WITH FIRE AND SWORD is a historical novel trilogy, set in the 17th century in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth during the Khmelnytsky Uprising. This trilogy is only the first multipart volume of The EASTERN KINGDOM Series which consists in total of three multipart volumes: WITH FIRE AND SWORD, THE DELUGE and FIRE IN THE PLAINS. All volumes are tracing the interactions between Poland and its neighboring countries in the 17th century. Over 3.000 pages full of adventure, tragedy and heroism. “The Battle” is the second book of the epic trilogy WITH FIRE AND SWORD. It deals with the uprising of the Cossacks against the Poles in 1648. It is a world forgotten in Central Europe, which was ruled by a kingdom in personal union (Poland-Lithuania). The size of this second part of the first trilogy of The EASTERN KINGDOM Series is about 500 pages.
The main character of the book, the young nobleman Jan Skrzetuski, or Pan Jan for short, is caught in the middle of the beginning Cossack uprising under the legendary Bogdan Chmelnitzky. Along the way he also falls in love with the beautiful princess Helena, who is also desired by a Cossack officer.
In the course of the book the conflict begins to take serious forms, Pan Jan meets most of the main characters on his travels and missions through Eastern Europe. Personal rivalries, chases on horseback, duels, drinking bouts, epic dialogues and great battles (which no normal European has ever heard of before) are also part of the book. As a reader, you live the tragic story of the kingdom, which in the end is destroyed by internal conflicts. This civil war, by the way, caused several million deaths – when reading the book it becomes clear why.
Maybe it is necessary to warn potential readers that 17th century warfare in this region was extremely brutal and unless you can tolerate occasional descriptions of horrifying activities, perhaps you should not choose this novel. In the course of prosecuting this revolution or attempting to put it down 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. But if you can stand that you will be benefitted with excellent characterizations, an exceptionally tense and well-plotted love story intertwined with the basic plot.
Despite some deviations, the book’s historical framework is genuine and the fictional story is woven into real events. Many characters are historical figures, including Jeremi Wiśniowiecki and Bohdan Khmelnytsky. Even though some of the characters are fictitious, the presentation of historical events is accurate. Sienkiewicz is clearly a first quality novelist who specialized in historical fiction and made a great effort of detailed recherche in order to present an authentic view of life in Eastern Europe of the 17th century. What makes the book really remarkable is the incredible power of the author’s language. He describes moods and people in a way which is extraordinary. The more than 1100 pages of this trilogy can be read quickly.
As a historical romance novel WITH FIRE AND SWORD is in no way inferior to works like “Ivanhoe” by Sir Walter Scott or “The Three Musketeers” by Alexandre Dumas. And as a serious historical novel, the trilogy can certainly compete with “War and Peace” by Tolstoy. It is a national epic of such significance that it could be placed on the shelf on an equal footing with “Roland’s Song” and perhaps even Homer’s “Iliad”.
Experience heavily armored Hussars in battle against proud Cossacks and wild Tatars! Epic battles 400 years ago, in a kingdom of the East that hardly anyone knows anything about. And right in the middle: the fate of two lovers who do not find each other in the turmoil of war.
“A great story about Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth and the uprising of the Cossacks. Excellent story detailing the relationships of the people’s of Eastern Europe.” – Ben Gryn
“I think of the book as Ukraine’s “War and Peace”. If you like historical novels and ones that are not linked to England, France, or Germany this is a wonderful read”. – Henry MacMorran
“Think Conan the Barbarian crossed with Gone With the Wind and Lord of the Rings. An amazing read!” – Joe Keenan
“This a fantastic book trilogy and it kept me turning the pages all the way through. It is very long but I really enjoyed it while learning so much about Polish, Cossack, and Russian history that we never cover in history classes.” – Michael Jones
- Author: Henryk Sienkiewicz
- Title: WITH FIRE AND SWORD – Book II
- Subtitle: The Battle
- Edition: BRUNNAKR
- Series: EASTERN KINGDOM
- Volumes: Book 1 | Book 2 | Book 3
- Language: English
- Format: eBook
- Pages: ca. 500
- ISBN-13: 978-3-96130-228-4
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