Balkans. The interest back and forth between the modern story of mother and daughter and the historical storytelling keeps the reader interested . The historical background has motivated to learn more of the area history. Without knowing the past we can not understand the complexity of the modern turmoil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Winds of Dalmatia, ISBN: 9781483969220, soft cover, 595 pages by Tanja Tuma is a seldom examined sector of history enveloped in a fictional account.
Ostensibly this is a tale about a survivor of the horrors of the Balkan War who although now comfortably and securely situated is beset with fears for her beloved leukemia stricken granddaughter.
Basically however, this story is well-researched Balkan history in a two part presentation, both intriguingly enfolded in engaging fiction. Part One provides historical detail beginning with a vignette in the 6th Century B.C., followed by another in the Roman era under the aegis of Dalmatian-born Emperor Diocletian, then Dubrovnik and the powerful 14th Century Ragusa Republic's Adriatic challenge to Venetian dominance, Islam's inroads brought by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th Century, and finally another of the World War II era. And in each of these periods the individual vignette is crafted to move the historical features along at an interesting, readable pace. The second half of the book is centered on results of chaotic 1900's Yugoslavia and introduces the reader to a sizeable number of new characters, in addition to the grandmother and the ailing Paula and follows them to the conclusion of the book.
Summary: First and foremost, the author has provided a Balkan history little known to most readers and has intriguingly enveloped it in appealingly designed fiction that has resulted in a truly marvelous book. Sections of historical fact and a slower pace of activity in some areas admittedly may be less palatable for some in today's decreased attention span population but if so, they should not be reading historical fiction. The discerning reader with an enquiring mind will find this to be an engrossing read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars thrilling experience June 24, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed being pulled in the avalanche of human destinies sharing the troubled territories of what is today called Croatia. The characters are delineated with extraordinary vividness and passion, melting in the backdrop of a tumultuous sway of history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The war in the Balkans comes alive September 14, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Through the author's sensitive portrayal of the inner and public lives of the characters, we come to know the Balkan War of the 1990s. Ms. Tuma reaches into her personal experiences surviving that period of time in her homelands. As is true of all the best 'war stories' this book is an anti-war anthem. You will reach into yourself as you explore this time period and the people who lived or died then.

Some may be put off by the slightly off translation. Instead I was charmed. Many of the book's characters are multi-lingual so continually making slight adjustments for the non-colloquial English translation added depth to my understanding of the interactions. The book is well organized and structured. My attention never flagged. I hope you enjoy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have just finished reading Winds of Dalmatia and am still under its spell. Under the spell of its second part, the one starting with the events of 1991.

The story is a page-turner, human, alive. Full of turns and surprises. And with an optimistic ending.

It is great and deserves to be widely read.

I enjoyed the poetic descriptions and the author’s ablity to make the last Balkan war understandable, all the while telling a story. She explains its roots and origines, the views of the various contenders and points to a way of getting over its legacy.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Stories hundreds of years apart fascinating but . . .
Stories hundreds of years apart fascinating but . . . the detailed history throughout two millenia was hard to follow--perhaps because of the different regions and languages. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Barbara Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars cool
cool
Published 3 months ago by ampen - techmatte
3.0 out of 5 stars Not very information about Croatia
I enjoyed this book up to a point, but several times I almost stopped reading it because it was very disjointed, looking back on previous centuries but not really tying things... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ruthie
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! A must read!
Historical fiction about ancient through modern day Eastern Europe, this complex narrative brings characters and events together in a cautionary tale. Read more
Published 6 months ago by google
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating
This is an excellently written novel, can't wait for the next books to be published. Ms Tuma, please hurry! :)
Published 7 months ago by Tomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Great historical novel
Although the book takes you far back into the historical Dalmatia (6th century BC), through the tales told by one of the leading characters in the book, it feels like the whole... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Hubert
5.0 out of 5 stars *****
Very well written novel, which keaps surprising the reader in every chapter. Interesting link historical events through the fate of women. Read more
Published 8 months ago by katarina
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must read book before visiting Croatia.
I was drawn into the characters and did not want this book to end. After reading the Winds of Dalmatia, I believe I have a greater understanding of the very complex political and... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Timothy Mock
4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read before going to Croatia
Well written. Interesting historical background. Characters well developed,and many twists. Look forward to next novel to complete some of the characters stories not finished
Published 13 months ago by Melinda
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More About the Author

I was born in June of 1964, practically with a Yugoslavian flag in my hand, to hail high Communist party officials. I learned to sing songs about the good and the bad sides of life behind the Iron Curtain. Once active as a publisher, I reconciled with the motto "live now, write later." In my career I've worked in various areas of publishing, and I had the privilege to learn a lot about the international publishing world. I wrote Winds of Dalmatia in English to target the larger international community with my stories from the Balkans -- a whirlwind of various religions and cultures mixing in love and hate.

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