- File Size: 4646 KB
- Print Length: 2767 pages
- Publisher: e-artnow (January 11, 2019)
- Publication Date: January 11, 2019
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07MG79LKZ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #498,667 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$7.99|
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WITH FIRE & SWORD Trilogy: Historical Novels: With Fire and Sword, The Deluge & Pan Michael Kindle Edition
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But it's amazing, guys. Here are some other fitting adjective: fantastic; phenomenal; excellent; outstanding; stupendous; superb; magnificent; splendiferous; brilliant; fabulicious... I read a tenth of the way through this 1135 page book on the first day. I've cried already; I've laughed out loud; I've growled in frustration; I've gnashed my teeth in anger; and I've made my mom wonder what on earth could be going on in "that book."
And I'm only on page 200, y'all. I'm so excited to eat my way through the rest of it.
Jane Austen said, "But for my own part, if a book is well-written, I always find it too short." Now, I agree with almost nothing of Jane Austen's. In fact, if she hadn't said this, then I wouldn't agree with anything she said (That I've heard). I'm so glad this book is long enough to guarantee prolonged enjoyment. Yes, it's expensive, and thick. But it's FABTABULOUS. I already have three friends in mind that I shall force this book upon once I'm done with it.
Only thing is, it's all about civil war. Thus, there are mobs and rebels. Thus, there is violence and blood and horror and disgusting things that are all condemned and shamefully spoken about. Rape is also mentioned. Some people are impaled on stakes. There is one scene describing the torture the townspeople put Jews through. If reading this out loud, these scenes can be easily skipped. Personally, I believe (for older readers) these scenes are incredibly important; the point of the book. It shows just how ugly and terrifying and sanguinary and gut-wrenching war really is.
But I mean, seriously, who doesn't want to read a book by a guy with a name like Sienkiewicz? The hero's name is Skshetuski. The villain is Hmyelnitzki. These names are SO COOL, so if you can't find any other reason to read this book, read it for the names.
Have I made myself clear? I LOVE this book! At a party last Friday night, in front of everyone during dinner, I was suddenly reminded of the latest tragedy that occurred in Skshetuski's life, and burst into tears, dismaying and shocking everyone around me, especially the hostess. So, I guess that's a warning; don't read this book in front of other people if you don't want your emotions on display.
That's my review. Get the book. Read it. Love it. I'm with ya, man.
Other reviewers have stressed their inability to put this book down. They correctly argue that With Fire and Sword is at least comparable to Gone with the Wind or Dr. Zhivago. I found it necessary to put the book down but I always found it more necessary to resume reading. Despite the overabundance of historical detail and unnecessary personalities With Fire and Sword is a great novel. I look forward to completing the trilogy.
In 1905 Nobel Prize to for literature went to Henryk Sienkiewicz. If this name is known at all in 2014 it is as the author of the original book behind the movie Quo Vadis. This is a shame. Henryk Sienkiewicz was a Polish novelist of vast knowledge and when he chose to write them, nuanced characters. His trilogy known it to his fellow Poles has The Trilogy begins with the epic With Fire and Sword.
As a historic high romance novel it rates well above the likes of Ivanhoe and the Three Musketeers. As a serious historical novel I place it only slightly below War and Peace- more on this point shortly. Having not yet read books 2 and three of the trilogy it is clear to me that this is a national epic on a scale of importance that would place it comfortably on the shelf with the likes of the Song of Roland and perhaps even Homer's Iliad.
I have always prided myself on my ability to keep track of characters in Russian novels. With Fire and Sword draws on a period of 17 Century Eastern European history during the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. Specifically this is a fictionalized retelling what is variously described as the Khmelnytsky Uprising or the Zaporizhia Uprising or what was taught to me in Russian history as the Cossack Ukrainian Revolt or the Chmielnicki, Cossack revolt. In this copy Chmielnicki will be called: Bohdan Hmelnitski. This revolt would take place at a time when the Polish Empire was possibly the largest in Europe and while the other, was him and a major loss in Polish standing it is clear that the purpose of this book is to reinforce Polish national pride. Reviewing of the different names for this revolution begins to give you some idea of the challenges of keeping track with events and people.
Early on we are introduced to Lt Michael Skshetuski , here lieutenant means a military leader, as in a senior assistant chosen as much for his military skills as his rank in the local feudal system. His is also called Pan Michael, as Pan is roughly Mr. or Sir. He is a key soldier in the forces of Prince Yeremi Vishnyevetski who is, of the most important of the local Commonwealth political leaders and the most feared military leaders in the Ukraine. Lt SkShetuski will in a matter of pages save the life of future leader of the Zaporizhia rebellion, Bohdan Hmelnitski, fall in love with the Princess Helena Kurcewiczówna and earn the enmity of a future senior commander in Hmelnitski' revolution, Bogun.
Pan Michael will form close association with fellow knights Longinus Podbipyenta, a man on a mission, Pan Zagloba, more of a Falstaff figure than a traditional questing knight , his close friend, fierce swordsman and ladies' man, Michal Volodyovski, who will together from something of a three musketeers of adventurers.
In case you missed it, there is a huge cast of characters and a multitude of titles. I will not try to outline the various Ukrainian, Cossack ranks, the local nobility and the more traditional titles at the level of Poles, Swedes, Moldavians and Lithuanians and Turks. You may get the hang of hetman, ataman, voevoda , starosta among others.
While the love between SkShetuski and Kurcewiczówna is supposed to be the central drama in the flow of personal rather than military events, it will be Zagloba who tends to get the most attention. He is an older man, a fabulous spinner of braggadocio, posturing and excuses for over drinking. He will also be the man who can as occasion requires; devise and execute critical schemes, achieve undeserved greatness in battle and provide most of the humor. Think of him as Falstaff meets Ulysses
This brings me to my criticisms of With Fire and Sword. It is over burdened with details, historical backgrounds and characters. Women especially, come and go often adding little to the main story line. Almost all of the women are either; helpless, hapless or restricted to typical supporting rolls. There is one witch, who has the strength and independence that make her a powerful woman demanding respect, but she is an agent for the bad guys.
This brings me to the nuances of this novel. The reader is expected to take the cause of the Commonwealth. This is a novel by a Polish Writer, seeking to memorialize Polish greatness. Yet the Cossack forces have cause to revolt against the Polish Empire. The local Cossack and Zaporizhia have been robbed by people with better connections due to their national relation to the throne. Hmelnitski has been humiliated and has letters to prove that the Cossacks of the Ukraine can expect some support from the Commonwealth if they t can end the power of the various under-kings,local Polish and Lithuanians and other minor nobility who have been abusing their power. As the rebellion gains momentum, it does so in part on the superior discipline of Hmelnitski's best troops and the genuine desire of the Cossacks to gain their political independence.
In the course of prosecuting this revolution or attempting to put it down, and it local villages and Manor homes will be torched. There will be stories of widespread use of violence including the use of stakes, fire and torture to murder populations. Both sides will overindulge in the spilling of innocent blood. Hmelnitski's most important allies will be the Turks. The taking of plunder and slaves will be the payment to ensure their loyalty.